An assistant winemaker is the person who assists the head winemaker at a winery. The position of assistant winemaker is something of an apprenticeship on the way to a position as a head winemaker, but there are a great many responsibilities that come with the position and assistant winemakers are generally well compensated.
The head winemaker is generally responsible for making the critical decisions at the winery, such as when to begin harvesting. The assistant winemaker is generally responsible for overseeing the daily operations so those decisions are executed properly. Depending on the winery, the assistant winemaker may have many other additional duties, including helping the head winemaker to make decisions on crafting the end product, the bottle of wine.
Despite the assistant in the job title, assistant winemakers actually have a great deal of responsibility in what are, in many cases, multi-million dollar companies. This responsibility is reflected in their pay. The average salary for an assistant winemaker is $52,662, which is based on 52 different assistant wine maker salaries, which range from $31,000 to as much as $85,600, according to the Jobs-Salary website.
Most assistant winemakers have at least a bachelor's degree, usually in the study of wine or more generally, in the study of food. The study of wine and wine making is called oenology, while the study of growing vines and of harvesting grapes is referred to as viticulture. The two are often combined at educational institutions. Some assistant winemakers will also have a master's degree.
Though the job of assistant winemaker is a lucrative one, the career aspirations of most assistant winemakers is a position as a head winemaker. With this in mind, then, many positions as assistant winemaker can be seen as learning opportunities, or apprenticeships, where winemakers with little practical experience can learn the day-to-day struggles of turning a field of grapes in to a bottle of wine.
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