Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

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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.

Their tasks may include:

  • developing quality control procedures and safety standards for the manufacture of wine products
  • examining grape samples to assess ripeness, sugar and acid content, and determining suitability for processing
  • coordinating winemaking processes, directing workers in testing and crushing grapes, fermenting juices, and fortifying, clarifying, maturing and finishing wines
  • blending wines according to formulae and knowledge of winemaking techniques.

 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
$20,800 over three years


Average costs in 2018 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. First time students may be eligible for fees-free tertiary education for their first year of study, which will reduce the total cost. For more information about fees-free eligibility, go to Some polytechnics may have a zero-fees scheme. 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 has risen since 2011, and the number completing Level 4 Certificates ahs fallen. 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 2019, the average income for winemakers was estimated to be around $79,600.

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 2023 2028
501 543 650 720
  1.2% 3.0% 1.8%

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 slightly between 2006 and 2013. Growth is projected to grow strongly out to 2023, and by 1.8 percent each year until 2028.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Winemakers appear on Immigration New Zealand’s regional skill shortage list for all of the South Island regions, 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 2011. The number of advertisements was slightly lower in 2017 than in 2016.

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