Careers advice

7 options for wine jobs in NZ

These roles will age like fine wines.

Last updated: 21 December 2023

Aotearoa is known for many things around the world – our birds, our scenery, Lord Of The Rings and, more recently, our wine.

NZ wine is now highly sought after, and is a staple of supermarkets and wine stores across the globe. And, with this trend showing no signs of reversing, this all means that there’s a high demand for skilled winemakers and viticulturists in the country.

So, what are the options for wine industry jobs? Here are just a few of the skills required by employers in this thriving industry.

Wine jobs in NZ

1. Viticulture & winemaking

We’ll start with the obvious – viticulture and winemaking. Viticulturists, also known as vineyard managers, oversee the cultivation of grapevines. Their responsibilities include soil management, irrigation, pest control, and the application of various viticultural practices to ensure optimal grape growth. This role demands a deep understanding of climatic conditions to produce different types of grapes, and the ability to maintain vine health throughout the growing season.

Moving from the vineyard to the winery, winemakers are the creative minds behind the transformation of grapes into exquisite wines. They oversee the entire winemaking process, from grape selection and fermentation to blending and ageing. Winemakers typically possess a nuanced understanding of the chemistry and artistry of winemaking, aiming to produce wines that reflect Aotearoa’s diverse grape-producing regions.

Wine tourism employs lots of people around the country.

2. Marketing & sales

Marketing within the wine industry plays a critical role in shaping brand identity and market presence, particularly in a global market where so many wineries are vying for consumer attention. Marketing pros develop strategies to showcase wineries and their products. They craft compelling narratives, execute marketing campaigns, and operate across various channels to engage consumers.

As well as appealing to larger customers like supermarkets and bottleshops, wineries also want to grab the attention of individuals who visit their cellar doors, and who could be turned into loyal customers. Therefore, sommeliers, and front of house staff are important ambassadors for wineries too.

3. Research & development

Innovation and sustainability are driving forces within Aotearoa New Zealand’s wine industry. Research and development roles focus on advancing winemaking techniques, exploring sustainable practices, and adapting to changing environmental conditions. Professionals in this field delve into areas such as fermentation methods, climate impact on viticulture, and eco-friendly approaches to wine production.

4. Logistics & distribution

Logistics professionals manage the complex supply chain that ensures wines reach global markets efficiently. They oversee transportation, storage, and distribution, making sure that wines are delivered to consumers while maintaining quality standards. Their attention to detail and ability to navigate logistics networks are crucial for the industry's success.

Research and development is key to developing quality wines.

5. Hospitality & education

The hospitality sector relies on knowledgeable staff to provide exceptional experiences for wine enthusiasts. Visit regions like Marlborough, Otago, Waiheke Island and Hawke’s Bay, and you’ll find sommeliers, tasting room managers, and hospitality professionals busy introducing customers to different wine varieties - conducting tastings and creating memorable experiences. Educational institutions offer specialised programmes catering to aspiring wine professionals, covering various aspects of viticulture, oenology, and wine business management.

6. Administration & management

Behind-the-scenes roles in administration and management are essential for the seamless operation of wineries. These positions encompass finance, human resources, regulatory compliance, and overall operations management. Efficient management ensures compliance with regulations, financial stability, and a conducive work environment for all employees.

7. Wine writing and journalism

Want to combine your love of wine with a gift for the written word? Wine enthusiasts with a passion for writing can pursue careers in wine journalism. Wine writers and critics contribute to magazines, websites, and publications, sharing reviews, insights, and stories about different wines, vineyards, regions, and trends. Their expertise guides consumers and industry professionals in navigating the rich world of wines.

8. Wine auctions and appraisals

Specialists in wine auctions and appraisals assess the value and authenticity of rare and collectible wines. They work in auction houses or as independent consultants, providing valuation services, organising auctions, and guiding collectors and buyers in acquiring unique and valuable wines.

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Al Hall
Al Hall

Al Hall is a regular contributor at Trade Me Jobs and Trade Me Property. He’s dedicated to helping people succeed in their aspirations to find their dream job and place to live.