Sector skills: Food and drink

Our sector champion for the food and drink sector is Wiston Estate Winery. Here, Chris Rowe tells us about the industry and the skills and qualifications involved for working in winemaking.


My name is Chris Rowe. I work at Wiston Estate Winery looking after marketing projects, brand partnerships and the development of own-label sparkling wine production opportunities.

The winery is an important part of Wiston Estate, which has been owned and managed by the Goring family since 1743. A small section of the estate was identified as suitable for growing grapes for the production of sparkling wine. The vineyard was planted in 2006, and the winery has grown since then to be recognised as one of the best producers of sparkling wine in the UK.

The team at the winery is made up of people from a variety of backgrounds, with different levels of experience. From colleagues new to viticulture and winemaking working through apprenticeship programmes, to one of England’s most experienced and respected winemakers.

Alongside the grape growing and winemaking teams, there are colleagues working in finance, marketing, sales and operations. As the winery develops there will be roles in customer service, food and beverage service and catering.

Wiston Estate Logo

One of our team members is currently undertaking the Crop Technician (Viticulture) Apprenticeship at Plumpton College in East Sussex. To join the winemaking team a BSc (Hons) Viticulture & Oenology is the preferred minimum qualification. Other job functions within the business are recruited for by considering relevant work experience and relevant qualifications from organisations such as IFA, CIM etc.

“Working at Wiston Estate Winery is fantastic because it’s small enough that I get to experience every aspect of the winemaking process, from harvesting grapes through to blind tasting wines to determine the style and quality of the finished product” - Megan Ward (BSc Hons Viticulture & Oenology), Production Manager.

“The best part about working in the vineyards at Wiston Estate is being able to work outside, in beautiful surroundings with an amazing team - What more could you want?” Alex Fenton, Crop Technician (Viticulture) Apprentice

Wiston Estate Winery offers employees a variety of benefits. Alongside pension contributions, continuous professional development and  competitive salaries, members of the team are learning from industry experts and are proud to be at the forefront of the developing UK wine industry. They also enjoy generous staff discounts on wine.

There are seasonal opportunities to work at Wiston Estate Winery, particularly around harvest time. These are a great way to gather relevant work experience. As the winery grows and develops there will be more roles available, particularly in customer facing roles at Cellar door and in the new restaurant. Keep an eye on our the Wiston Estate website for upcoming vacancies

Find out more about the Wiston Estate.