High paying jobs for people who like to drink
Do you like to tipple now and again? I like wine. I like learning about the craft of winemaking, the history of wine, and the intricacies of tasting notes. – “Ah, yes, blackberries, cherries, vanilla, slate, leather and pencil erasers. A fine vintage.” – I swear I saw “pencil erasers” once on a tasting note card at the LCBO.
And, OK, I already have a job I like but sometimes I think it would be cool to take on a second career as a sommelier, because it’s nice to combine your hobbies and your work if you can.
With that idea in mind, I looked into the highest paying jobs for people who like to drink. I offer this up with the caveat, however, that if you’re inclined to overindulge or can’t control your drinking, then these are not jobs for you. A case in point is a sommelier my boss once knew who was such a raging alcoholic that he had to be scraped off the floor every night. That is not a good career decision.
OK. If that is not you, here are four high-paying jobs for people who like to drink.
Bartender: This one is too obvious, I know, but it’s just a truth that bartenders in the right places can make a lot of money. One Toronto Redditor talks about knowing a nightclub bartender who pulled in $600 – $800 in tips a night. The other great thing about this job is that cocktail culture has taken such an interesting turn over the past few years. We’re miles away from the horrid 1990s era of throwing some kind of juice in with vodka and calling it a “whatevertini.” So, if that’s the sort of thing that interests you, a bar or restaurant can be very creative atmosphere. I have sat at a restaurant bar on a few occasions and been asked by the bartender – or “mixologist” as they’re calling themselves these days – to please try his or her latest concoction and provide feedback. It’s fun, and because I get free drinks, they get a bigger tip.
Requirements differ by province. Ontario bartenders must have Smart Serve certification, which takes 3.5 hours and costs $65. There are no other requirements besides being of legal drinking age. It helps if you’re good with people, fast, and not terribly uncoordinated.
Sommelier: A sommelier is a wine steward who usually works in an upscale restaurant. According to Culinary Schools Connection, the sommelier knows all about wine – and is also expected to know about beer and spirits – and is there to instruct patrons on wine pairings. The sommelier manages the wine cellar and wine list and is an all-around wine expert.
Payscale lists the salary of a sommelier in Canada at $23,715 – $84,401, but that does not include tips, and some sommeliers can earn far above $100,000, according to other sources. In order to become one, you probably want to take a certification course like the ones offered at George Brown College and Niagara College in partnership with The Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS).
Winemaker: Winemaker Ashley Hooper writes on Wine Jobs Canada that “a winemaker is responsible for ensuring the grapes are grown and processed into wine to meet market demands. The winemaker plays a central role in a wine business which requires a keen interest and understanding not only in winemaking but viticulture and sales/marketing.”
The salary in Canada ranges from $34,444 – $86,512, according to Payscale, however, other sources list the salary of Canadian winemakers as $70,000 – $120,000.
Oenology courses cover winemaking and viticulture and are offered at Niagara College and Brock University, among other places.
Export manager: Catavino calls the Export Manager the “007 of the wine industry,” because these people travel all over the world looking for importers for their brands, eating in fancy restaurants and building their own wine collections. But John Perry, an export manager out of Rioja, explains on the site that it’s not all glitz and glamour, and James Cluer on Wine Jobs Canada describes the job as a lot of hustle. First, he says, you might meet with a dozen companies, then, “A few months later, you go back for another trip to have more meetings with the companies that liked you … After much sampling, some negotiation and maybe a contract you get an order and return home to announce that you are now shipping to yet another country.”
On the upside, Cluer writes that this job would rarely pay less than $100,000 and can rise to upwards of $250,000 when working for a major Champagne house.
Among the qualifications listed on Wine Jobs Canada are sales and marketing experience, possibly a BA or an MBA, wine knowledge – of course- and language fluency.