New Zealand is Australia’s neighbor to the north, and came to the forefront of international attention because of the Lord of the Rings trivia, which was filmed in the country’s green, rolling hills. With the location for the forthcoming filming of The Hobbit still undecided, New Zealand is once again in the international spotlight.
The wine industry in New Zealand is also rapidly expanding, taking advantage of its lush landscapes and climate. While New Zealand is not as large as Australia, it has still managed to develop more than 500 wineries in recent years, most of which specialize in Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot.
But you don’t need to know much about wine to get a job in a vineyard or winery in New Zealand. In fact, there are many jobs that a perfect for people who are looking for seasonal work in the outdoors. Working with a viticulturist can be an exciting way to learn more about this rapidly growing industry, and typically vineyard assistants spend their days working in the fields of the vineyard, trimming vines, checking for diseases and pests, and watering.
The best time of year for a seasonal job abroad in New Zealand is summer (January – March), which is great for those traveling looking for endless sunshine and looking for some rigorous work in nature. It is possible for some wineries and vineyards to require that workers have some vineyard experience, but some smaller vineyards will be willing to take on a inexperienced person who are willing to work hard and learn the trade.
Cellarhands are another popular job for those who like working with their hands, and may not have experience in the industry. These jobs involve moving boxes, transporting product, oak filling and using the crushing machinery. Cellarhand jobs are intense – while they typically on last for the wine season (about 12 weeks), they involve longs hours and manual labor. But again, for more experience in the wine industry and the chance to make decent money while traveling, seasonal jobs like cellarhands can be a great opportunity.
Those with vineyard experience who are looking to relocate permanently can find jobs as a viticulturist, vineyard manager, or in corporate offices working with marketing and communications, Since New Zealand focuses its exports primarily in Europe (most notably the UK), the United States and Japan, familiarity with these markets is a must.
The best thing about living and working in New Zealand is access to a wide variety of outdoor activities. Since most vineyards and wineries are located in Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury, jobs in these areas are also located close to great outdoors activities like bridge climbs and bungee, and Great Barrier Island and other water adventures in the northern islands.
Make sure that you pay close attention to the length of the jobs that you apply for in the New Zealand wine industry, so that you can have the proper visas and paperwork available.