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Wine makers, or oenologists, are responsible for the whole wine making process, from crushing the grapes, fermentation of the must, refining and stabilising the wine to bottling and marketing.

Wine makers direct and coordinate all the activities of wine production in wineries. Wine makers contract with growers to provide grapes for processing or, if the winery is attached to a vineyard, they work closely with viticulturists who cultivate the grapes, to determine whether the grapes are ready for processing into wine.

After harvesting and delivery at the winery, the grapes are weighed and certain quality control analyses such as the sugar content and acid level are performed. The grapes are then crushed, processed and fermented into wine. Wine makers regularly monitor the development of the wines and perform further treatments such as maturation and clarification, to ensure that the wine develops properly and will not become spoiled. During the winemaking process wine makers use a variety of cellar machinery and equipment to perform the necessary tasks. They also use laboratory equipment such as hydrometers and pipettes to perform quality control analyses. They are also responsible for finishing the wine, which includes cooling, filtering and bottling.

Wine makers blend wines according to formulas, or their knowledge and experience in wine making. Although modern winemaking is based on scientifically founded technological processes, the sensory analysis or tasting of wine remains an essential tool in the selection of wines for specific blends.

Only regular tasting of a wide variety of wines develops this ability and provides the necessary experience to use such wines in the creation of blends, which will be acceptable to the consumer. This ability can be regarded as an art. Thus, wine making is both a science and an art.

Wine makers also introduce wines to potential consumers by regularly presenting wine tasting events locally and abroad. Consumers often like to meet with the wine-maker in person. The wine-maker often has to work irregular hours.

Satisfying Aspects
- working with wine
- meeting new people all the time
- tasting the results of your labour
- travel opportunities
- developing new and better wines

Demanding aspects
- when a new formula does not work or a batch of wine spoils
- the patience required for some wines to age
- working with uncooperative staff

A wine-maker should:
- have an excellent sense of smell and taste;
- have a knowledge of Chemistry and Microbiology;
- be willing to work long hours;
- able to analyze and solve problems;
- able to make accurate observations;
- good communication and interpersonal skills.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate for agricultural college    course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Degree: BSc Agriculture: Viticulture and Oenology - US - the recommended qualification for prospective viticulturists. All students are required to work on wine farms for at least one season.

Agricultural Colleges: Diploma in Viticulture

The Agricultural College at Elsenburg in Stellenbosch offers a diploma course in Viticulture and Oenology. All training is done in a well-equipped, modern wine-cellar at the college.

- Estate wineries
- Co-operative wineries
- Wholesale wineries
- Department of Agriculture
- Self-employment, as an independent wine making consultant or start own winery

Wines of South Africa
P O Box 987
Stellenbosch, 7599
Tel: (021) 883-3860
Fax: (021) 883-3861

Department of Viticulture and Oenology
University of Stellenbosch
Private Bag X1
Matieland, 7602