Winemakers, also known as "enologists," are responsible for the oversight of producing wine at all stages, from selection of grapes for harvesting to the final transfer of products to bottling or storage for aging. Winemakers use a scientific approach to determine acidity, sweetness, sulfur, and sulfite levels within a wine which equate to its overall quality and "drinkability" for consumers. Winemakers require extensive training to ensure their judgement of grapes' quality, as well as top-value handling and care.
Many winemakers are also responsible for the management aspects of wine-making, so it's important to have strong managerial skills and be able to work well with others, including direction of those in lower positions. Some winemakers are even more involved with the business aspects and oversee record-keeping, presentations, sales, and appeal to the general public.
Winemakers are recommended to work at least five years within the wine-making industry, usually as an assistant winemaker or cellar associate, before becoming a head winemaker. A bachelor's degree in enology or a related field is not necessarily required, but strongly encouraged. Regardless of a degree, the knowledge of mixing chemicals for proper fermentation and taste is mandatory, as are the proper procedures for wine tank maintenance and pumps, tanks, and other related equipment.
Salaries for winemakers can vary depending on education, experience, geography, and the company for which the winemaker works. Although the official wine season is only two months per year, winemakers work year-round on other aspects of the business, including fermentation, cultivating sources, bottling, aging, marketing, and sales. Because this career involves plenty of outdoor work, weather can make winemakers' schedules quite spontaneous.
Oversee wine production, including when vintages are ready for sale.
Lead wine tastings and represent the organization at events.
Control inventory and address shortages with creative solutions.
Oversee storage and bottling, including temperatures and hygiene.
Conduct quality control and identify flavors and sources of flavors to recommend wines and improve production.