An enologist is a winemaker who has received training in all aspects of the process, from grape growing to harvesting and production. Enology is a branch of viticulture, and an enologist is most likely to work for a winery or a wine-related company. Enologists must have varying levels of education, but the majority have attended college and earned an undergraduate degree. Some colleges and universities even offer enology degrees that teach students all of the skills they’ll need to succeed in the field. Other enologists might have advanced degrees in fields like ecology or botany.
To be a successful enologist, a candidate must study chemistry, biology, and other sciences that will aid him in comprehending the chemical makeup of specific grapes. A well-developed palate and a passion for wine and winemaking are also advantageous, as the enologist will be involved in almost every step of the winemaking process. The specific responsibilities of this professional vary, and some enologists specialize in one aspect of the winemaking process rather than overseeing the entire process from beginning to end.
An enologist will most likely be educated in soil composition and other planting issues so that he or she can determine the best locations for vineyard plants. Because many grape plants do not produce usable fruit in the first few years after planting, the enologist will monitor the growth of the plants and make adjustments as needed. This can take several years of observation and adjustment. Enologists will monitor the taste characteristics of the grapes, such as sweetness, bitterness, tone, and texture, once the plants begin to bear fruit. This will assist winemakers in determining which grapes should be used to make a specific wine.
An enologist may have a specific job description that includes experimenting with new types of grapes, new planting techniques, different soils and chemicals, and other experiments that can produce wines of various flavors, depending on the size of the winemaking operation. A winemaker may enlist the help of enologists to find the best conditions for producing a new type of wine that the vineyard has never produced before. Such a project will require a lot of testing and monitoring, and the enologists will need to have a strong background in both science and winemaking to know which conditions are best for the plants’ desired outcome.