Viticulturalist
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Nature or RecreationAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5

Viticulturalists or Grape growers plan, supervise and coordinate the growing of selected grape varieties for the production of wine. Viticulturalists plan, organise and manage the growing of grape Future Growth Static varieties for the production of wine, as well as for eating. They prepare soil, plant and prune vines, coordinate irrigation and pest control, maintain the quality of fruit, and monitor the health and growth of vines. They may also train and supervise vineyard workers, liaise with winemakers regarding their growing techniques and the price of their grapes, and organise the picking and transport of grapes to wineries.

ANZSCO description: Plans, organises, controls, coordinates and performs farming operations to grow table or wine grapes. Inspecting vines

Specialisations:
Scientific knowledge is increasingly important in viticulture and some viticulturalists specialise in the research and development of grape varieties.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A Viticulturalist needs:

  • a passion for wine
  • a good knowledge of biology and horticulture
  • to enjoy working outdoors free from, or able to manage, plant allergies and hay fever.
  • physical fitness
  • practical skills
  • good organisational skills
  • an eye for detail
  • able to analyse and solve problems
  • able to make accurate observations
  • good communication and interpersonal skills

Duties and Tasks

Viticulturalists may perform the following tasks:

  • talk to winemakers
  • conduct various laboratory tests to monitor the progressive growth of grapes, to make sure of their quality and calculate the correct time for harvest
  • organise the crushing and pressing of grapes, the settling of juice and the fermentation of grape material
  • supervise, manage and train winery workers involved in the production and harvesting of grapes
  • manage the propagation and cultivation of the vineyard including soil management, irrigation, disease and weed control
  • direct and oversee general growing activities such as fertilising and pest and weed control
  • supervise the maintenance of the vineyard during the off-season
  • give guided tours, conduct tastings and advise visitors about various aspects of wine and grapes
  • keep records of techniques used and harvest outcomes for each season.

Working Conditions

Viticulturalists work indoors in laboratories, offices and grape processing facilities. They also spend a lot of time outdoors in vineyards. Their work often involves physical labour, such as heavy lifting. They may work in glasshouses and nurseries. They may also have to travel locally, interstate or internationally to view new grape varieties and winemaking/growing technologies, as well as attend conferences.

Tools and technologies

Viticulturalists use a range of pruning and trimming tools, and other hand tools. They also use larger farming machinery such as tractors, mowers, sprayers and mechanical pruners, as well as frost control equipment such as wind machines and frost pots. They need to be familiar with irrigation systems, and may also use measuring equipment to test the sugar content of grapes, and tensiometers to measure the moisture content of soil. They are sometimes required to wear safety equipment, such as protective footwear and eyewear. They may also use computers and other office equipment to carry out administrative duties.

Education and training/entrance requirements

Qualifications in wine industry operations, viticulture, agribusiness, agricultural science or a related field will increase your employability in this field.

You can also complete a traineeship. The wine grape grower traineeship takes 36 months to complete.

You can also complete a degree majoring in agribusiness, agricultural science, biological science or a related field.


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