Domenico Winery + Osteria

how to become a winemaker

The Best Tips for Becoming a Winemaker

Making wine may seem like some distant dream, especially when we only have so much time in the day to do laundry. But, what if we told you there were ways to make your winemaking dreams come true sooner than you think? With these how to become a winemaker tips, you can start making your wine dreams a reality without having to take a hiatus to Italy.

Make your dreams come true – here are tips on becoming a winemaker

First things first – a vineyards isn’t required

One thing everyone gets wrong about winemaking is that you must have a vineyard to do it. Not necessarily true. In fact, there are numerous wines these days made with fruit from vineyards that the winemakers do not own!

Fortunately, there are many opportunities for you to get your hands on some grapes without making a major financial investment in a vineyard (something you may never have to do, actually. But, if its your dream, we totally understand!)

There are custom crushes or wineries offering custom crush services. In other words, they take on clients who want to use their facility to make wine, with winemaker supervision. This gives you an immersive educational experience that leaves you with your very own wine. All you need to do is supply the grapes, which the winery may be able to help you with as well. You can find custom crushes in most popular winemaking regions.

There is an easier way to make wine though. Bacchus Winemaking Club brings together the love of winemaking and community. It is a club where everything is organized for you – you just need to pick your grapes, the amount of wine you want to make, and make sure you don’t miss harvest! This takes a lot of stress out of the ‘grape scouting’ process and other little logistics. And, it helps you make friends in the process.

rolling vineyards in California

Don’t miss out on the education (that’s often free!)

Gaining wine knowledge doesn’t mean quitting your job and moving to France. Fortunately, you can begin your winemaking journey side by side with your real life. 

Fortunately, social media and platforms like YouTube provide tons of ways to learn winemaking basics, building your knowledge and vocabulary. If you love to read, there also plenty of books out there to jumpstart your knowledge (yes, the Winemaking for Dummies Book still exists!)

Also, don’t be shy to start conversations at your favorite wine bars, restaurants, and tasting rooms. There are sommeliers and other wine professionals ready to answer your questions, enhancing your brain with winemaking facts.

Have the time and are open to making a larger financial investment in your education? Fantastic. There are various courses out there to strengthen your winemaking knowledge. If you’re an absolute newbie, then perhaps you’d give yourself a good foundation with WSET courses, which provide a solid foundation on wine, the industry, and how wines are made.

For those feeling a little more serious, there are many established universities and other educational institutions offer more intensive enology degree or certification courses. For example, Cornell – highly regarded for its enology and viticulture research – offers winemaking courses open for applications.

pouring red wine at sunset

Wineries are always looking for extra hands

Winemakers have lots of jobs to do, especially around harvest time. This is your golden opportunity to get hands on and really learn what it’s like to work in a winery. And, to make wine.

Reaching out to winemakers (especially during harvest season) to see if they need any assistance is one of the best ways to build your winemaking knowledge. Many smaller wineries are in need of extra hands, as labor is expensive. As long as you are ready to get your hands dirty and break a sweat, you’ll be ok. And, it also doesn’t have to be for very long! Oftentimes, wineries will allow volunteers to pick grapes and help out just for a week or so during harvest. That’s 7 days of valuable experience!

Becoming a winemaker doesn’t initially require a huge investment

To become a winemaker, you don’t need to buy acres of land, every piece of equipment, and everything in between. Of course, you can dream of having your own facility one day. But, you don’t need one to get started!

Depending on how you begin making wine, you will usually need a few tools. Fortunately, there are wineries out there that do extend opportunities to utilize their equipment. Custom crush facilities are a perfect example. All you need to do is source your fruit, or work with the consulting winemaker to do so. Then, you can organize a plan of action for your wine.

Another more educational option is to join a winemaking club, like Bacchus. This kind of program provides the in-depth instruction you need as a beginner winemaker. It also lets you get hands-on as if you’ve already been working in a winery. Plus, you don’t need to find your own grapes. With a program like Bacchus, grape varietals are already sourced and priced for you.

Ready to get your hands dirty and drink your own wine?

With these tips, you can start your winemaking dreams early. The sooner you start, the quicker you will be sipping on your own supply of wine. Isn’t that the best gift of them all?

If you’re curious to learn more about becoming a winemaker, don’t hesitate to explore Bacchus Winemaking Club and send all your winemaking questions our way!