Following your passion can be an excellent career move. For those with a strong knowledge in the origins of wine and beer, there are plenty of options available for full time employment. And the choices span much further than the typical food service jobs. In fact, some beer / wine experts earn six figures doing what they love. Expanding your job hunt and searching for the right companies are the key to success.
Top Jobs in the Beer and Wine Industry
1.) Wine Writer
When people first try a wine, they typically look to the bottle for an accurate description of the flavor profile. It describes the “body” the “nose” and the “legs,” along with other specifics. Wine writers are experts in wine tasting and can translate the results to make consumers aware of what they are buying. It goes deeper than simply picking out the flavors. Wine writers also need to research the history of the winery. The average salary varies greatly, but $60,000 per year is a good estimate for a mid-career wine writer. Starting your job search at small local wineries is a good start.
Technically an oenologist is a wine scientist specializing in research and development of product, but their job responsibilities span much deeper than this. They can be involved in sales and marketing as well; it just depends on the size of the vineyard. Oenologists also taste the final product in order to improve on each subsequent batch. It’s a scientist role that doesn’t require a degree. It simply entails experience in wine making and development of new product. The average salary for Oenologists is $40,000 per year, but this salary varies greatly from vineyard to vineyard. The larger companies will pay significantly more.
3.) Beer or Wine Sommelier
Historically a sommelier was only concerned with wine and how to pair it with food. However, the growing popularity of the craft beer industry has created a niche for beer sommeliers. Since beer sommeliers are part of a relatively new industry, the jobs are not as plentiful. However, each job requires a bevy of skills that only experience can provide. The average salary for beer sommeliers is hard to pin down, but wine sommeliers average about $45,000 per year. It’s highly dependent on overall sales and success of the company you work for. Some sommeliers at high level restaurants can earn six figures. It’s a results based job with a heavy emphasis on customer satisfaction and sales.
4.) Beer / Wine Demonstrator
These are the people that set up displays in liquor stores in an effort to boost sales and brand recognition of product. They talk with customers, give an accurate description of the drink you are tasting, and drive new sales. These jobs are typically part time and pay hourly, but the experience you gain is valuable for pursuing a career in the beer / wine industry. It could lead to a high paying sales or marketing position. The average pay for this job is $13/hr. It’s a great part time gig for those in need of supplemental income.
This is a skilled trade that goes back ages. A cooper is responsible for hand crafting the barrels that are used for aging wine. In America, this job is typically reserved for those who reside in California. It’s a gig that requires in depth knowledge of carpentry and wood products. The wood that is chosen to construct a barrel will have a direct impact on the flavor of the wine. A self-employed cooper can expect to make anywhere between $20,000 – $40,000 per year, depending on the level of expertise, amount of references, and quality of product. It’s an excellent skilled trade. Barrels are even used in the liquor and beer industries, so the demand for quality product will always be high.