High-paying hospitality jobs for wine lovers
Do you love wine but hate bartender salaries? Then here’s some good news: It is possible to apply your love of wine at work and still earn a good living. Of course, the highest paying jobs require extensive knowledge of wine and of food in general and likely a few years of education, certification, and training. And you may need to work at a wine-related job for several years before you reach the top-tier salary. But, if you have a passion for the grape and determination to stick with it through the learning curve, here are three of the highest-paying career paths for wine lovers in hospitality:
A sommelier is a wine expert who guides a restaurant’s wine purchasing decisions. A sommelier must choose wines that are appropriate for the restaurant’s food offerings and must decide which sources to purchase them from while adhering to the wine budget. A sommelier meets with suppliers and distributors to learn about the wines that are for sale and to evaluate them. And a sommelier trains other members of the restaurant staff and teaches them about the wine inventory; this empowers other staff members to answer guests’ questions about the wines that are offered and to make recommendations. Most sommeliers, particularly the ones in the highest-paying positions, obtain professional certifications, which can take up to a few years to complete depending on the course of study. Most sommeliers earn between $38,000 and $55,000 a year, and the top 10 percent of sommeliers earn $66,000 a year or more.
2.) Food and beverage director
A food and beverage director manages a kitchen, restaurant, bar, and any other food-related departments of a hospitality venue. Responsibilities include setting and following budgets, supervising staff, meeting with suppliers, and staying abreast of culinary trends. A food and beverage director doesn’t focus exclusively on wine, but for a business that sells alcoholic beverages, selecting and sourcing wine can be a major part of this job. Food and beverage directors earn between $51,000 and $81,000 a year, and the top 10 percent earn $97,000 a year or more.
3.) Executive chef
To be an executive chef, you obviously need to be enthusiastic about food. But wine lovers can often be very happy in this role because the two obviously go hand in hand. Executive chefs train other members of their kitchen staff in cooking with wine and pairings. And as executive chef, you are one of the top-decision makers for your restaurant in purchasing and using wine. In many restaurants, the executive chef works alongside the sommelier to develop the wine list. Executive chefs earn between $47,000 and $70,000 a year, with the top 10 percent earning upwards of $84,000 a year.
Working at a lower-paying job involving wine is a good way to gain experience and develop your skills or to support yourself while you work toward sommelier certification. Some of these options include sommelier’s assistant, tasting room manager or tasting room attendant, and bar manager.
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