Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Winemakers are paid less than HR managers
Who's the most important employee at a winery? You might think it's the winemaker or vineyard manager. But they're not paid like it.
Wine Business Monthly released its annual salary survey in its October issue, and I was struck by how many people are paid more than the winemaker.
Here's a chart of average salaries from U.S. wineries of all sizes:
The bigger the winery, the more the various administrators are paid; that's logical because there's more for an HR director to do at a million-case winery. But surprisingly, winemakers are not paid more at the biggest wineries (over 500,000 cases); in fact, they are the lowest paid of all winemakers.
The highest-paid winemakers work at mid-size wineries, from 50,000 to 100,000 cases. But there's very little dropoff in average salary to smallish wineries (defined as under 50,000 cases by Wine Business Monthly).
There is a big dropoff at very small wineries, under 5000 cases. The average salary at those for (Junior) Winemaker is $74,096, about what Assistant Winemakers make at larger wineries. Plus, most small wineries don't have a Winemaking Director or a Senior Winemaker.
So instead of trying to taste terroir or the winemaker's style, perhaps we should be sniffing for characteristic notes of the benefits program.
Posted by W. Blake Gray at 6:00 AM