Workplace Anyone in the wine business/industry??

kara_n

Member
Feb 7, 2008
1,473
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Sorry if this is the wrong place to post this.

Can anyone tell me about the wine industry? (particularly California stuff)
My local college offers an associates in wine marketing & selling (they have other wine degrees though..) . I don't want to be an actual winemaker though. The degree at the nearest university for me only has a bachelors in basically making wine and all that stuff.

What kind of job could I get if I have the wine marketing associates?
What kind of pay should I expect?

I don't have much knowledge, it's just something i might be interested in.

Thanks for any information....
 
Last edited:

jburgh

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Aug 17, 2007
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In the Forest
Sorry if this is the wrong place to post this.

Can anyone tell me about the wine industry? (particularly California stuff)
My local college offers an associates in wine marketing & selling (they have other wine degrees though..) . I don't want to be an actual winemaker though. The degree at the nearest university for me only has a bachelors in basically making wine and all that stuff.

What kind of job could I get if I have the wine marketing associates?
What kind of pay should I expect?

I don't have much knowledge, it's just something i might be interested in.

Thanks for any information....
What classes are offered in this program? Honestly, I don't think an Associates degree in wine marketing would prepare you for a lucrative career. If I wanted to go into the marketing end of the wine business I would get an MBA, after a BA degree in business. You could also take some specialized wine industry related business classes. Marketing salaries run the gamut from $10 an hour up into the six figure range depending on the type of position you have and the percent you grow the profits based on your marketing programs.

I am a former marketing manager in the scientific equipment industry. Several of my products supported wine testing and I have been to the Wine Association trade shows (fun!).

The marketing field is highly competitive and you can use general marketing principles in a variety of industries.
 

Jencine

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Sep 18, 2009
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Northern California
Yes!

I currently just got out of the industry in NorCal after almost 5 years. The economy is no bueno, and even though alcohol in general still sells it's at a lower price point.

I started in the restaurant biz, moved into retail, the best job I had was as a wine & beer department buyer for a .. well; THE major "organic grocery" store.

My education was three AA's from community college, extensive wine knowledge, forklift certification, TIPS certification for the serving of alcohol; and my pay was $12/hr. with 32-38 hrs. per week. The job title topped out at max $17/hr. It was "throwing" (moving cases of wine, they are heavy) all my own freight, all the bottles of beer and wine that came in the back door to the shelf, putting together all the orders, helping customers in all departments, making phone calls, creating displays, doing paperwork, a lot was expected of me.

I worked closely with sales representatives and they were all doing okay but nowhere near the sales of 5+ years ago. Their jobs are commissioned (they get a percentage of $$ for their pay based on how much $$ the order was that was place) and they have a route, use their personal car, and "call" on accounts to place orders and try and get products from their company & portfolio in the stores. Thing is, most major retailers have a set, or pre-set list of wines to carry, it just depends.

I also worked at a wine bar for a few months, it was fun and I had hoped to stay there for awhile and perhaps continue working there when I decided to go back to school for a BA. Unfortunately I took a weeks vacation, they had no problem with, but I came back and had no hours. Bummer.

I've been unemployed for ... gee coming up on 7 months. I've applied to restaurant jobs, retail, everything.

I worked very, very hard, to get to where I was, but the pay was just too little with no room from promotion unless I wanted to be a grocery store manager. Bleh.

Also something to consider is that with a marketing degree in wine is that you're competing with sommeliers; people that are INCREDIBLY keen on all the varietals of wine, can educate customers and are a real asset especially for owners and managers in the business that may not be educated on wine but great on the business side. A job may come up between you and a sommelier, you may have the schooling, but he may have the on-the-job-training training to put him ahead of your game.

You could probably get a job working at a retail place with that degree... I'm reallllly not sure what else at this point. A lot of places have resorted to the employee that does multiple things (cashiers, stocks wine and cheese and beer).

The money to be made in the wine industry is all business managerial, and at wineries perhaps wine club etc. but those all at the least require a BA. You may be able to work the tasting room for $13/hr. with an AA in wine marketing.

Overall it's an incredibly competitive industry, there is money to be made but you have to be prepared to deal with people that are hacks, shady, alcoholics, a little kooky, not always the nicest, and customers and businesses that are cranky.

I am going back to school in the fall for business but may change my major to anthropology. After I learned all there was to the different wine regions around the world there was no spark left in it for me. It's not glamorous, fun, or interesting.

Best of luck with your decision, it's tough world out there!
 

kara_n

Member
Feb 7, 2008
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Thanks for the replies. Very informative!

It's just really tough to know what to do. I'm almost out of high school and have no idea what I'll really be doing. I'm just looking into various things and trying to get information on them.

Again, thank you.
 

jburgh

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Aug 17, 2007
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In the Forest
Thanks for the replies. Very informative!

It's just really tough to know what to do. I'm almost out of high school and have no idea what I'll really be doing. I'm just looking into various things and trying to get information on them.

Again, thank you.
kara_n - I am probably old enough to be your grandmother, so I am not really tuned into high school life. Are you being pressured to pick a college major? What are you interested in? What did you like the best?

I changed my college major a few times. I was never good in math in high school and opted for the humanities. Then I changed my attitude and went into chemistry, because I really liked it, but never thought I would be good at math related classes. Turned out I was good at physics, too! Go figure.

I guess what I am trying to say is you cannot always tell what direction to point yourself when you are just 17 or 18 years old. You can always take an extra few quarters to find yourself. And it is never too late to go back to school if you decide you hate your career.
 

Jencine

Member
Sep 18, 2009
247
0
Northern California
jburgh; totally true. I feel a bit of hesitation just being 25 and going back to get my BS from a state school... but the business I was in was just not for me. Life goes on, time is all relative and you should spend it doing something that doesn't make you miserable!