The statistics on US and global wine sales are at best mixed.  It appears consumers are drinking less wine – although the wines they do drink are higher quality and higher prices. The new generations that have come of legal drinking age in the last 10 years – Millennials and the older portion of Gen Z – look at all alcohol with an eye to its detriment to health.  When they do choose alcoholic beverages, they often tend to be ready-to-drink cocktails and hard seltzers.

If you are looking to enter the wine industry the trends described above may give you, as well as potential employers pause.  You may be thinking “will there be openings in the industry for me?” While potential employers may be skittish on adding staff.  Still, there are things you can do to maximize your chances at being hired.

First, think about what you do well and like to do.  Do you enjoy selling customers on wine?  If you enjoy customer service and talking to people about wine, you might want to consider a retail sales job.  Start by identifying wine shops in your area which you like, have strong reputations and often seem busy, particularly on weekends.  Go in and talk to staff there.  Ask them what it is like to work there, what owners look for in hiring and whether there is any part- or full-time opportunities.

Try to get a name and contact for the shop owner /manager. If they are not there when you make your first contact, then contact them and ask for opportunity to have an informational interview with them.  Ask them how they got into the industry and what they would recommend for you.  If you have a good feeling about them, ask if there are any even part time needs and be prepared to start at the bottom and work unpopular hours. If you do enough of these interviews you are bound to land some part time work.

If you are more into winemaking you need to research the vineyards in your area.  Find out who is in charge of bringing on interns and do the same type of informational interview.  Be willing to work for free as a starting point.  If they have no internships, ask if there are select days during the harvest where they may need extra help and let them know you are willing to come in at a moment’s notice.  Finally, if they seem to have no opportunities, ask who else – and what other vineyards – you should speak to.

Your success in any interview and ultimately entering the industry will be more successful if you have some respected wine education credential.  The educational experience not only tells the person you speak with that you know something about wine, but it also has a few other advantages:

  • It gives you more confidence at presenting yourself in an interview
  • It enables you to dig deeper in responding to questions
  • The classes allow you an opportunity to network with other students and teachers about opportunities.

The idea of creating confidence is behind all WSET course which is why we feel so strongly about them.  In a down wine market this type of education is even more valuable.  You can see everything we offer at