Wine Industry Career Series: Instagram for Income

Wine Industry Career Series: Instagram for Income

 By Karen Wetzel

WSET L3, NVWE, AWE, Career Coach

January 20th, 2021


Is Instagram the holy grail for wine entrepreneurs? That depends on how you define Instagram-based success. Is it the number of followers you have, how many likes, shares, or reposts you get? Does that translate to ‘money in the bank’? It can, and does for some.

Having managed a large Instagram account, I understand why it’s so tempting to dive headfirst into the social media pool.  The wine audience on IG is enormous, which makes it a rich source for attracting wine-centric customers. In this issue, I’ll give a few insights to help you tap into this virtual-based world and become your own boss.

If you have time, and a vivid imagination, the possibilities for starting a business on Instagram are endless.   Here are a few wine-themed ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Virtual Tastings or Events – DIY or partner with wineries or wine shops to create unique experiences.
  • Virtual Wine Shop – Curate and sell a collection of wines, start a wine club or offer a subscription plan.  
  • Virtual Wine-adjacent Boutique – Establish a catalog of wine accessories, tools, clothing, or jewelry. 
  • Wine Influencer – Endorse, promote or sell someone else’s products or services in exchange for payment.
  • Wine Country Concierge – Organize customized tasting experiences or wine country itineraries for a service fee.

wine influencer

Once you’ve decided on a concept and developed a business plan, there are a few important things you’ll need to do in order to be successful.  

  • Build a large base of wine-centric followers. Note, IG offers additional free tools once you hit 10,000 followers.
  • Establish your credibility with wine credentials, such as WSET.  Click here to learn more. 
  • Learn how to use Instagram to market your business and keep up with this ever-changing environment.
    • Find free learning tools on Google YouTube.  
    • Take a class from a local college. 
    • Subscribe to an IG “Expert” program, but these can be pricey, so do your homework.  
  • Use a Social Media Management Platform to plan and execute posts. This article compares the Top 10 for 2021.
  • Find a third-party service to work around Instagram’s “one bio link” policy. Click here for more information.
  • Choose a good Graphic Design Tool so your posts will look professional.

So, you can see there are plenty of opportunities to start a business on social media, and with enough time, a few tools, and plenty of followers, Instagram can and often does, lead to a great wine industry career.  

See you next month when we’ll show you the road to becoming a Professional Wine Educator.   

For personal, one-on-one career coaching visit us at to schedule a session with one of our experienced mentors. To book a session with Karen Wetzel directly click here

Karen Wetzel is an employee of the Napa Valley Wine Academy.  The views expressed in this article are hers alone and may not reflect the views of the Napa Valley Wine Academy.


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