The work involves taking decisions and managing the process of winemaking at its various stages, right from nurturing grapes to bottling.
What do they do?
It involves visits to vineyards for grape sampling, assessing maturity of grapes, and deciding harvest dates. A winemaker is required to carry out laboratory analyses to check sugar levels, acidity, and post-fermentation alcohol levels.
She also needs to plan harvest activities and taste the grape juice at the wine press etc. In short, the job involves aligning viticulture needs with those of winemaking, as well as launching new brands. Winemakers typically live on vineyards or where the wine is blended. In India, there are very few winemakers and the industry is very small. There isn’t too much being heard and said about it... there are enough vineyards and wineries, but the popularity of the profession, as seen in Europe, is yet to catch on.
- Critical thinking and planning skills
- Expert knowledge of the fermentation process and skill in the art of blending the best lots together
- Ability to adapt to strenuous work hours during harvest time
How do I get there?
One can get into winemaking with a degree in food sciences, horticulture, agriculture, chemistry, biotech or microbiology. A course in fermentation technology also comes in handy. One can start as an intern or a trainee with a winemaking firm and eventually graduate to an assistant winemaker, associate winemaker and then chief winemaker. Some firms employ specialised winemakers for white wines, red wines and sparkling wines. Overseas, there are specialised orientation courses for vintners and winemakers after which you can intern under a senior winemaker or in a chateau/vineyard/winery where you can learn about creating new blends. You’ll need to understand soil, weather, grape, art of extracting juice, fermenting the wine and the art of blending different grape varieties. There is a long process of learning before someone can become an independent wine maker.