How Do I Become an Enologist?

M. West
M. West
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Enologist careers involve overseeing every step of the wine production process to ensure an optimal quality product. The educational requirement you need to become an enologist is a bachelor’s degree in enology or in a related field, such as food technology or chemistry, with the condition that enology courses have been included in the program. A background in business and marketing is also helpful because you will be involved in selling wine to distributors. In addition to education, wineries generally prefer candidates with one to three years of experience in the industry, and ongoing training is needed to stay abreast of new wines and developments in the field. As with any profession, certain personal characteristics are necessary as well.

The education to become an enologist can start in high school and extend through college. High school students interested in this field should include courses that will satisfy admission requirements for the college enology program, such as mathematics, chemistry, and physics, as well as biology. Once you enter college, courses, such as sensory wine evaluation, wine technology and organic chemistry will equip you for this profession.

Aside from education, some personal traits can be an advantage for someone who wants to become an enologist. Since the profitability of a winery lies in the hands of an enologist, you must have mental and emotional stability to cope with responsibility and also be able to make sound decisions for long-term goals, as well as emergency situations. Additionally, personal enologist requirements include good communication and public speaking skills, so that information on different wine topics can be effectively shared.

Enologist duties encompass all areas involved in wine making, and often will vary with the size of the winery. Those who become an enologist will direct crushing, fermentation, and clarification, as well as aging, blending, and bottling. They ascertain grape sweetness and acidity, in addition to authenticating grape varieties and verifying lack of pesticide residues. Their main responsibility is in blending, where they use formulas in tandem with their expertise to produce the wine product. In large wineries, the main role of an enologist may be to direct research in a laboratory

Opportunities for advancement for those who become an enologist are contingent on the place of employment and experience in the industry. In larger wineries, you may move up to managerial roles such as production manger or vice president, while in smaller wineries, you may become part owner, if you are not already the original owner. Also, brewing or other food industry companies sometimes hire enologists as consultants for their businesses.

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