Cellar Production Lead (Wine Jobs: Vineyards & Cellars )

Full Time

  Cougar Crest Estate Winery

  Walla Walla, Washington

Cougar Crest Estate Winery is a family-owned winery in the Walla Walla Valley. With 80 acres of vineyard in the prestigious Walla Walla Valley AVA, production averages about 12,000 cases per vintage. We are a well-equipped, modern winemaking facility with room to grow. We encourage all our staff here to work as a team and bring their previous experiences and knowledge together to generate thoughtful solutions to complex problems. As part of our team the candidate will enjoy being a jack of all trades, managing the production of Cougar Crest wines from vine to bottle.

This position reports directly to the Assistant Winemaker and works with all members of the cellar team to achieve goals set by the winemaker. This position is cooperative and requires good organizational skills. This candidate is expected to maintain good cellar cleanliness and organization, as well as keep up with day-to-day operations. The Cellar Lead is expected to manage all winery operations including monitoring and completing additions and inoculations for wine lots. Having a working knowledge of winery operations/flow is crucial and good time management is essential for candidate success.

Minimum Qualifications:
•  Prior education in V & E, chemistry or another relevant field
•  2+ years’ experience in winemaking industry (boutique experience a plus)
•  Knowledge of vineyards, vineyard sampling, basic ripeness tests
•  Knowledge of all winery operations and equipment
•  Knowledge of chemical analysis and various winery tests (pH, T.A., FSO2, etc.) and how to conduct them in a wine lab setting
•  Certified forklift operator (or ability to obtain)
•  Experience with all forms of winery equipment (impeller pumps, diaphragm pumps, shaker tables, conveyors, compressed gasses, filters, etc.) as well as a knowledge of how they work and how to clean and repair them.
•  Good communication skills, positive attitude toward self and others
•  Able to train and supervise new staff
•  Ability to work with confined spaces and on catwalks
•  Valid driver’s license
•  Ability to lift 60+ lbs. repeatedly
•  Ability to work extended hours during harvest (usually 65+ hours in a week) in all types of weather
•  Participates in and carries out short-term and long-term planning of cellar work

Additional Preferred Qualifications:
•  4+ years industry experience in winemaking and viticulture
•  Bottling line work experience
•  Knowledge of Spectrophotometer (experience with an Admeo Y350 a plus)
•  Washington M.A.S.T. permit and food handlers permit useful

Interpersonal skills require managing others with a cooperative, not confrontational attitude, showing patience but requiring accountability, and not letting egos get in the way of progress. This person also works closely with the owners and assistant winemaker, and is expected to understand the needs of administration and marketing. This person is responsible for ensuring that production labor is used efficiently, maintaining high standards of cleanliness, and the organization and storage of supplies and equipment.

This is a very physically demanding position and will require the candidate to lift heavy objects repeatedly for extended hours, including walk must lines, carry full vessels of wine, dig out tanks after fermentation, lift and drag various heavy equipment. Candidate must be able to provide own transportation, must be eligible for employment in the U.S. and must be available to work non-traditional hours for crush during all types of weather.
This candidate will also be required to occasionally work with the public at trade and tasting events both at the winery and on the road. Staffing at Spring Release Weekend, Holiday Barrel Tasting, and wine club events will be mandatory. Four times a year production crew will assist the Wine Club Manager assemble the wine club shipments. During slow times in production, the production staff will assist others with general maintenance both indoors and outdoors.
Compensation and wage based on experience.

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