Oenologists track the wine manufacturing process in its entirety and supervise the workers in wineries. They supervise and coordinate production to ensure the quality of the wine and also give advice by determining the value and classification of wines being produced.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to oenologist:

winery cellar master
wine producer
wine maker
wine advisor
wine production expert
wine production specialist

Minimum qualifications

Bachelor’s degree is generally required to work as oenologist. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Oenologist is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Oenologist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to oenologist.

cider master
botanicals specialist
food production manager
animal feed nutritionist

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of oenologist. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of oenologist with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of oenologist.

Wine characteristics: The origins and characteristics of international wines.
Wine blending: Blending processes of wines considering factors that affect how wine is perceived by the taster and eliminate anything that may hinder objective testing.
Types of wine: The large variety of wines, including the different types, regions and special characteristics of each. The process behind the wine such as grape varietals, fermentation procedures and the types of crop that resulted in the final product.
Biotechnology: The technology that uses, modifies or harnesses biological systems, organisms and cellular components to develop new technologies and products for specific uses.
Wine fermentation process: Process of fermentation of wine, which involves the different steps to be followed, the time lapses in the process and the parameters of the product.
Beverages filtration processes: Safe and economic method for removing impurities from food products and extending its shelf life. Importance of contamination control and how it contributes to superior quality product, a significant reduction of waste and a minimum of product spoilage.
Financial capability: Financial operations such as calculations, cost estimations, budget management taking relevant commercial and statistical data into account such as data for materials, supplies and manpower.
Pathogenic microorganisms in food: The identification and characteristics of pathogenic micro-organisms in food and the adequate prevention methods to inhibit its reproduction in food materials.
Quality assurance methodologies: Quality assurance principles, standard requirements, and the set of processes and activities used for measuring, controlling and ensuring the quality of products and processes.
Winery production process: Winery production processes and safety requirements. Winemaking principles. Engineering and flow process technology (pumps and hoses).
Fermentation processes of beverages: Fermentation processes related to the conversion of sugar to alcohol, gases and acids. 
Food and beverage industry: The respective industry and the processes involved in the food and beverage industry, such as raw material selection, processing, packaging, and storage.
Variety of grapes: Varieties of grapes and the types of wine that can be produced with them. Specifications during fermentation and the treatment of the juice during the process.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of oenologist.

Tend wine manufacturing machines: Tends machinery, appliances, and special equipment designed for the production and the manufacturing of wine. Make maintenance and implement preventive actions to the machinery in order to ensure operability.
Monitor the process of wine production: Based on a large understanding and experience in the production of wine; he/she has the ability to oversee the whole process. This helicopter vision allows him/her to take decisions, and to lead employees to work towards the achievement of an excellent wine.
Assist bottling: Prepare wine for bottling. Assist with bottling and corking.
Handle wine sales: Handle all aspects of wine sales. Communicate with members through telephone and email. Follow up appropriately in order to achieve wine sales.
Perform sensory evaluation: Evaluate the quality of a given type of food or beverage based on its appearance, smell, taste, aroma, and others. Suggest possible improvements and comparisons with other products.
Mark differences in colours: Identify differences between colours, such as shades of colour.
Store wine properly: Proper way to store various types of wines.
Operate pasteurisation processes: Follow and apply procedures to pasteurise food and beverages. Recognise the properties of the products to be pasteurised and adapt procedures accordingly.
Perform detailed food processing operations: Perform precise food processing operations with great attention and detail to all steps in the creation of a qualitative product.
Prepare containers for beverage fermentation: Prepare containers for beverage fermentation according to the type of beverage to be produced. This includes the qualities that the different kinds of containers can give to the final product.
Apply haccp: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP).
Check bottles for packaging: Check bottles for packaging. Apply bottle testing procedures to verify if the bottle is fit for containing food and beverage products. Follow legal or company specifications for bottling.
Analyse samples of food and beverages: Examine if food or beverages are safe for human consumption. Verify the right levels of key ingredients and the correctness of the label declarations and the levels of nutrients present. Ensure samples of food and beverages comply to specific standards or procedures.
Apply requirements concerning manufacturing of food and beverages: Apply and follow national, international, and internal requirements quoted in standards, regulations and other specifications related with manufacturing of food and beverages.
Apply gmp: Apply regulations regarding manufacture of food and food safety compliance. Employ food safety procedures based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
Monitor temperature in manufacturing process of food and beverages: Monitor and control required temperatures in the different phases of production until the product reaches suitable properties according to specifications.
Set production facilities standards: Ensure a high standard of safety and quality in facilities, systems, and workers’ behaviour. Ensure adherence to procedures and audit standards. Ensure that machinery and appliances in the production plant are appropriate for their task.
Manage wine cellar inventory: Managing the inventory of wine cellars for the purpose of aging and blending.
Filter wine: Filter the wine to remove any solid residue. Place filtered wine in tanks or casks for storage and maturation.
Blend beverages: Master blending beverages as to create new beverage products that are attractive to the market, interesting to companies, and innovative in the market.
Exert quality control to processing food: Ensure the quality of all factors involved in a food production process.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of oenologist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Chemical constitution of grapes: The chemical components of grapes such as water, carbohydrates, acids, alcohols, phenolics, nitrogenous compounds, inorganic substances; the chemical interactions of these elements and how it can give a different personality to the final product, especially during the fermentation process.
Processes of foods and beverages manufacturing: Raw materials and production processes for getting finished food products. Importance of quality control and other techniques for the food and beverage industry.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of oenologist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Describe flavour of different wines: Describe taste and aroma, also known as flavour, of different wines using the adequate lingo and relying on experience to classify the wines.
Implement marketing strategies: Implement strategies which aim to promote a specific product or service, using the developed marketing strategies.
Supervise grape pressing: Supervise and guide the crushing, pressing, settling and all other phases of juice treatment and the fermentation of the must.
Control grape quality: Discuss the quality and quantity of the grapes with viticulturists throughout the growing season.
Ensure continuous preparedness for audits: Ensure constant compliance with standards and requirements, such as keeping certifications up to date and monitoring activities to ensure correct procedures are followed, so that audits can occur smoothly and no negative aspects can be identified.
Rack wines: Rack wines by siphoning the wine off of sediments that settle out to the bottom of vessels such as carboy. Operate machinery needed to effectuate the process of racking.
Handle chemicals for clean in place: Manage suitable quantities and types of cleaning chemicals (CIP) needed in the process of food and beverage production.
Analyse trends in the food and beverage industries: Investigate trends in foodstuffs related to consumers preferences. Examine key markets based on both product type and geography as well as technological improvements in the industry.
Liaise with colleagues: Liaise with fellow colleagues to ensure common understanding on work related affairs and agree on the necessary compromises the parties might need to face. Negotiate compromises between parties as to ensure that work in general run efficiently towards the achievement of the objectives.
Implement sales strategies: Carry out the plan to gain competitive advantage on the market by positioning the company’s brand or product and by targeting the right audience to sell this brand or product to.
Identify market niches: Analyse the composition of the markets, segment these into groups, and highlight the opportunities that each one of these niches represent in terms of new products.
Age alcoholic beverages in vats: Follow adequate procedures to place certain alcoholic beverages (e.g. wine, spirits, vermouth) in vats and age them for the required period. Use techniques to give them special characteristics.
Monitor centrifugal separators: Operating and monitoring centrifugal separators.
Control wine quality: Taste the wine and strive to improve the quality. Develop new styles of wine. Making sure that quality is maintained during all production stages, including when it is bottled. Record quality checks line with specifications. Assume responsibility for the maintenance of all quality parameters for all wines.
Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
Measure the strength of distillation: Measuring the alcohol concentration based on the information in the spirit safe and maintaining the distillation process and the distillation strength within the parameters asked by regulations for taxation purposes.
Mitigate waste of resources: Evaluate and identify opportunities to use resources more efficiently with continuously striving to reduce waste of utilities.
Control of expenses: Monitoring and maintaining effective cost controls, in regards to efficiencies, waste, overtime and staffing. Assessing excesses and strives for efficiency and productivity.
Work in a food processing team: Collaborate in a team with other food processing professionals in service of the food and beverages industry.
Apply control process statistical methods: Apply statistical methods from Design of Experiments (DOE) and Statistical Process Control (SPC) in order to control manufacturing processes.
Liaise with managers: Liaise with managers of other departments ensuring effective service and communication, i.e. sales, planning, purchasing, trading, distribution and technical.
Analyse production processes for improvement: Analyse production processes leading toward improvement. Analyse in order to reduce production losses and overall manufacturing costs.

ISCO group and title

2145 – Chemical engineers





  1. Oenologist – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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