What a winemaker does in the winery?

It is the professional who is responsible for analyzing the cultivation techniques of the corresponding vineyard, the process of making and aging the wine and its correct storage. In addition, as indicated by Law 50 of 1998, it can also carry out actions related to sanitary measures and techniques related to all the processes mentioned above.

In 2002, the winery’s technical responsibility for winemaking was added to these tasks. Likewise, the winemaker can also be in charge of the research and study of the most innovative trends to improve the wine creation process.

History of the profession

We review the functions of an oenologist and the history of this profession. We analyse the most significant differences between his work and that of the sommelier.

When stating what the functions of a winemaker are, we must first analyze the origin of this profession, as well as other factors of vital importance so that it is easier for you to understand why his work is essential in any winery.

What is a winemaker?

It was born in ancient Greece and developed almost amateurishly for several centuries. It could be confirmed that Pasteur was the first modern winemaker to analyze the effect of oxygen particles on fermentation. Their studies facilitated the correct conservation of the wine. Already in the middle of the 20th century it was legally recognized as a profession, today being a university degree.

What knowledge should a winemaker have?

If you think that being a winemaker is exclusively based on tasting wine, you’re wrong! A good professional should treasure notions of physics, mathematics, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. They must also master microbiology, physiology, production-related technology, processes connected to the wine industry, genetics, marketing, statistics, sensory and instrumental analysis.

As you can see, the training of this type of professionals must be as complete as it is exact to achieve the best results.

What functions do winemakers perform in the winery?

Among the most outstanding functions of a winemaker we could highlight the following:

  • Check that the production of the must and its subsequent fermentation are adequate by carrying out various analyzes of the samples obtained.
  • Coordinate when the different tasks of the winery must be carried out, such as transfer, clarification, conservation and stabilization.
  • Check that the wine making and aging process is correct.
  • Analyze how production must be to adapt to the needs of the winery.
  • Adopt decisions related to the purchase of machinery, tools and technology and everything necessary for the wine to have the highest possible quality.
  • Study how it is possible to improve the sanitary and technological conditions of the winery to ensure that the wine is a true reflection of the winery’s philosophy. Promote sustainable viticulture with the environment.
  • Ensure that the conditions of the corresponding Wine of Appelation are fulfilled as regards the conditions of the winery, the production and labeling of the wine and the type of grape used.
  • Design with the property of the winery the planting of new vineyards or reduce their extensión
  • Design with the property and the commercial and marketing team the planning of the wines from the vineyard.
  • Program the quantity of raw material required to improve the quality levels of the wine.
  • Direct all laboratory activities regarding organoleptic, chemical, physical and microbiological analyzes.
  • Collaborate with the commercial and marketing departments to better the marketing of wines. Attend trade fairs, receive customers at the winery, make tasting notes, study the competition, …
  • To form part of the different Committees of the Company, among them the Management Committee, the Coordination and Production Planning Committee, the Food Safety Committee and the Innovation Committee.

In summary, the winemaker is responsible for controlling the entire process that leads the must to become a specific type of wine. Its connection with the different departments of the winery is decisive for the process to be natural and adapted to the demands of each winery.

What are the differences between a winemaker and a sommelier?

Sometimes the work of these professionals is confused. To make it easier for you we could agree that the role of the winemaker ends when the wine is bottled and then is the sommelier that begins precisely at that moment.

If the winemaker is an advisor who analyzes the process of creating a wine, the sommelier is in charge of tasting the wine, designing the wine list of a restaurant and advising the client on the most appropriate option to pair it with their meal.

In addition, the sommelier does not have to dedicate himself exclusively to wine, since it can also be dedicated to high-grade liquors or beer, among other options.

We hope we have clarified what are the functions of winemakers and why their work is absolutely essential for a winery to achieve all its objectives. A requirement that undoubtedly conditions that this profession is to be studied in a specialized center with all the guarantees.

Winemakers must have the capacity to face any activity with the required solvency, as well as the best possible aptitude in order to get the best wines within the different categories or styles that they produce.

Are you 21 or older? Please confirm that you are of legal drinking age in the country where this site is accessed.