Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

Occupation Outlook | Main MBIE Site


Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Prospects for winemakers are good. There is a shortage of skilled winemakers in New Zealand and employment numbers are projected to grow. Income is high.

How to become a winemaker

What they do

Winemakers plan and manage wine production. This can include planning the harvest of grapes, deciding which grapes to use and the specific blend of a wine, and other tasks such as marketing and administration.   

Qualifications needed

Winemakers usually have a qualification in wine production, wine science, viticulture, oenology, or a related field. Winemakers also usually start out as cellar hands, assistant winemakers, or other entry-level positions, before progressing to become winemakers. This experience allows them to learn on the job before getting more responsibility.

Cost of study

Bachelor of Wine Science/Viticulture and Winemaking
$19,000 over three years

Average costs in 2016 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.

Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.

Tenancy Services: 

Where to study

Many institutions offer qualifications that can be relevant for winemakers. Lincoln University in Canterbury, Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke’s Bay, and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology in Marlborough all offer particularly relevant qualifications in winemaking.

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology: 
Eastern Institute of Technology: 
Lincoln University:

Completed qualifications

The number of students completing a bachelor’s degree in horticulture or viticulture fell to a low of 40 in 2012, but has been back over 50 since then. Note that many relevant qualifications for winemakers are under food processing, which is not covered here.

Qualification completions chart


Source: Ministry of Education

Income and employment prospects


In 2016, the average income for winemakers was estimated to be around $74,500.

Estimated Average Income

Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index

Employment and skill shortages

Winemakers’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2020 2025
501 543 742 862
  1.2% 4.6% 3.0%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Natural and Physical Science Professionals”.

Winemaker numbers grew slowly between 2006 and 2013. Growth is forecast to speed up, and be over three percent each year until 2025.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
11% 38% 0% 56% $42,500

Source: Ministry of Education. “S” means data is supressed because of low numbers.
*Two years after completion of Bachelor Degree - Horticulture & Viticulture. ‘Overseas’ refers to the percentage of ALL graduates completing this qualification. Other indicators refer only to graduates living in New Zealand.

Most graduates were either in employment or in further study two years after completing a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and viticulture. Some were overseas, and very few were receiving a benefit. The median salary was around $42,500 two years after graduating. .

Winemakers appear on Immigration New Zealand’s immediate skill shortage list (Canterbury/ Upper South Island, Otago/Southland), indicating the government is actively encouraging skilled workers in that occupation to work in those regions. A full list can be found on Immigration New Zealand’s website.

Immigration NZ, skill shortage list:

Where to find job vacancies

Online vacancies for the broader category chemists, and food and wine scientists has been relatively stable since 2008, with a small peak in 2011. Since then, there has been a small decrease compared to the overall average for all vacancies (which has increased over the same period). The number of advertisements was slightly lower in 2015 than in 2008.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Winemaker vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites.

Trade Me Jobs: 

Career path

Most winemakers start out in more junior positions such as cellar hands or assistant winemakers.

Winemakers can progress to managing other winemakers in the position of chief winemaker. Also, some buy their own vineyards, or buy into the vineyard they work at.

Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level winemakers.

  • Assistant Winemaker
  • Biochemist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Brewer
  • Cellar Hand
  • Chemist
  • Food Technologist
  • Oenologist

Other information


More information on winemakers is available on the websites of Careers New Zealand and through the "Just the Job" video.

Careers New Zealand:
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Viticulture


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of winemakers has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for the purpose of this report:

234213 – Wine Maker