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Getting a Job in the Wine Business

I came across this book today:  Launch Your Wine Career

I haven’t had time to get it/read it, as of yet,  so this is not a review.  However, it is the only book on the topic that I have seen (this is not an endorsement, just an observation.)

It addresses one of the top questions I get in class.  I wonder, how specific are the examples in this book?  Are they realistic?  Can students actually put into action what they recommend?

The subtitle of this book rather irks me: “Dream Jobs in America’s Hottest Industry.” Selling people on the idea that they can read one book and get a “dream job” is … well, completely unrealistic.  Furthermore, I don’t know of any “dream jobs” to begin with.  Every job in the wine industry has negative aspects to it – I am sure every job in the world does.  And the “hottest industry” – really?  Sounds like the marketing department at work here.

Here is a plus – one of the authors is an instructor at Sonoma State – and I have heard very good things about their “How to Manage a Tasting Room” courses.  I would assume that this book came out of questions arising in those classes.

I typically recommend that students take a look at this website for a REALISTIC idea of potential jobs: Wine Business Monthly – Wine Jobs.  (Sorry, I don’t see a category for “dream jobs”….)  If you see a job that looks appealing, then look to see what the requirements are, and then start working towards achieving them.  Yes, lots of boring things will be required: excel, word, a bachelor’s degree, sales experience, etc.

The way I look at it is, you have 2 choices to get in the wine business (assuming you don’t want to go into production and/or you can’t afford to buy a winery):

  1. Get an entry-level “starter” job (usually paying $30K/year) and move up as fast as possible
  2. Look for “cross-over” work.  This entails taking something you are already doing and finding a way to apply it to the wine trade.