Vineyard machinery operator


Vineyard machinery operators carry out practical activities related to cultivation, propagation of grape varieties and production of wine with specialised machinery or equipment.

Vineyard machinery operators typically do the following:

  • build trellises for grape vines
  • spray vines and other plants with chemicals to control weeds, insects, fungus and disease
  • weed and hoe; prune vines
  • select and pick grapes according to size and ripeness
  • cultivate crop production by maintaining optimal growing conditions
  • assist with the sale and dispatch of produce
  • maintain farm buildings, fences, equipment and water supply systems
  • keep and evaluate records of activities and plan production to meet market demands.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to vineyard machinery operator:

farm machinery operator
machinery operator in a vineyard
grape grower
winery machine operator
vineyard machine operator

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a vineyard machinery operator. Some workers have a diploma in viticulture or a certificate in a related agriculture or horticulture field.

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.

Vineyard machinery operator is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Vineyard machinery operator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to vineyard machinery operator.

vineyard supervisor
vineyard manager
agronomic crop production team leader
crop production manager
mixed farmer

Long term prospects

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

viticulture adviser
footwear quality control laboratory technician
footwear quality technician
fire protection technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of vineyard machinery operator.

  • Environmental legislation in agriculture and forestry: Awareness on environmental legislation, policies, principles relevant for agriculture and forestry. Awareness of the impact on the environment of local agricultural procedures and practices. Means to adjust the production to new environmental regulations and policies.
  • Pest control in plants: Types and features of pests in plants and crops. Different kinds of pest control methods, activities using conventional or biological methods taking into account the type of plant or crop, environmental and climate conditions and health and safety regulations. Storage and handling of products.
  • Plant disease control: Types and features of diseases in plants and crops. Different kinds control methods, activities using conventional or biological methods taking into account the type of plant or crop, environmental and climate conditions and health and safety regulations. Storage and handling of products.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of vineyard machinery operator.

  • Operate agricultural machinery: Operate motorised agricultural equipment including tractors, balers, sprayers, ploughs, mowers, combines, earthmoving equipment, trucks, and irrigation equipment.
  • Harvest grapes: Harvest wine grapes.
  • Plant vine yards: Perform planting preparation activities, plant vines and install trellis.
  • Execute fertilisation: Carry out fertilisation tasks by hand or using appropriate equipment according to fertilisation instructions taking into account the environmental, health and safety regulations and procedures.
  • Perform hand pruning: Efficiently perform hand pruning by using specific pruning tools like shears, lopping shears, saw, a small pocket scale to weigh the pruned material, and twine.
  • Perform trellis repairs: Perform repairs on trellis in order to support grapes. If a grape vine should fall from the trellis and not break, it can be secured to the trellis with twine.
  • Maintain vineyard machinery: Maintain vineyard machinery and equipment, identifying problems and performing basic repairs.
  • Manage canopy: Manage the parts of the vine visible above ground to improve grape yields, quality, and vigour. Prevent grape diseases, uneven grape ripening, sunburn, and frost damage.
  • Execute disease and pest control activities: Execute disease and pest control activities using conventional or biological methods taking into account the climate, plant or crop type, health and safety and environmental regulations. Store and handle pesticides in accordance with recommendation and legislation.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

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

  • Organic farming: Principles, techniques and regulations of organic farming. Organic farming or ecological agriculture is an agricultural production method, which places a strong emphasis on environmental protection and ecological balance.
  • Agronomy: The study of combining agriculture production and protection and regeneration of natural environment. Includes the principles and methods of critical selection and adequate application methods for sustainability in agriculture.
  • Fertilisation principles: The study of plant, soil structure, climatic and environmental issues in agronomical production.
  • Health and safety regulations: Necessary health, safety, hygiene and environmental standards and legislation rules in the sector of particular activity.

Optional skills and competences

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

  • Maintain agricultural machinery: Maintain agricultural facilities and equipment in order to ensure that it is clean and in safe, working order. Perform routine maintenance on equipment and adjust or repair when necessary, using hand and power tools. Replace defective parts components or systems.
  • Manage nutrients: Collect and process samples of soil and plant tissue. Supervise application of lime and fertilisers.
  • Participate in vine maintenance: Participate in the maintenance of vines, trellising, pruning, weeding and watering.
  • Tend vines: Plant, thin, weed, sucker and tie vines.
  • Participate in vine preparation: Participates in vine preparation, harrowing, laying stakes, chains and pins, planting vines.
  • Develop grape growing techniques: Develop growing techniques for wine grapes to improve wine quality and returns. Work on trellis design, canopy and fruit management, plant physiology, growth regulators, vine capacity and crop load determinations.
  • Maintain irrigation systems: Install irrigation, plumbing and sprinkler systems. Inspect and assess these systems according to agreed time schedules. Identify defects and wear in irrigation systems and arrange repairs.

ISCO group and title

6112 – Tree and shrub crop growers

  1. Vineyard machinery operator – ESCO
  2. Grape Grower | Your Career
  3. Vineyard Workers – Labour Market Insights
Last updated on October 27, 2022

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