Work as a Wine Taster
We have included working as a Wine Tester in our “Fun Jobs” career section as you will never become rich, however you should really enjoy your work.
1. Wine tasters sample wine, either to ensure it is of a sufficiently-high quality or to gain an appreciation of its flavours and so describe it in detail to potential buyers.
2. Most major vineyards employ their own tasters, as do big buyers of wine, including supermarket chains and brokers.
3. Strictly speaking, there are no compulsory qualifications for becoming a wine taster.
4. Over recent years, however, formal qualifications have become more important, with these likely to be especially valuable if you are new to the wine industry.
5. The Wine and Spirits Educational Trust (WEST) offers a range of certificates and diplomas, all of them highly respected in the industry.
6. Few people go into the wine tasting business for the money; according to the Independent newspaper, newcomers can expect to earn between £15,000 and £18,000 a year.
7. For many, however, the real benefit is to be paid for indulging their passion for wine, while additional perks can include international travel.
What Do Wine Tasters Do?
As the job title suggests, wine tasters sample wine, either to ensure it is of a sufficiently-high quality or to gain an appreciation of its flavours and so describe it in detail to potential buyers. Most major vineyards employ their own tasters, as do big buyers of wine, including supermarket chains and brokers.
While for many people spending the day tasting wine sounds like a dream career, it can be tough; paid jobs are few and far between and tasters need to have considerable expertise and industry knowledge in order to get ahead.
Training and Qualifications
Strictly speaking, there are no compulsory qualifications for becoming a wine taster.
In fact, plenty of seasoned wine tasting professionals have built up their career without any paper qualifications, with their expertise and experience driving them forward.
Over recent years, however, formal qualifications have become more important, with these likely to be especially valuable if you are new to the wine industry.
Above all, it pays to invest in some training that will be able to give you a solid understanding of all aspects of the wine industry, and not just of what the final products tastes like.
Given that modern tasters are often expected to be involved with the buying and selling of wine, as well as in areas such as marketing, an industry-relevant qualification will make you more attractive to prospective employers.
Wine training providers we have looked at include:
- Wine and Spirit Education Trust
WEST, as it is known offers a wide range of courses for both complete novices and established wine professionals.
Its Awards are divided into different, with Level 3 qualifications – where the focus is placed on refining wine tasting technique - and the Level 4 and 5 Diplomas especially-respected within the industry.
Around 80% of students trained by WEST go on to land a job in the wine sector within a year of earning their certificate.
Visit the Wine and Spirit Education Trust website.
- Decanter Education
The UK’s premier wine industry magazine offers several short courses. While these are largely aimed at enthusiastic amateurs, the courses can help you learn how to accurately describe a wine, an essential skill for this line of work.
Visit the website of Decanter.com .
- The European Wine Academy
Offers a number of qualifications, with courses held in cities across Europe on a regular basis. Alongside basic introductory courses, it also offers an Associate Degree, which can take between 2 and 3 years to achieve. All courses can be done online, via e-learning, as well as through a mixture of online lectures and classroom learning.
Visit the website of the European Wine Academy.
Other Essential Qualities
As well as a good working knowledge of the wine industry – preferably backed-up by industry-relevant qualifications – prospective employers may look for a range of other personal qualities.
Above all, you should be able to demonstrate a genuine passion for wine; if you don’t know your chardonnay from your merlot, then this isn’t the job for you.
Alongside this, you may also be expected to demonstrate excellent communication skills – after all, meeting with growers and buyers and describing the taste and quality of wine is an essential part of the work – and a little business know-how, whether it’s in the shape of marketing or accountancy experience, is also likely to stand you in good stead.
Benefits of Working as a Wine Tester
Hardly anyone goes into the wine tasting business for the money. In fact, according to the Independent newspaper, newcomers to the world of wine can expect to earn between £15,000 and £18,000 a year while building up their experience, and even professionals with significant experience may struggle to earn beyond £35,000 a year.
However, financial considerations aside, there are a number of additional benefits of working as a wine tester.
Above all, if you genuinely love wine, this is a career that allows you to make a living from your passion.
You’ll be testing wine on a daily basis, using your specialist skills to find the best bottles and often touring vineyards and bottling facilities, as well as meeting with growers and buyers.
At best, the job can also involve significant amounts of international travel, including trips to major wine-growing destinations such as France, Italy, South Africa and California.
If you’re a newcomer to the wine profession, then an in-house training scheme with a large company within the industry may be your best bet.
While you may not be tasting wine on a daily basis, it will give you a foot in the door and allow you to get a fully-rounded understanding of the sector before you go on to specialise.
Majestic, the UK’s biggest specialist wine retailer takes on dozens of graduates a year, proving them with compressive training in every aspect of buying and selling wine.
It prioritises a passion for wine over any industry experience and advertises new opportunities on its website.
Visit Careers at Majestic Wine .
Further Information for Jobseekers
If working as a Wine Taster is not for you then please see our Career Guides section with loads of other job ideas for you to look through and consider, from Tourist Guide Jobs to a working as a Veterinary Nurse.
Alternatively you could perform a job search on UK Jobs Guide as we have tens of thousands of new vacancies or if you need help from the government then visit our job centre online section to locate your nearest jobcentreplus.
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