Tasting room managers are employed by independent wineries. They direct and promote wine tasting events, bringing customers to the winery and holding wine tastings. Tasting room managers must be very knowledgeable about the wines they are promoting, and they are responsible for supervising and training other tasting room staff. Candidates typically need several years of restaurant or wine industry experience before being hired for this position.
As of 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, found that advertising and promotions managers employed by beer, wine, and distilled alcoholic beverage merchant wholesalers earned an average of $85,720 per year. The BLS does not track salary data specifically for the wine industry or for tasting room managers. However, "Wine Business Monthly," the standard source for the wine industry, conducts annual salary surveys revealing that tasting room managers tend to earn substantially less than other types of advertising and promotions managers in the adult beverage industries.
National Salary Estimates
According to a compensation survey conducted by "Wine Business Monthly," tasting room managers earned an average of $58,776 per year as of February 2012. This represents a 4.1 percent salary increase over the average tasting room manager salary in 2011. "Wine Business Monthly" also reports that the average national salary of tasting room managers has increased every year since 2007, most likely due to the increasing importance of direct-to-consumer sales on winery premises.
Salary by Winery Size
As of 2012, the average salaries of tasting room managers showed minor variations according to the size of the winery at which they were employed. Those working at small wineries producing less than 50,000 cases of wine per year earned the most, an average of $60,404. Tasting room managers at wineries producing between 50,000 and 99,999 cases averaged $57,025 per year. Wineries producing between 100,000 and 499,999 cases paid an average salary of $58,013, and the very largest wineries, producing over 500,000 cases per year, paid an average of $59,660.
Average Salaries by Region
According to "Wine Business Monthly," salaries for tasting room managers were highest in California as of 2012, ranging from a high of $58,000 in the Napa Valley and Sonoma regions, to a low of $45,000 at North Coast wineries. In Oregon, the average salary was $43,000, including $41,000 for Portland and an average of $39,000 for the rest of the state. Salaries on the East Coast tended to be somewhat less. Tasting room managers employed in the Southeast averaged $37,000 per year, while those in the Northeast reported an average salary of $36,000.