There’s no one path to working in wine, and you don’t need to have studied oenology or to have grown up on a vineyard to get in on the action. While winemakers are often front and center of the industry, there are hundreds of careers in the wine world—and there’s always room for curious, passionate people (wink, wink, we’re hiring!). To get you inspired, we asked VIVANT staff members to share their stories of how they got started in the wine trade, plus their advice for anyone looking to follow suit. Read on.
“If you want to work in the wine industry, my advice would be to pursue opportunities that will broaden your horizons and expose you to as much of the wine world as possible. I got a wine retail job at a large chain in the UK because I knew they offered their employees WSET training. Working there made me a wiser and more open-minded wine consumer. For a long time, I had no clear idea of what job I was aiming for—I was just driven by a desire to keep learning, and trusted the universe would guide my way. Now I live in Singapore and host live VIVANT Experiences on the world’s best organic and biodynamic wines. The job was never part of my five-year plan, it was the result of a series of intuitive decisions. —Matt Ayre, VIVANT Wine Advisor
“I fell in love with wine when I tasted my first Pinot Noir from Burgundy at age 12. My father loved wine and would allow me to take sips from his glass at the dinner table. I distinctly remember how explosive the wine’s flavors and aromas were—that’s what got me curious about wine. But I didn’t make a career out of it until much later in life. I studied business and worked in electronics for large multinational corporations around the world. When I came back to France, I wanted to work with products I was truly interested in. So I enrolled in my first WSET level 2 wine course in Bordeaux. I quickly became obsessed and carried on with my education, completing my level 3, my diploma, and becoming a certified educator. One day, I’d like to become a Master of Wine. My job at VIVANT has allowed me to meet winemakers and share my passion with others. As an educator, it’s so rewarding to guide people and see their passion come to life!”—Vanessa Guébels, Director of Education and Sourcing
“When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time in my grandmother’s garden. It sparked a lifelong passion for being in and tending to nature. Today, I live on a farm where I practice regenerative agriculture, a subject I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time learning about. It’s been a driving force in my life, and it motivated me to join VIVANT as a DevOps engineer. I strongly believe that VIVANT is building a more sustainable future for wine, and I’m very proud to be part of it.”—Demijan Lukic-Hanomihl, DevOps Manager
“This might be weird to say considering I’m French, but I became passionate about wine while traveling in Argentina. Most Argentine wines are very fruity and accessible, and they’re meant to be shared with friends over asado or barbecue. While I was there, I started my wine education by taking an evening course for beginners. Back in Paris, I completed my WSET level 3, a certification that required six months of studying. A few months after, I started the WSET diploma, which took me 2 years—and a lot of social sacrifices—to obtain. When I heard about VIVANT, I was excited to be part of the project because I love meeting producers and am very interested in biodynamic winemaking. My advice to people who want to work in the wine industry is to taste and share as many bottles as possible!”—Oriane Derville, Global Wine Partner Manager
“After a few years in the luxury hotel industry, I decided to leave my hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico and move to Europe, where I enrolled in a Masters program in oenology, wine tourism, and innovation. From there, I accepted a role as a winemaker assistant at a vineyard in Spain’s Ribeira Sacra region. Winemaking there is best described as heroic—the slopes are a 35% gradient, and the grapes are cultivated at more than 500 meters above sea level. Working in such harsh but breathtaking conditions ignited my passion for wine. Now I work in wine media at VIVANT. While it’s not a traditional wine job, I believe that what we’re building will have a profound and lasting change on the world of wine. My advice to people who want to work in the wine industry is to immerse yourself the subject, whether that means enrolling in a WSET course, studying up online, or signing up for an Experience on VIVANT. The most important thing is to widen your palate by tasting a wide variety of sustainably made wines.”—Aline Urban, Production Project Manager
“A few years ago, while working as an editor at Travel + Leisure magazine, I edited a story about Salta, Argentina. I was blown away by the writer’s description of the region’s otherworldly landscapes, its aromatic Torrontés wine, and its high-altitude vineyards. Up until that point, I had never been particularly passionate about wine, but from then on I was hooked. I started reading about the different regions and varietals, asking more questions at the wine store, and traveling in the name of broadening my knowledge. Ultimately, it led me to join VIVANT, where I write and assign stories for our blog, Curious. While I’m fairly new to the wine world, I’ve learned that wine, like a good story, has multiple entry points. If you’re interested in the cultural or historical aspect of wine, start there. If you’re a travel lover, consider booking a trip to a wine region. The wine education journey isn’t one size fits all, so follow your curiosities!”—Siobhan Reid, Editorial Content Manager