Interested in Finding a Career in the Wine Industry?
Food and wine have been paired together for as long as vineyards have been in existence. Most culinary professionals have some experience with wine—whether it’s finding the right dishes to go along with it, cooking with it, or working in a restaurant where it is served—and that training starts early on.
In fact, many culinary schools offer a wine course as part of their curriculum, and you can also go on to take additional courses to enhance your own education long after the ink has dried on your culinary school diploma. If you’re interested in working with food and wine, there are several different career options available to you.
The most common wine-affiliated culinary job is that of chef or sous chef in a winery setting. Today, many wineries have their own restaurants and food and wine pairings, which encourage people to eat, drink, and buy more. The cooks working in this capacity will have a strong focus on the wines (since the ultimate goal is usually to advertise the winery), especially when it comes to pairing the right dishes and creating a luxury experience.
Hospitality management jobs are also a great opportunity within the wine industry, especially when it comes to running a small inn, bed & breakfast, or even a larger hotel chain that hosts special events. Although you’ll probably have less to do with the actual cooking, you will still be responsible for incorporating wine into your menu and facility, and in helping people make decisions related to their favorite beverage.
Additional opportunities in the wine industry for those who have a culinary background include working as waitstaff, within a wine cellar, or in a tasting room. Some chefs even go on to open their own vineyards and become winemakers.
If you’re interested in pursuing a culinary/wine career, you should first determine exactly how much time you intend to spend with food versus how much time you want to spend with wine and hospitality management.
There are different degree options (and schools) for each kind of focus, and although you can always develop your education and career as you go, it’s a good idea to have a solid foundation with a two- or four-year degree in your chosen career field.