Winery - Cellar Operations

With export values expected to increase to $2 billion by 2020, wine will be one of New Zealand's top five export earners.

What is Cellar Operations?

The process of winery cellar operations is not the planting of the grapes and nor is it the production line of filling bottles of wine. It is the piece in-between, commonly known as winemaking.

This piece involves the processing of grapes once they are picked and the production of wine to the highest quality standards, ready for bottling. This work is carried out by Cellarhands, who are supervised by cellar supervisors or cellarmasters in some organisations, or winemakers in others.

Cellarmasters work alongside the winemaker who has responsibilities for managing and monitoring all stages of the winemaking process from receiving the grapes at the winery right through to quality finished wine ready for bottling. 

What kind of jobs could I do?

A cellarhand assists in the winemaking process at all stages within the winery, including record keeping, equipment maintenance and cellar hygiene.  With further training and experience, a cellarhand may progress into a more senior role managing the vintage operation that takes place each year between March and May (depending on the grape variety and regional seasonal conditions).

Ultimately, cellar supervisors or masters are involved in the entire winemaking process and provide technical support to the winemaker.

These career opportunities can exist at small boutique wineries right through to large scale commercial winery cellar operations.

What personal attributes and skills would make a good cellarhand?

  • Able to work collaboratively in a team environment while still being able to work independently
  • Fit and capable of performing physical work
  • Literacy, numeracy and computer skills
  • Reliability and dependability
  • Analytical thinking
  • Attention to detail and ability to follow instructions
  • Able to operate machinery and understand physical processes

How can I get into the industry?

Wine is an exciting and internationally recognised industry to be part of.

Someone entering the industry can expect to start in an entry level cellar hand role. This covers carrying out routine cellar operation tasks while learning about the wine industry and the processes involved in making wine. 

How much could I earn?

Pay rates for cellarhands vary depending on experience, responsibilities and other factors such as the size of the winery. Entry level cellarhands could expect to earn upwards of $16 per hour.

How we work with you

Our account managers work with you to understand your business and the skills you need. Then they agree a tailored training plan with you to help your employees gain those skills. Most of this learning takes place on-the-job. 

We provide training materials and eLearning and visit your workplace to check on progress.

We arrange assessments, through in-house assessors or contract assessors, to confirm your employees have built their skills, and register their success with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.


How we support your industry

Over the last two years Competenz has significantly increased its engagement with the wine industry, including establishing a Strategic Advisory Group made up of key industry stakeholders.

This group has been partnering with Competenz over this time to ensure the first Cellar Operations qualifications for New Zealand are fit for purpose. With the launch of our new qualifications in early 2016, the Strategic Advisory Group’s focus now moves to the identification of new trends and advancements in the industry, providing strategic advice and ensuring our qualifications remain relevant and current.

From 2016, we will be looking to actively participate in and support industry events like conferences and competitions, and regularly celebrate your learners’ success.


Enterprise Wide – designing learning pathways 

Competenz works alongside industry, taking an 'enterprise-wide' approach to understand how we can support the commercial training needs beyond the technical training footprint.

We start by understanding your business and partner with you to design 'enterprise-wide' learning pathways.

Our learning programmes cater for all aspects in business including Occupational Health and Safety, Sales, Distribution, Quality, Competitive Systems and Practices (competitive manufacturing), Business Management and Administration.

Our training plans are tailored to your company’s needs, focusing on the broader business goals, workforce development planning, and increasingly supporting on-the-job career development for every level.


New Zealand Certificates

Cellar Operations handbook tumbnail
Competenz has worked with key members of your industry to develop New Zealand’s first nationally recognised qualifications in cellar operations. The three New Zealand Certificates form a pathway of learning from entry level to experienced cellarhand, and are flexible, practical and designed with the future in mind.

download here

Click here for the NZQA qualification overview

The main graduate outcomes for this programme are:

  • Understand the wine industry, wine making processes, plant and equipment used in a cellar operation to produce wine
  • Apply knowledge of legislation, regulatory, food safety, and workplace and personal health and safety requirements to work within food, health and safety, and quality processes in cellar operations
  • Work effectively in a cellar team
  • Complete routine cellar operations tasks

Click here for the NZQA qualification overview

The main graduate outcomes for this programme are:

  • Carry out basic wine analysis
  • Apply an understanding of technical principles that relate to cellar operations, to all aspects of their work
  • Process grapes and manage vintage operations
  • Carry out wine production processes
  • Co-ordinate cellar operations and ensure relevant regulatory requirements are met

Click here for the NZQA qualification overview

The main graduate outcomes for this programme are:

  • Evaluate wine and participate in cellar wine trials
  • Carry out continuous improvement and quality assurance activities to meet production and quality targets
  • Manage technical processes
  • Provide technical support in a commercial wine cellar operation

Contact our team for more information

Kirk Spinks

Kirk Spinks

Business Development Manager

027 643 8829
Lyndall Clarke

Lyndall Clarke

Account Manager - Industry Training

027 533 8017
Jacqui Lyders

Jacqui Lyders

Account Manager - Industry Training

027 243 7035
Wayne Carpendale

Wayne Carpendale

Account Manager - Industry Training

027 622 3299
Aaron Amyes

Aaron Amyes

Account Manager - Manufacturing

027 283 6651