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Why Working at a Winery is the Best Summer Job for University Students

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

Let’s face it, university is super expensive. Tuition, food, housing, school supplies and entertainment all cost a lot of money. And since most students are busy during the school year with homework and trying to keep up a social life, that leaves the summer as the only financially fruitful time in a student’s life. This is wildly disappointing to most, seeing as the only break from the average student’s barrage of schoolwork no longer seems to exist, and is instead filled with even more work.

So, when do we actually get a break? I asked myself that question last summer, and I soon found the answer. It’s like that one saying (that I only remember because Harry Styles said it once in an interview): if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Essentially, if you love your summer job, it won’t feel like work at all. Of course, you’re probably not going to love every minute of it, but if you enjoy most of your time there, it’s going to be a much better experience than working somewhere else.

Now, how does one find a summer job that they love without trying out a million different careers? I’m going to give you my advice: work at a winery. I do recognize that logistically, this may not be for everyone, since not every region of the world has wineries. However, if you live in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Nova Scotia, or the west coast of the United States, along with several other regions around the world, you can most likely try your hand at working at a winery. Working at a winery is low-stakes, air-conditioned, relatively easy work, and you learn a very useful skill. What’s not to love?  

First of all, everyone is happy because you’re giving them wine. Nobody is going to yell at you while you’re pouring them an expensive cab (unless they’re a severe wine snob, but those are few and far between). I worked at a small boutique winery, with a really small staff, so I quickly became best friends with all my coworkers. While not everyone who works at a winery will love their coworkers, it’s a very relaxed environment that allows for a lot of downtime—especially at a smaller winery. One of the biggest factors in enjoying your job is the people that you’re surrounded by, including both coworkers and customers. The friendlier and more interesting they are, the more you’re going to enjoy working!  

The environment of a winery is usually also really beautiful! People want to go somewhere that they can take cute Instagram photos, so the majority of wineries are gorgeous, both inside and out. This isn’t the biggest factor in the enjoyment of your job, but I found it easier to want to come to work when I was going to a beautiful winery as opposed to a fluorescent-lit retail store. Wineries are also designed to be relaxing and peaceful, which has a big impact on the attitude of the staff. I very rarely felt rushed and stressed at work, because it just wasn’t a stressful environment. Another bonus: they are almost always air-conditioned, which is so nice in the summer! 

The work itself is usually quite minimal. It involves pouring wine for customers, talking to them about the wine, potentially serving them food, cashing them out, and some light housekeeping duties. The difficulty of the work depends on the size and prestige of the winery, but generally it’s pretty simple. Bonus: you’ll pick it up quickly! 

Honestly, one of the most significant reasons why I can encourage all university students to work at a winery is because you gain so much knowledge about wine. I worked at my winery for four months, and now I know exactly how to choose wine for a meal pairing. I’ve learned so many terms that I didn’t know before (did you know that wine has legs?) and people tend to find wine knowledge very impressive. It’s a skill that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life, because people are always going to be drinking wine. It also makes for a really cool party trick!

Learning about wine early in your life allows you to develop your palate and your nose, and by the time you’re middle-aged, when most people are regularly drinking wine, you’ll have a much more developed taste (and nose!) for wine. So, if you’re hunting for a great summer job, I highly recommend looking around at some local wineries! 

Natalie Cowan

Queen's U '26

Natalie Cowan is a second year English Language and Literature student at Queen's University. She enjoys baking, spending time with friends and family, and walking her dog, Auggie.