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Vintage in Central Otago - Working in the Wine Industry

I arrived in New Zealand ready to travel but knowing I would need to find a job within a couple months so I decided to wait and see what opportunities presented themselves during my journey.  As I visited every wine region I could, I kept an eye out for jobs in the wine industry, preferably in a tasting room. Initially I didnít want to work as a cellar hand after an unfortunately miserable experience in Australia, but kept a few contacts from my sister in law (who sells wine in the US) just in case I changed my mind. I was also WWOOFing and purposefully chose hosts that were in wine regions or involved in winemaking, giving me great insight on the local wine industry and the growing areas. After traveling through the North Island, I arrived in Marlborough at the end of February, out of money and knowing that it was very unlikely that I would find a job in a tasting room as I hoped, so I started asking around at the wineries in the area to see if anyone was still looking for vintage help; picking grapes was a last resort.  It seemed that I was a few weeks too late for Marlborough since vintage had already begun, so I emailed all the wineries with job vacancies listed online as well as the contacts from my sister in law. Miraculously within an hour, I had a phone call from a contract winery in Cental Otago who wanted to hire me to start in two weeks time. I was thrilled! Vintage in Central Otago was an awesome experience, I learned so much and was worked with some amazing people. I later realized that I was just at the right place at the right time because the winery had received many CVís previously but only later realized that they needed more help just as I sent them my CV. The fact that I was in the country, had experience in the wine industry and needed a job immediately worked to my advantage. This obviously emphasizes the value of good contacts when traveling and the need to be flexible. Those looking for a job in the industry may have more luck in Hawks Bay since it seemed that wineries were still looking for vintage help in mid February (I wanted to continue traveling at the time though).  It is also important to note that most wineries are quite small and only hire on an extra person or two during vintage except the larger contract wineries or bulk facilities (mostly in Marlborough); this also means that tasting room jobs are pretty much permanent positions held by family members or friends. My advice those looking for vintage work is try to find a contact to get your foot in the door at a winery, email as many wineries as possible and ask for suggestions about where else to apply, look at bigger facilities who hire more people and if nothing else, just go and hope for the best. If nothing else you will be able to find a job picking grapes easily by applying at agencies in whichever location you choose if you are there at the right time. I was lucky but I also came as a traveler with no set plans rather than a winemaker looking for a specific position and location, which was to my advantage in the end.  Experiencing the wine industry in New Zealand has been amazing, I couldnít be more thankful for an incredible opportunity to increase my knowledge of wine while allowing me to be part of the kiwi culture. Cheers!




Submitted by: Amanda Haehl
Date submitted: 8/05/2011 8:46:18 p.m.


Hop work in Motueka Tue May 16

Working as an apple packer in Motueka Mon May 9

Working for free accommodation in Wellington Thu Mar 24

From working holiday visa to a resident Thu Mar 24

From the big city to the field of kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

Working with Kiwi fruit Thu Mar 24

The Christmas rush Mon Feb 29

Packing kiwifruit in Motueka Mon Feb 29

Asparagus picking Mon Feb 29

put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves and get out there Tue May 27

MY JOURNEY FROM $350/HR TO MIN WAGE: LOVING IT IN NEW ZEALAND Tue May 27

The Gorilla Hut Sun May 26

Working in sales in NZ Mon May 13

Life as an apple picker Mon May 13

Marahau Sun May 5

hanging nets at isabel vinyard Mon Mar 25

Farm stay Tue Feb 5

Berry-Picking and Ice-Cream Making Tue Dec 18

Vineyard Work in Blenheim Sun Nov 25

Working As A "Milkman" Sat Aug 4

Being an au-pair Thu Aug 2

Grape harvesting in Central Otago Thu Aug 2

Whenever Wed Jun 6

Picking up the oil in Tauranga Mon May 21

Onion grading Sat May 12

Omarama, Place of Light Tue Apr 3

Napier or the job war Sun Apr 1

Some helpful tips Wed Feb 29

Fruit picking in Central Otago Mon Feb 27

Some useful tips Thu Feb 16

Fruit picking in Motueka Wed Jan 18

Where Do We Go From Here Tue Dec 20

Picked it, Packed it, Buggered Off! Tue Dec 20

Seasonal jobs COULD change your very life as you know it Tue Dec 20

I work to live, I donít live to work Mon Dec 19

I only had $100 to my name Sun Nov 20

Odd Jobs In Central Otago Sun Nov 20

Peach thinning working experience Sun Nov 20

The young vines were frosted over Sun Nov 20

The work found me Sun Nov 20

Working for Watties Factory Mon Oct 24

Working New Zealand from a different perspective Mon Oct 24

I had always been dreaming about coming to New Zealand Mon Oct 24

My first job in vineyards was stripping Mon Oct 24

My happiness was indescribable Tue Oct 18

Working in a Packhouse in Auckland Tue Oct 18

Working on a vineyard in Blenheim Tue Oct 18

Cycling in New Zealand not friendly Tue Oct 18

Fruit Picking Tips for New Zealand Mon Aug 22

Whale and Dolphin Watching Sat Aug 13

Cherry Picking in Central Otago Sat Aug 13

16 Argentinian people living there, it was awesome! Tue Jul 26

No one got payslips, really crazy Sat Jul 23

picked apples at first Sat Jul 23

In 18 months I have worked with kiwi fruits, apples, two epic ski seasons and a travelling carnival Sat Jul 23

cash-in-hand odd jobs Sat Jul 23

A rugby team weíve beaten twice at the Rugby World Cup? Letís go teasing them! Sat Jul 23

Talking to strangers about charity Sat Jul 23

Fresh out of college Sat Jul 23

Working trees for $350 per week Sat Jul 23

German Windsurf Instructor in New Zealand Sun Jul 17

Vineyard work in South Island New Zealand Sun Jul 17

We had idea, get visa, sell everything and just go to New Zealand Sun Jul 17

6 MONTHS AS A NANNY IN WAIMAI Sun Jul 17

Wilding Pines Sun Jul 17

boss was very nice and friendly Sun May 8

Vintage in Central Otago - Working in the Wine Industry Sun May 8

Mr Apple packhouse experience Mon May 2

North Island Notes Wed Apr 20

Fruitpicking in Napier Wed Apr 20

blueberry harvest season Thu Apr 7

bbq on the beach and if you lucky see some Dolphis too Thu Apr 7

Mate! You are on fire!! Sun Mar 20

The real vineyard work lowdown Fri Mar 11

I had pretty much run out of cash Wed Mar 9

The Land of New Zealand Mon Feb 28

Work in backpackers in exchange for accommodation Sat Feb 26

heard cattle on motorbikes Fri Feb 18

Traditional Maori hangi Thu Feb 17

Fortune Fruit and spitting cherry pits competitions Tue Feb 15

When I got to Whangamata... Sat Feb 12

I could romanticize itÖ Tue Dec 7

I thought it sounded interesting Tue Dec 7

My New Zealand adventure :) Wed Nov 3

Well I am from Mexico... Mon Oct 25

~New Zealand has no bandits and the relaxed lifestyle is second to none~ Fri May 14

New Zealand's got cheap banks!! Mon Apr 26

Tips from Latvia...yes not Russia ;) Tue Mar 16

First Job Thinning Apples... Mon Mar 1

Damn recession! Wed Feb 10

Loving New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

From aircrafts to vineyard work in New Zealand.. Mon Feb 8

A Czech in New Zealand.. Fri Feb 5

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