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Wine merchant Vintner, wine trader

Wine merchants find new wines and buy and market them.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £16,000 to £35,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 to 45 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements, but you'll need an excellent sense of taste and smell.

The ability to speak French, Spanish, Portuguese, German or Italian might also be useful.

You could start in the wine trade as a sales assistant, either for an off-licence chain or for a supermarket.

If you’re a graduate, you could start work with a large wine retailer as a management trainee.

You'll need business experience and extensive product knowledge to be an independent wine merchant. You'll also need a premises licence and a personal licence to sell alcohol.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • IT skills
  • selling and negotiating skills
  • knowledge of sales and marketing techniques

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • ordering and displaying stock
  • organising promotions, including wine tastings
  • offering advice on wines and serving customers
  • taking payment for goods
  • managing sales targets
  • keeping accounts and records
  • following and enforcing the legal requirements for the sale of alcohol
  • recruiting, training and organising staff

4. Salary

Starter: £16,000 to £18,000

Experienced: £22,000 to £28,000

Highly Experienced: £35,000 and over

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 40 to 45 hours a week, often including weekends and evenings.

You'll be mainly shop-based but may need to travel in the UK or abroad to wine cooperatives and vineyards.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could become an independent wine merchant. You’ll need funds and a well-researched business plan. 

You could also progress to become a Master of Wine (MW). This is the British wine trader’s highest qualification.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017