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Food & drink

Wine merchant

Wine merchants find new wines and buy and market them.

Annual Salary

£16,000 to £35,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays;

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Wine merchant jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

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

Working environment

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

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
Work

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.

You could also take training through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust to build up your knowledge of the industry.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

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

More information

Career tips

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

Further information

You'll find more advice about working in wine retail through the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

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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). This is the British wine trader’s highest qualification.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • maths knowledge
  • 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
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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