Did you know that America is the fourth largest wine producing country in the world, only behind France, Italy and Spain. There is approx. 8,700 wineries located across America, and as you may already know, many of these vintages will find their way to our shelves here in New Zealand. In California alone (which accounts for 87% of the total of US wine production), the wine industry economic impact is $62 Billion. With such a large wine industry where better to gain viticulture work experience than America.

With IEP’s Work USA program and the J-1 visa you have the opportunity live and work in the USA for up to 12 months, letting you work a full harvest season and then stick around for other work at the vineyard or go and pursue a job somewhere else that interests you!

With thousands of vineyards all over the USA the possibilities for where you work the harvest season is endless! We’ve had past Work USA participants work at Francis Coppola and Brasswood Cellars in California, as well as Domaine Serene in Oregon and gained amazing work experience!


Am I Eligible?


If you are close to finishing up your studies then this is the perfect opportunity for you to head overseas, experience something different and get some degree related work!

To be eligible for this programme you need to be

  • Be 18 years of age or older;
  • Hold a New Zealand or Australian passport; and
  • Be currently enrolled in full-time on campus studies at a recognised tertiary level institute or be a recent graduate from at least 12-months (two consecutive semesters) full-time, on campus study at a recognised tertiary level institute.
  • If you are applying as a current full-time student you must have recently completed 12 months of full-time studies prior to departure.
  • Recent graduate 12 months eligibility commences from the actual end of full-time classes or study defined as the date of your last exam or last assignment submission.

Unfortunately, if you have been studying part time then you will not be eligible. If you aren’t sure, then you can have a look here or get in touch with us!


Where Can I Work?


There are thousands of vineyards across the USA but majority of the participants who go over on the J-1 visa to experience a harvest season look into Oregon, California and Texas.

With the duration of the harvest season depending on the grapes and the weather it is hard to know how long you will be working there for! If you fall in love with the vineyard and your surroundings (often not hard to do) then there may be opportunities for you to stay longer in a different role – this would just need to be discussed with your company.

Another option is to experience something different in the USA. We have had participants work a ski season once the summer has finished up – we are able to help with you securing a resort job, have a look here at the resorts we work with.


How do I actually get a job?


There are plenty of ways to secure your job at a vineyard before you get to the USA! We have a directory that lists the websites you can look at for job availability at the vineyards/wineries which you will get access to when on the program.

You can also research and approach vineyards on your own. When approaching a vineyard be sure to mention you have a visa that allows you to work in the US. American vineyards need to know that you can work legally in the US and that they do not need to provide visa sponsorship. IEP takes care of the visa sponsorship, taking the pressure and costs off of the employer.


How do I get a Tax number/ be paid …?


Before you leave you will attend a pre-departure session with us that explains all of this plus more! We give you as much information as we can so your transition to the USA is as smooth as possible! You will also have 24/7 assistance whilst you are in the USA. To see a list of exactly what is included in the program have a look here.


How much money do I need?


To kick start your wine career in America you are responsible for program, visa and travel costs. The Work USA program fee of $1145 is paid when you sign up and that payment starts the entire process. The other costs will include a visa fee of USD$195, insurance flights and proof of funds! To see the breakdown, have a look here.


Need more info?


If you want more info on the program and everything involved then look out for one FREE info session dates here, otherwise if you can’t make it then no worries! You can request a call back here or flick us an email here.