Job type

Wine merchant

£16k - £35k

Typical salary

39 – 41

Hours per week

Wine merchants source wines from around the world and sell them.

More info

  • Find, select and sell wines to the public
  • You'll need excellent knowledge of wines and the industry, along with good business skills
  • Work for a large company or set up your own independent wine merchant business

As a wine merchant you'll find the best wines for your customers and sell them.


  • Selecting, ordering, and displaying stock
  • Organising promotions, including wine tastings
  • Offering advice on wines and serving customers
  • Taking payment for goods
  • Managing sales targets
  • Keeping accounts and records
  • Following and enforcing the legal requirements for the sale of alcohol
  • Recruiting, training and organising staff


You'll often be mainly shop-based but may need to travel around the world to wine cooperatives and vineyards, to taste and select wines before negotiating to buy them.

You'll need

You'll need a good knowledge of different wines and their origins, IT skills, selling and negotiating skills, and knowledge of sales and marketing techniques.

There are no set entry requirements, but you'll need an excellent sense of taste and smell.

The ability to speak French, Spanish, Portuguese, German or Italian might also be useful.

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

If you're a graduate, you could start work with a large wine retailer as a management trainee.

You'll need business experience and extensive product knowledge to be an independent wine merchant.

You'll also need  a premises licence and a personal licence to sell alcohol.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.


With experience you could become an independent wine merchant - to do this you'll need funds and a well-researched business plan.

You could also progress to become a Master of Wine (MW). This is the British wine trader's highest qualification.