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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.


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.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud