Wine Industry Career Series: Jumpstart Your Wine Career Here

Wine Industry Career Series

Wine Industry Career Series: Jumpstart Your Wine Career Here

This series of articles is penned by longtime industry expert Karen Wetzel, exploring a wide variety of topics, industry insights, guidance, and tools to help you find your career in wine.

By Karen Wetzel, WSET 3, NVWE, AWE

At the Napa Valley Wine Academy, we are dedicated to educating you and feeding your passion for wine. To that end, we launched the Wine Industry Career Series.

Karen jpg Led by Karen Wetzel, an Instructor, Career Coach, and host of the Wine, Work & Passion podcast for the Napa Valley Wine Academy, Wetzel began her career in the wine industry several decades ago, starting out in restaurants, then becoming a sales consultant with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (SGWS). This ultimately led her to the education team at Constellation Brands before landing at The Napa Valley Wine Academy. 

A note from Karen:

“I’m very excited to bring you this series, with a wide variety of topics, offering industry insights, guidance, and tools to help you enter our amazing field or grow in your current role.

“I remember my very first day as a wine rep in Cleveland, Ohio—yep, Cleveland, Ohio. It was training day, and I was sitting at a restaurant overlooking the river. I was with an experienced sales rep and his client, tasting wine that was under consideration for his new wine list. I couldn’t believe this was my new life. I thought I was dreaming. Well, I eventually woke up and discovered that working in the wine industry is not all swirling and sipping—it can be hard work and long hours—but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

“I often hear, ‘You have the best job—how do I get in on that?’ So, that’s the question we’re going to try to answer for you in this series. How to get in—and how to succeed.”

Working in the wine industry is more than just a job…it’s a lifestyle.  It becomes a part of who you are and shapes your world as no other industry can. Once you’re in, you’re ALL in. Other job opportunities may come and go, but they don’t have the fringe benefits you’ll find here like wine dinners, travel, and, of course, WINE!  

So many of you have trusted us with your wine education, and we are very appreciative. To return the favor and help you find your dream job, dive into our Career Series articles. Remember, Karen started as a sales trainee in Cleveland and that led her to a Wine Educator role in Napa Valley — she’s proof positive that, with enough determination, all things are possible.  

What You Can Do Right Now to Jump-Start Your Career:

Follow @napavalleywineacademy on LinkedIn and keep watching for Career Series posts—chock full of information to help you find the right job, enhance your resume, and grow your career. 

NOTE: The first article in our Wine Industry Career Series: “How to Start Your Job Search,” was published on Thursday, October 29, 2020. To see the series, simply head here and enter “wine industry career series” in the search by keyword section in the top left corner. 

For personal, one-on-one coaching, visit our Expert Coaching page to schedule a session with one of our experienced mentors.  

You can also book a session with me—Karen Wetzel—directly. Book Now.  

Be sure to check back in for my next article in this career series, and never hesitate to reach out to myself, or any of our talented, expert staff here at Napa Valley Wine Academy.


The views expressed by the author are hers alone and may not reflect the views of the Napa Valley Wine Academy.

In Case you Missed it — Other helpful articles from Karen Wetzel:

Mission Accomplished!

New Year…New You!!!

The Digital Sales Rep

The Value of Travel

The Anatomy of a Wine Sales Rep

Wine, Works & Passion Podcast



Cancellations of confirmed in-person course enrollments and workshops are accepted up to 60 days before the start of the course. An administration fee of $50 plus the full cost of the study materials and exam fees will be deducted, and the remainder of the course fee refunded to the payee. Separate WSET exam cancellation/transfer rules apply.
Transfers of a confirmed enrollment to another course are accepted 60 days before the course start date with an administration fee of $50.

Cancellations less than 60 days before the in-person course start date or course no shows forfeit any refund/transfer options unless students can provide medical documentation. If medical documentation is provided, students can be transferred to a later course. No refunds will be applied.

Course Transfers cannot be carried forward to the next academic year (which commenced on January 1).

Students are highly encouraged to purchase separate travel insurance.

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Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

February 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


3555 Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas, NV 89109


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Mariott Santa Ynez

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

April 23, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


555 McMurray Road

Buelton, CA 93427


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Art Hotel Denver

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

March 5, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Mountain)


1201 Broadway

Denver, CO 80203


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Aloft Nashville

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

February 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Central)


1719 West End Ave.

Nashville, TN 37203


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Epicurean Hotel

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

March 19, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Eastern)


1207 S Howard Ave,

Tampa, FL 33606


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Street View of HQ

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

January 22, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


2501 Oak Street

Napa, CA 94559