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Salary for a Wine Consultant

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Any liquor-store clerk can rattle off the old adage about pairing red wines with red meats and white wines with white meats, but a wine consultant has a much more intimate knowledge of the way a vintage interacts with food and plays out on your palate. Wine consultants have an encyclopedic knowledge of wine styles, their flavors and their perfect pairings, and they can help guide diners to the perfect bottle selection.

Average Salary

Many wine consultants are self-employed conissuers who operate consulting businesses for restaurants, helping them to steer purchasing decisions to fit their menu, while others operate as guides for individuals, either visiting their homes or in a specialty wine bar, to help cultivate an appreciation of wines or help with dinner pairings. The average salary of wine consultants varies, from $126,000 as reported by, to $130,000 according to Simply Hired, as of February 2011.

Average Advertised Salary

Wine consultants who aren’t self-employed tend to receive much smaller salaries than their consultancy-based counterparts, although many turn to jobs at vineyards and wine specialty stores as a means to cultivate the experience necessary to launch a consulting career. The average advertised salary for wine consultant positions is $46,126 as of February 2011, according to Salary List. Advertised salaries vary by the region in which the job was located, and range from $34,376 to $68,905 annually.

Comparison to Wine Store Salaries

Wine consultants are paid premium salaries because of their intricate knowledge of vintages. They tend to earn more than typical wine-store sales staff who also advise shoppers on wine pairings. Wine consultants focus primarily on advisement, where liquor store staff must retain retail repsonsibilities. Because of this, wine consultants earn much more than retail advisors, with Simply Hired reporting that wine store managers receive an average annual salary of $45,000 as of February 2011.

Wine Consultants vs. Sommeliers

Sommeliers are professionals, usually with formal training, who work as a sort of in-house wine consultant in upscale restaurants. With a more intimate knowledge of a restaurant’s menu and wine list, sommeliers don’t possess the same wide-ranging knowledge base as top-notch wine consultants. Sommeliers provide bottle service and recommendations to diners. Sommeliers earn median annual salaries of $50,659 as of February 2011, according to


Wilhelm Schnotz has worked as a freelance writer since 1998, covering arts and entertainment, culture and financial stories for a variety of consumer publications. His work has appeared in dozens of print titles, including "TV Guide" and "The Dallas Observer." Schnotz holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University.