Wine Merchant

Job Description:

Wine merchants find new wines and buy and market them.

Job Category:
Food & Drink

What you will do:

In your day-to-day duties you could:

  • look for potential new customers, cold call businesses like hotels and restaurants to create sales leads
  • order and display stock
  • organise promotions, including wine tastings
  • visit clients to offer advice on wines
  • in retail or wholesale venues, serve customers and take payment for goods
  • manage sales targets
  • write order quotes and keep accounts and records
  • try new wines and select new products to sell
  • follow and enforce the legal requirements for the sale of alcohol
  • recruit, train and organise staff (leadership skills)


You’ll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptable)
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to use your initiative (drive)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • a graduate training scheme
  • a professional course from a private training provider

You could start in the wine trade as a sales assistant for an off-licence chain, a wine wholesalers or a supermarket.

Experience and qualifications gained through the hospitality sector may be useful in this role.

Business, sales and marketing experience may also be useful.

Direct Application
You can apply directly to get into this job. You’ll usually need retail experience and extensive product knowledge to be an independent wine merchant.

Other Routes
You could start work with a large wine retailer as a graduate management trainee, if you have a degree. Employers will accept most subjects.

In the UK, you could also take training through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust to build up your knowledge of the industry.

Career tips
The ability to speak French, Spanish, Portuguese, German or Italian might be useful for working with overseas wine exporters.

Restrictions and Requirements
You’ll need to get a licence to sell alcohol
To work as a manager, buyer or importer, you’ll usually need a driving licence.For retail sales you must be at least 18 years old.

Working Hours and Environment:

You could work at a store or at a client’s business.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could become an independent wine merchant. You’ll need funds and a well-researched business plan.

You could also progress to become a Master of Wine (MW).  The MW qualification is generally regarded in the wine industry as one of the highest standards of professional knowledge