Enologists perform a miracle every time they ensure that the rain that falls from the heavens on their vineyards combines with the grapes to be transformed into delectable wine that elevates every meal and occasion, every table, and every day!
Also Known As
Typical Job Responsibilities
What do Enologists do?
An Enologist would typically need to:
- Direct and manage the majority of a winery’s activities, such as grape planting, picking, and transporting, as well as wine production, storage, and shipping.
- Understand the scientific principles underlying wine production and how to improve a specific wine while creating fine wines.
- Analyze grape quality to determine which vines are best suited to growing in specific soil and climate conditions; work with different grape varieties to create the most robust and flavorful wines
- Before determining the best time to pick the grapes, conduct laboratory tests to monitor relative levels of moisture, sugar, and acid during harvest season.
- Supervise the crushing and destemming of grapes, the pressing that converts the grapes into a mixture known as a “must,” the settling and treatment of grape juice, and the addition of yeast, sulfites, and sugar to the “must”; heat the “must” to initiate the fermentation that produces wine.
- Determine the length of the maceration process, direct wine filtering to remove remaining solids, and test the resulting wine for quality and composition.
- Store the filtered wine in casks to mature while planning to bottle the aged wine with minimal quality loss.
- Determine whether to use yeast or bacteria, the temperature at which fermentation should occur, and how the wine should be aged.
- Collect and analyse stored wine in a lab before deciding when it can be blended and bottled based on its chemical composition.
- Wine should be monitored during bottling and storage to ensure proper hygiene and accurate post-bottling wine temperature.
- To improve wine production, conduct quality control and identify flavours and their sources.
- Maintain the pumps, barrels, and temperature control equipment in general; control inventory and manage shortages with creative solutions.
- Coordination of tasks between the vineyard and the winery, with the chief viticulturist (vineyard manager) to improve the finished product.
- Together with viticulturists, supervisors, and the marketing department, plan future planting programmes and grape growing strategies.
- Advice on vineyard and winery maintenance during the off-season
- Supervise workers throughout the winemaking process, from harvesting to fermentation, ageing, and bottling.
- Oversee staff issues, hire and train winery employees, coordinate work schedules, create a salary structure, and organise seminars and service-learning opportunities.
- Teach new and existing employees how to run lab tests to determine the quality of wine produced.
- Participate in the commercial aspects of the business, such as wine retail and market demand.
- Collaborate with the sales and marketing teams to determine the type, style, and quality of the wines in the pipeline, meet market demand, effectively package and market the wine, and oversee local and export wine sales.
- Give visitors guided tours of the winery and wine tasting sessions, explaining the various aspects of wine and winemaking.
- Represent the organisation at events; provide technical information for winery records; and assist in the writing of wine descriptions and taste notes for winery catalogues.
Standard Work Environment
Enologists are typically employed at wineries. They may have a standard office but are more likely to move around the facility, such as the production department, cellars, laboratories, or vineyards, keeping a close eye on all aspects of the winemaking process.
Enologists are generally eager to travel to wine-producing regions around the world to capture the experience of harvesting at various wineries.
Outdoor clothing should be appropriate for the weather, walking, and working in vineyards. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is useful during extreme temperatures, sulphur applications (to crushed grapes or sulfuring barrels), carbon dioxide exposure, pesticides, ammonia, caustic cleaners, or procedures that use materials containing airborne contaminants (i.e., diatomaceous earth). Working with grapes is a sticky business, so don’t wear your best clothes to work.
An Enologist working in the office should dress in business casual attire. Follow the guidelines or put on your best business formal wear for conferences, formal dinners, or marketing events.
Enologists typically work regular hours. Stress and overtime are normal during peak harvest or production season. If you want to improve your product and learn how to market it effectively, prepare to travel a lot. You may also be asked to train and teach others in your field, or you may be required to visit the other wineries you manage.
Conferences, formal dinners, regional seminars, and international events are all possible.
Enologists work in a variety of settings, including small wineries, large manufacturing plants, and multinational corporations. Some enologists may also conduct research or work in quality assurance.
Enologists are generally employed by:
- Wine Companies
Unions / Professional Organizations
Enologists may choose to join regional and national associations, which are a valuable resource for those seeking professional development or connecting with others in their industry or occupation. The International Viticulture and Enology Society (IVES) is a professional organisation dedicated to making scientific research findings available to researchers and professionals.
- Physical fitness and stamina required to stand for extended periods, both outdoors and in cellars, climb stairs, work on high platforms, lift and carry 40 pounds, bend, squat, and stretch
- Move to and live in geographic regions offering appropriate weather conditions for the growth of grapes
- Management of fermentation is a complex process made up of several interconnected aspects and steps that impact each other
- Tackling diverse natural problems from global warming to vineyard viruses
- Tracking and reducing winery water usage
- Overwhelming fumes of carbon dioxide released by fermenting grapes in poorly ventilated spaces, such as a vat, stainless steel tank, or small cellar
Suggested Work Experience
Discover each stage of the winemaking process. In some locations, if you are 21 or older, you can experiment with making wine at home. Try to get an entry-level job at a winery to gain more experience.
Summer or part-time work can sometimes lead to a full-time position as an Enologist, while apprenticeship programs at wineries provide the necessary training. Entry-level positions, such as cellar assistants or laboratory technicians, allow aspiring Enologists to gain valuable work experience.
Interns can gain experience harvesting and crushing grapes, filling barrels, and tasting wines by working directly with professional Enologists. They may also have the opportunity to visit a winery’s research, operations management, or marketing departments.
Get a head start by taking marketing and communication courses in high school. Foreign language proficiency may improve opportunities for study or research abroad.
College graduates hold the majority of entry-level positions in wineries. A bachelor’s degree in enology or viticulture is preferred but not required. Agriculture, food science, fermentation science, microbiology, or biochemistry degrees are more readily available and acceptable.
Wine analysis, wine microbiology, organic chemistry, soil science, health and safety procedures, sensory evaluation techniques, business, economics, marketing, and industry regulations should all be covered in specific winery management programs. Enologists should take computer science courses because of the increased use of computers for recording composition and grape details, blending and production alternatives, and data analysis.
Due to increased competition in the field, many aspiring Enologists are pursuing a master’s degree. As the industry evolves, the business skills required for revenue growth are in high demand, just like a science-based university program. Smaller independent producers may have less stringent acceptance criteria and are willing to accept a wider range of applicants.
Certifications, Licenses, and Registration
Although Enologists are not required to be certified, voluntary certification in relevant fields from an objective and reputable organization can help you gain professional credibility, validate your knowledge, increase your confidence at work, and stay up to date on technology.
Enologists who want to own a winery will usually need a business licence from their local government. Individual government entities administer licencing procedures, which typically include passing an examination as well as meeting eligibility requirements such as a minimum level of education, work experience, training, or completion of an internship, residency, or apprenticeship.
Projected Career Map
Enology advancement is based on performance, experience, and education. Enologists may begin in a small winery before moving on to a Manager-level position at a larger facility and eventually managing multiple establishments. The small number of wineries limits opportunities for advancement. Enologists may choose to open a winery, which will increase their earning potential, especially if they have mastered the production of specific high-quality wines.
Some Enologists specialize in the Shiraz grape or become experts in specific soil types and the maturation process within a specific geographical region. Others go on to become professors or members of trade organizations that increase the rate of wine market development in a specific regional market. Enologists may also specialize in the creation of new blends, depending on the size of the winery.
There has been a lot of consolidation and merger activity in the wine industry recently. Despite this, new brands continue to make a splash with aggressive marketing campaigns, particularly in the lower and mid-priced segments.
Enologists with signature skills, experience, and a passion for wines, will have the best job prospects
Beneficial Professional Development
Enology, as a science-based profession, expects students to continue their professional development through continuing education classes, symposia, and conference workshops in local organisations specialising in the field. Grape growing in harsh climates, precision viticulture, water efficiency, plant pests and diseases, and soil technology are all possible topics.
Enologists also research and implement changes in growing and production techniques to produce a high-quality product at the lowest possible cost. They must keep up with technologically advanced production methods. Reading and analysing a profit-and-loss statement and other parts of a balance sheet are useful financial and accounting skills.
An experienced Enologist understands how to strike the perfect balance between a technical consultant who knows every trick to bring the wine to a certain standard, regardless of the grapes, and a wine servant whose job it is to sit quietly, listen to it, and let it tell its stories and dreams.
Advice from the Wise
Show me a great man, and I’ll always show you one or more of the women who helped shape him. According to Talleyrand, some privileged men never create the event. They adjust to the situation. Drive them when they are intelligent. My story is about a humble man working with a fantastic vineyard, soil, and extraordinary terroir. My story is purely coincidental. What exactly is genius? Just hope it lasts!