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Winemaking is emerging as a career option

A wine tasting class in progress at Tulleeho in Mumbai.

inemaking is fast emerging as a possible career option for those who are interested in the subject. The number of people enrolling in wine graduation and management schools is increasing as winemaking comes to be considered a serious business. To give an example, the Tulleeho Academy of Wine, which has its centres in four cities, is offering over certified courses in winemaking to wound 250 students at present.

"We organise a day's course and a five-day course subject to different levels of training. Initially people were sceptical about these courses but not so now," said Ajit Balgi, manager and trainer, western region at Tulleeho.

One can get into winemaking with a degree in food sciences, horticulture, agriculture, chemistry and biotech or microbiology. Wine management programmes include learning about grape varieties and understanding the pressing and barrelling process.

Winemaking offers many career options. An oenologist is a winemaker who tests grapes, ferments the juice, oversees cellaring and manages storage and maturation of the wine.

A vineyard manager selects different crop varieties, plants grape vines and prunes crops each season. A cellar manager stores the wine till it reaches full maturation and oversees sales.

A wine researcher conducts field research studies about soil and vine preservation opportunities. An expert winemaker/enologist makes the wine, provided the person has a strong background in physics and chemistry.

Experts say that a winemaker with a leading company can earn anywhere between Rs 15,000 a month to Rs 60,000 per month, depending on the role they play. "My advice to youngsters who wish to take up winemaking as a career is that it involves a lot of on-the-job and practical learning, apart from some technical winemaking knowledge. Knowledge of viticulture — the science of study of vines and production of grapes — is helpful," said Ajoy R. Shaw, chief winemaker at the Sula Vineyards in Nasik.

Some recognised institutes to pursue a career in this industry are Grape Processing and Research Institute, Palus, Sangli and Gargi Agriculture Research and Training Institute (GARTI), Nashik.

Players say that wine consumption in India has grown about 30% a year over the last 10 years. "Winemaking is an art like cooking. There are almost 17 wineries in India. The growth in this sector is enormous," said M.K. Rustogi, joint managing director with Nirvana Biosys, a winemaking company.

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