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Smells like a rewarding career

The wine industry in India offers an assortment of opportunities.

Pallavi Srivastava        Print Edition: April 20, 2008

The wine industry in india is growing at a scorching pace and is attracting not just tabletop grape growing farmers and entrepreneurs, who are leaving their jobs to start vineyards, but also foreign players who are setting up wineries in India.

  Fact Box

Who’s hiring: Vineyards like Vintage Wines and Sula Vineyards.

Who’re they hiring: Winemakers with a degree in oenology (winemaking) or viticulture (cultivation of grapes). For vineyard managers, they prefer people with BSc/MSc in Agriculture.
 
At what levels: Senior. For oenologists, 7-8 years of experience, while for vineyard managers, experience upwards of 5 years is required.

At what salaries: For vineyard managers, the salaries are up to Rs 3 lakh per annum. Oenologists are paid upwards of Rs 12,000 per day (They typically work for 60-90 days during the 5-6 wine seasons per year).

What are the numbers like: Every vineyard needs at least two to four vineyard managers. While the requirement is for 100-odd vineyard managers, the demand is set to rise with the growth of the industry. Each vineyard needs at least one winemaker; the requirement at present is in the vicinity of a hundred.

Vintage Winesí Patil: Talent is a concern
Yatin Patil
The industry has posted an annual growth rate of 30 per cent for three consecutive years. As the sector has grown, so has its need for trained and qualified people. Yatin Patil, MD, Vintage Wines, says: “Talent is a huge concern in our small industry as there are more vineyards opening but hardly any institute to teach the skills, with the result that most wineries prefer to get people from abroad.” Agrees Rajesh Kumar, Knowledge Management and Business Development Team, TMI Group (a headhunting firm), who says that there is a growing demand for talent from the wineries as well as hospitality chains.

There is a surge in demand for oenologists, who are responsible for the complete task of winemaking. They oversee all the tasks required year-round to plant and maintain healthy vines. Also in demand are vineyard managers who supervise grape plantation and maturation right from planting, irrigation, pruning, pest control and harvesting. The vineyard manager also has administrative duties such as preparing budgets and hiring and training workers. Wine consultants and wine tasters are sought after during the wine season.

According to industry estimates, the Indian wine market is at 1.2 million cases (a case has 12 bottles of 750 ml each), and imported wines account for another 200,000 cases. UK-based International Wines and Spirits Records (IWSR) says that wine consumption is poised to grow three-fold by 2011 in India. The Nashik region, which has the maximum number of vineyards in India, is now home to Gargi Agriculture Research and Training Institute, said to be Asia’s first wine technology college. The region is on its way to becoming a talent hub with Vasantdada Sugar Institute in Pune also focussing on courses in winemaking.

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