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09.29.2011

Wow. Winemakers Make A Decent Living.

Perhaps I'm just a little out of touch. I hope it's not proof that deep down I didn't have enough respect for the profession. But I was quite surprised to learn just how much money winemakers earn.

2011_Salary-Survey_Charts.jpg

Winemakers will earn average salary of $95,263 this year, according to a salary survey of the wine industry conducted by Winebusiness.Com. More senior winemakers (who supervised other winemakers) will earn an average of $121,774.

That's a damn good living, considering that the median income in this country is around $49,000. It's also certainly more than a lot of executive chefs earn (they average about $67,875 according to Salary.Com).

It's also a lot more, I might add, than what a lot of engineers and scientists with advanced degrees earn a few years after graduating.

Of course, I'm comparing averages to medians, which isn't a good idea -- it would be interesting to find out the median income for winemakers (as well as what the sample size and geographic reach is for this survey).

The salaries for VP of sales and tasting room staff aren't surprising, as they're relatively in line with comparable positions in other industries.

In any case, I'm glad to know that it's reasonably possible to make a decent living as a winemaker (it's certainly less true for a lot of other kinds of artisans these days). Heaven knows it's pretty hard work, especially around this time of year.

Read the full story.

Comments (4)

Jessica wrote:
10.01.11 at 9:48 AM

This is a preview of the salary survey. When the full article comes out, please read the details as I am willing to bet that salaries vary greatly with the size of winery. Also, assistant winemaker and cellar hand (the people that actually MAKE the wine) are paid MUCH less.

Christopher Robinson wrote:
10.02.11 at 10:19 PM

These are similar to Australian figures. Around 80-120k for a good winemaker.

Mel Knox wrote:
10.03.11 at 9:47 AM

A lot of the winemakers I know have either Bachelor of Science degrees or Master's degrees from places like UC Davis, Fresno State etc.

I wonder how their salaries compare to those who elected to run tomato processing plants,oil refineries etc.

$120 K sounds like a lot of money until you remember what a house costs around here. I just looked at one website. A home with one thousand sq feet is selling for $465000! Such a deal.

MB wrote:
10.11.11 at 12:43 PM

I wonder how credible the winebusiness.com salary survey is. They don't say much about their methodology. I know a lot of winemakers who earn less than the average, and only a couple, usually soldiers-of-fortune, 30 years into storied careers with the titans of wine who make as much.

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