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Enologists/Wine Makers

California Occupational Guide Number 257
Interest Area 5-A
1998


THE JOB

ENOLOGISTS direct and coordinate wine production activities.  This involves
crushing, fermentation, clarification, aging, blending, and bottling.
Working either in their own firm's vineyards, or with viticulturists of
other, grape-supplying vineyards, Enologists examine grape samples to judge
sweetness and acidity, to verify sound condition and lack of pesticide
residue, and to authenticate grape varieties. They decide when to start the
harvest and ensure that grapes are trucked to the crusher quickly and safely.

Enologists supervise workers in the crushing and fermentation process,
following legal and regulatory practices and record-keeping requirements.
In smaller operations, they may do these processing duties themselves.

The process of aging and clearing wine of fermentation residue is handled by
the cellar supervisor under the direction of the Enologist.  Blending,
however, is the main responsibility of the Enologist.  They blend wines
according to formulas and knowledge and experience in wine making.
Enologists also oversee bottling to ensure that all goes smoothly, and seek
to improve bottling methods and techniques.

In some wineries, the title of Enologist is not necessarily a synonym for
Wine Maker.  Job duties of Enologists are often related to the size of the
winery.  In large wineries, the major work of Enologists may be as
laboratory technicians, directing Research and experimental work and
supervising bottling line quality control.  In these wineries, Enologists
may also have specialized duties involving the responsibility for a specific
kind of wine such as table wine or dessert wine.  Those who direct and
coordinate wine production, develop vineyard sites, etc., are often referred
to as Wine Makers or Assistant Wine Makers.

Enologists may be engaged in product improvement or new product development.
In cooperation with viticulturists, Enologists may select new areas for
additional plantings and investigate new grape varieties.  They may also do
public relations work.


WORKING CONDITIONS

Enologists divide their time between a pleasant, well-ordered laboratory and
the wine cellars.  Most cellars are kept cool throughout the year, at
temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  Because cleanliness is a
necessity, cellars are washed regularly; this makes for a cool, damp
setting.  Most cellars cover a considerable area and are often built on
different levels.  Enologists must be in good physical condition to work in
such surroundings.  Enologists may also spend some time outdoors in pleasant
surroundings working with the viticulturists or vineyard manager.  Because 
the work requires a keen sense of taste and smell, allergies could be a
serious handicap to Enologists.  They must also maintain an awareness of
chemical hazards and laboratory safety.


EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

The following information is from the California Projections of Employment
published by the Labor Market Information Division.  The figures represent
the broad occupational group Industrial Production Managers, which includes
Enologists.

Estimated number of workers in 1993            25,470
Estimated number of workers in 2005            26,060
Projected Growth 1993-2005                         2%
Estimated openings due to separations by 2005   6,640

(These figures do not include self-employment or openings due to turnover.) 

Job opportunities for Enologists are tied to trends in the wine industry.
By the mid-l980s, rapid expansion in the industry had created a need for
trained Enologists and an interest in the occupation.  At that time,
Enologists entering the labor market had little difficulty finding
employment.  At the same time, enrollments in college degree programs in
enology increased considerably.

However, the number of students in enology programs has dropped as industry
growth and the resulting need for more Enologists have slowed.  Graduates
sometimes find it difficult to locate the jobs they prefer.

During the forecast period, available job opportunities for Enologists will
result more from the need to replace retired or promoted workers than from
any expansion in the industry.


WAGES, HOURS, AND FRINGE BENEFITS

The median wage for Industrial Production Managers in California is $25.65
per hour.  Enologists, however, (especially those just starting out in the
profession) tend to earn less than that hourly figure.  Salary levels depend
on the size of the winery and education and experience of Enologists.  Well-
qualified individuals with ample experience may exceed $5,000 a month in the
larger wineries.  A 40-hour week is usual; but during harvest season
overtime may be expected, with compensatory time off during slack periods.

Most wineries include sick leave, vacation, retirement, and health insurance
plans as part of the employee benefit package.  Some of the larger wineries
have profit-sharing or stock-purchase plans.  Housing and discounts on wines
are also provided at some facilities.


ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS AND TRAINING

The basic requirement for entry into the occupation is a bachelor of science
degree with a specialization in enology.  Some wineries will hire persons
whose major has been in another field, such as food technology or chemistry,
provided courses in enology have been included in the program.  Training in
business and public speaking are also valuable background for prospective
Enologists.

Wineries prefer to hire applicants with one to three years of experience in
the wine industry.  Summer work and internships in wineries during college
help to satisfy this requirement.  Enologists' work also requires mental and
emotional stability to handle responsibility and to make decisions for the
long-term and on an emergency basis.

High school students interested in this occupation should consult college
catalogs, then plan courses to be sure of satisfying admission requirements.
High school courses should include mathematics, chemistry, physics, and
biology.  The American Society of Enology and Viticulture funds scholarships
to students in these fields of study; additionally, the Department of
Viticulture and Enology at the University of California at Davis has an
extensive scholarship program.


ADVANCEMENT

Promotional opportunities for Enologists, apart from pay increases and added
job responsibility, depend on the place of employment and experience in the
industry.  In larger wineries, Enologists may advance to higher level
management positions such as production manager or vice-president.  In
smaller wineries Enologists occasionally become part owners, or are the
original owners of the winery.  Often, Enologists are hired by brewing or
other food industry employers as a result of their winery experience.


FINDING THE JOB

Enologists find jobs through college placement offices or direct application
to employers.  Highly responsible positions requiring technical knowledge
and production experience are usually filled by word of mouth or personal
contacts within the industry.  Both employers and applicants may place ads
in the Wine Institute News, a widely read trade publication.  Also, local
wine country newspapers may advertise for winery positions that might be
career ladders to the position of Enologist.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION

Department of Viticulture and Enology
University of California
Davis, CA 95616
(916) 752-0380
http://www.wineserver.ucdavis.edu

Wine Institute
425 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 512-0151
http://www.wineinstitute.org

American Society of Enology and Viticulture
P.O. Box 1855
Davis, CA 95617
(916) 753-3142
http://vitis-ir.com/ASEV

RELATED OCCUPATIONAL GUIDES

Chemists                          No. 22

OCCUPATIONAL CODE REFERENCES

DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles, 4th Ed.,1991)
Wine Maker                   183.161-014

OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) System
Industrial Production Managers    150140

Source: State of California, Employment Development Department,
        Labor Market Information Division, Information Services Group,
        (916) 262-2162.
Note:  This is NOT a job opening.  The purpose of This California Occupational Guide is to provide you with useful information to help you make career decisions.   If you are searching for a job, go to:

California Occupational Guides


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