Wine merchant

wine seller wine importer wine vendor wine specialist
Retail and customer services

Career outlook for wine merchant

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would work as a buyer, importer or retail manager. You would buy wine from growers and shippers to sell in Scotland, or manage sales for a large business.

As a wine merchant on the high street, you would:

  • Order and display stock
  • Organise events such as wine tastings
  • Serve customers and offer advice on wines
  • Take payment for goods
  • Manage sales targets
  • Keep accounts and records
  • Hire, train and manage staff

It would be improtant to understand and follow the legal rules for the sale of alcohol.

You could also become a specialist buyer or importer. You might often travel abroad to find new wines. You would:

  • Visit vineyards, and wine producers’ cellars and production areas
  • Discuss prices
  • Check production standards
  • Build relationships with producers
  • Comply with UK and EU wine laws and taxes
  • Work with wholesalers in the UK who sell to restaurants, hotels and shops

You could also operate as an independent wine merchant, finding and buying your own stock and selling it from a shop, by mail order or online. You would buy wine, usually from importers, advertise it for sale and send out orders. You might also go to wine tastings in the UK.

Working conditions


You’ll usually work 40 to 45 hours a week, which often includes evenings and weekends.


You may have to do heavy lifting and carrying and be on your feet for long periods. Although mainly office or shop-based, you may need to travel in the UK or abroad.


You may need to travel in the UK or abroad. A driving licence is often required.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Building relationships
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Attention to detail
  • Managing resources
  • Time management
  • Reliable
  • Taking responsibility

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but most employers value a good general education including English and maths.

With a degree (SCQF level 9/10) you may be able to find a graduate management trainee scheme. 

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • IT skills

You will also need

  • To be over 18 years old
  • To obtain a licence to sell alcohol such as the Scottish Certificate for Personal Licence Holders which is awarded by the British Institute of Innkeeping awarding body (BIIAB).

A driving licence is required for most jobs.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience in sales, customer service, business and marketing.

It is possible to study for qualifications awarded by the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM).

The Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) also has a range of courses which can help with professional development.