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.

Subject Recommendations

A minimum of three years of secondary education is recommended. Useful subjects include agricultural and horticultural science, business studies, maths, biology and chemistry.

For Year 11 to 13 learners, the Gateway programme is a good way to gain relevant experience and skills.

This programme may help you gain an apprenticeship, but does not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

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