Output of British wines is predicted to double by 2020. Pixabay

UK wine facts

  • British wine producers are set to plant more than 1.5 million new vines in 2018.
  • Output of British wines is predicted to double by 2020.

Collette O'Leary, from Hove, Sussex, swapped public relations for a degree in viticuture (vine cultivation) and oenology, the science and study of wine and winemaking. She is now wine development manager at Bluebell Vineyard in East Sussex.

O'Leary says: ‘While travelling in 2006, I worked in a wine-tasting room in New Zealand. It developed my love of wine, so when I was looking for a new career and discovered you could do a degree in winemaking in the UK, I leapt at it.

"Winemaking combines art, science, theory and practice," says O'Leary. 

"I'm assistant winemaker, help oversee quality, and I'm involved in tours and tastings and industry events. No two days are the same. Demand for workers in the wine production industry is growing fast."

Britain planting vines to produce more wine next year. Pexels

She advises others thinking of getting into a winemaking career: "You need not be a scientist or a farmer for this. Temping jobs grape picking will help you discover if winemaking is for you."

Collette attended the BSc viticulture and oenology course at Plumpton College, Sussex, which delivers the only European undergraduate degree in wine production taught in English. It combines theoretical study with practical experience.

Tony Milanowski, Plumpton's WineSkills extension programme manager, says: "Growth in the UK wine industry means qualified people are needed to work in our vineyards and wineries. There are opportunities for people with oenology and viticulture degrees to help manage these businesses."

The Daily Mail