Wine Maker

What is a Wine Maker?

A person who makes wine is traditionally called a Winemaker or vintner.

Wine making is a very expensive industry to be involved in, so one has to be extremely observant and careful throughout the whole wine making process.  Even a small mistake can turn out to be very costly.

Science is playing an increasingly important role in winemaking and some Winemakers specialise in the research and the development of wine.

The study of wine making can be divided into two main areas:

  • Viticulture  : which is the study of grape cultivation
  • Oenology       : which is the study of wines and wine making

A Winemaker traditionally makes wine from grapes, but it can also be made from other fruit such eg strawberries or blackberries or parts of flowers like dandelions and elderflowers.  Wine, believe it or not, can also be made from honey, known as Mead.

Winemakers working in large wineries are usually in charge of the technical side of the business, while those working in small wineries may be responsible for the whole winemaking process (from the growing of the grapes to the bottling and marketing of the finished product).

What does a Winemaker do?

  • they organise and co-ordinate the production of wine from start to finish
  • they are responsible for selection of grape varieties
  • in charge of watering, feeding, training, and pruning the vines
  • control pests and diseases
  • determine the correct time for harvest
  • manage the crushing of grapes
  • in charge of fermenting juices, fortifying, clarifying, maturing and finishing wines
  • direct the filtering of wine to remove remaining solids
  • place filtered wine in casks or tanks for storage and maturation
  • bottle wine once it has matured
  • undertakequality control
  • conduct laboratory tests to monitor and ensure grape quality
  • directworkers and supervise staff in the production of wine
  • investigate various planting programs and the cultivation and production of grapes
  • supervise the maintenance of the vineyard
  • liaise with other wineries
  • liaisewith sales and marketing
  • give wine tours and tastings to the tourist industry

Are you . . . ?

  • passionate about wine?
  • interested in farming?
  • interested in science and chemistry?
  • a person with a keen sense of taste and smell?
  • analytical?
  • observant?
  • a person with great communication skills?
  • a good manager?
  • a problem solver?
  • patient?
  • willing to work long hours?

How do I become a Winemaker?



A BScAgric in Viticulture and Oenology or a BScAgriculture Oenology, which is a specialized programme, can be obtained from the University of Stellenbosch to qualify as a wine maker.

Minimum entry requirements:  

National Senior Certificate meeting degree entry requirements

Required school subjects:

Mathematics level 4, Physical Science and/or Life Science level 4 and Agricultural Science level 6.



Cape Institute for Agricultural Training

B.Agric Cellar Management at Cape Institute for Agricultural Training: Elsenburg (in conjunction with the University of Stellenbosch) 

Diploma in Cellar Technology (one year): Modular programme aimed at training candidates as winemakers: Elsenburg 

Minimum entry requirements:  

National Senior Certificate or Senior Certificate.

Required school subjects:

English, Mathematics/Mathematics Literacy, Physical Science/Life Science/ Agricultural Sciences


The Cape Wine Academy ( provides a range of professional courses for individuals who have an interest in wine making and the wine industry.

Courses offered are: 

  • South African Wine course
  • Certificate Wine course
  • Diploma Wine Course
  • Tertiary Wine studies
  • Cape Wine Masters
  • Wine Marketing course 

Minimum entry requirements:  

Applicants must be older than 18 years.

Required school subjects:

None specified


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Sommelier or Agricultural Technician

Is becoming a Winemaker the right career choice for me?

See below for more info.