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Vineyard worker

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Summary of occupation

Winery workers assist in the production and/or packaging of wines. They may be involved in the planting and maintenance of vineyards, which involves preparing the soil, erecting trellis and irrigation equipment and planting. Winery workers may also be expected to prune and train growing vines, and control pests and diseases with regular spraying.
During vintage, or harvest, these workers may also assist with handpicking grapes, or they may operate harvesting machines, depending on the winemaker's requirements.
Winery workers may also operate equipment to crush and ferment grapes and assist in bottling and labelling the wine.

ANZSCO description: Performs routine tasks on a vineyard such as  cultivating and fertilising soil, planting, training and pruning  vines, and picking grapes.
Alternative names: Cellarhand, Vineyard Hand, Winery Worker
Specialisations:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A winery worker needs:

  • to be physically fit and able to undertake manual labour
  • to enjoy practical activities
  • the ability to work quickly and reliably both as part of a team and independently
  • some mathematical skills
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • to be safety aware
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Working conditions

Winery workers can expect to work in most weather conditions as grape vines need to be maintained throughout the year. Harvest begins in mid-late Summer in Western Australia's most northern grape growing regions around the Swan Valley and Perth Hills, which can be an extremely hot part of the year. Grape growing regions further south can expect to harvest as late as April, so cooler conditions can be expected. Post harvest, workers are expected to carry out pruning in sometimes cold and very wet conditions. Winery workers carry out tasks that can be repetitive and sometimes physically demanding. These workers usually work a normal eight hour day, however at vintage they may be expected to work throughout the night and on weekends to ensure grapes are in perfect condition for the winemaker.

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Salary details

On average, vineyard workers, classified under crop farm workers, can expect to earn between $657 and $799 per week ($34 159 and $41 599 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a vineyard worker develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Winery workers will use secateurs for pruning vines and grape picking and budding knives for reducing the number of buds on a vine and for grafting. If pruning older vines, winery workers may need to use mechanised secateurs, loppers and hand saws. During vintage these workers may need to operate grape harvesting machines. During the winemaking process winery workers may operate crushers and wine presses and de-stemmers, bottling equipment, corking or capping and labelling machines, and a range of tank cleaning equipment.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

It is possible to work as a vineyard worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in wine industry operations.

The Certificate II and III in Wine Industry Operations are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a traineeship. The vineyard assistant traineeship takes 12 months to complete and is available as a school-based traineeship.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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