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Enologist Job Description, Career as a Enologist, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

wine production field enologists

Training/Educational Requirements: Bachelor degree

Median Salary: $46,910 annually

Job Prospects: Fair

Job Description

Enologists work in overseeing the production of wine. These are experts in everything that embodies wine, who ensure production takes place in a satisfactory manner to produce a good product. They inspect grapes and evaluate the crops to determine when wine production is appropriate.

Enologists decide when harvest is ready for production, and when wine production begins based on several factors. They oversee every step of the wine production process beginning with the transportation of the grapes to the place of production and move throughout the steps beyond. They ensure proper crushing methods and techniques are used. They decide which harvests go into production for each type of wine. They are experts in their field and make all necessary decisions regarding the production of wine for their winery.

Their responsibilities vary significantly depending on the size of the winery. They are heavily involved in quality control, and may work with a laboratory technician if employed by a larger winery. They develop new wines, and may specialize in a specific wine in a larger winery, or they may have a working knowledge of each type of wine sold at the winery.

Enologists are educated and trained in everything associated with wine. Therefore, they are considered to be subject matter experts when it comes to wine, making them responsible for various steps in the production process. They are consulted on about certain aspects of wine production, and often oversee the steps from beginning to end. They work hand-in-hand with different functions within wine production to ensure the best quality product is produced and sold to the public.

Training/Educational Requirements

Most enologists have a bachelor’s degree. The most helpful concentration is in the field of enology. Although this specific degree is not required, it is helpful. However, other related degrees, such as those in biology or chemistry prepare individuals for this career. Along with the educational requirement, there is a great deal of training that goes into becoming an enologist. Not only must they be well versed in wine, they must understand how wine production works.

Many who consider themselves to be wine experts may wish to become enologists, but it is a very involved process. In addition to the educational requirement, this job requires constant training. Enologists must keep up with new wines, and be well versed and well spoken on the different types of wine and what goes into them. Keeping fresh with training on communication or public speaking is also helpful in this role.

How to Get Hired

The best way to get hired as an enologist is to have a degree in the field. This tends to be a very competitive field with few job openings. Therefore, having a specialization within enology helps set the right candidates apart from the competition.

As the career of an enologist goes on, experience is the best way to get hired. Working in different wineries that vary in size and offerings prepares an enologist for the next step in their career path. Understanding the various types of wine and what goes into them is an important factor in getting hired. Being involved in the production and quality control of wine is an excellent factor in allowing an enologist to get hired as they progress in their career.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

Unfortunately this is not an area with strong potential in terms of growth or job openings. When the wine industry was in a boom decades ago, there were many jobs to be had in this field. Not only are there fewer job openings, there are many universities no longer offering enology programs, making it harder to become qualified. The best way to get a job in this field is based on turnover or growth within the field. There are few job openings to speak of since the industry is in a downturn currently.

Working within the wine industry helps, but getting hired as an enologist is harder now. The competition is greater, and more wineries are consolidating this role, offering less openings and opportunities for growth in the field.

Working Environment

The typical working environment for an enologist is at a winery. They may have an office, but are often involved in either the laboratory, production line, or out in the vineyards. They move between different environments of a winery as they focus on different aspects of the job. They travel sometimes if they work in an educational role, or move between different wineries. Enologists generally work normal work hours, although the hours become more strenuous at times of harvest or production.

Salary and Benefits

There is a wide range in the salary, however, the median level for an enologist is around $46,910 per year. They may earn an hourly rate or an annual salary, which ranges significantly. This varies based on the experience, and geographical location. Since most wineries are located in California, the higher cost of living may result in a higher salary range. Those working in other areas of the country can earn less. Enologists generally receive a standard benefits package including medical coverage, paid vacation, sick days, and holidays. They may also receive a 401(k), and get a discount on wine.

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