Viticulturist Kaiparuauru Kerepe

Viticulturists grow and harvest grapes from grapevines, and manage vineyards.

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Viticulturists may do some or all of the following:

  • grow grapes, prune and trellis grapevines
  • sell grapes to wineries
  • pest and disease monitoring
  • yield predicting, data collecting and reporting
  • grape maturity sampling
  • harvest grapes
  • supervise staff
  • operate machinery.

Physical Requirements

Viticulturists need to be reasonably fit and healthy.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for viticulturists includes:

  • vineyard work
  • horticulture, farm or conservation work
  • driving heavy vehicles.

Personal Qualities

Viticulturists need to be:

  • able to work well in a team and under pressure
  • motivated, practical and adaptable
  • good communicators.

Skills

Viticulturists need to have knowledge of:

  • grape varieties, growing and harvesting methods
  • vineyard pests and diseases, and biosecurity management
  • how to operate vineyard machinery
  • yield recording software
  • weather and climate conditions, and how they affect crops.

Conditions

Viticulturists:

  • usually work eight hours a day, but may work longer hours during winter harvesting and vine pruning
  • work outdoors in vineyards
  • work outdoors in all weather conditions, with machinery and chemicals that may be hazardous.

Viticulturists can earn around $43K-$53K per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Viticulturist are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Pay for viticulturists varies depending on skills, experience and the type of work they do.

  • Vineyard workers usually earn $43,000 to $48,000 a year.
  • Vineyard supervisors/leading hands usually earn $43,000 to $53,000.
  • Vineyard managers usually earn $63,000 to $120,000.
  • Viticulturists can earn between $96,000 and $128,000

Source: NZ Winegrowers, 2020.

Viticulturists may progress to set up their own vineyard or become winemakers, or move into management roles.

Viticulturists may specialise in:

  • vineyard work such as pruning grapevines
  • supervising or managing vineyard workers
  • technical work or operating machinery
  • pest and disease monitoring and control.

Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements to become a viticulturist as skills can be learned on the job. However, many employers prefer to hire viticulturists who have or are working towards a qualification. These include:

  • New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture – Fruit Production (Level 3 and 4)
  • New Zealand Apprenticeship in Fruit Production (Level 3 and 4)
  • Graduate Diploma in Viticulture
  • Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology

The Primary Industry Training Organisation (Primary ITO) oversees viticulture apprenticeships. 

Extra requirements for chemical spraying

If your job requires agrichemical spraying you need a certificate from approved providers such as Growsafe. 

Viticulturist