The figure of the Winemaker The winemaker, and the specialists known by other names in other states but who carry out the same tasks, are the technical and scientific experts who cultivate the vines, harvest the grapes and oversee the entire winemaking process from vinification to bottling, with a view to guaranteeing the quality of the product at the various production levels geared towards the various consumer bands.
During the 1994 congress of the Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV), the winemakers were defined as "highly qualified specialists who play roles of critical importance in the winemaking sector, in accordance with their scientific and technical knowledge and in conformity with good practice and the legislation in force".
The winemaker is therefore the leading professional in wine production. He is responsible for the management of winemaking companies and the quality of the wine these produce, as well as for a number of specific winemaking practices. Consequently, he takes responsibility for the management of the winemaking company and has the relevant civil and criminal liability in law.
The winemaker is trained at university level and by specific institutions. He should not be confused with the sommelier, who works in the a catering trade and specialises in the presentation and serving of wines and their combination with foods. He therefore plays a determining role in contacts with the consumer and the spread of the product, but his place in the management of winemaking companies is decidedly limited. In a number of countries, the sommelier is trained by courses organised by the national associations of sommeliers.