Cellar Team Lead, Enologist (Wine Jobs: Vineyards & Cellars )

Full Time

  Virginia Dare Winery

  Geyserville, California

Job Summary: Responsible for daily planning and constant supervision/delegation of all Cellar operations including assisting in creation of work instructions/logs in collaboration with Winemaking needs.  Ability to perform all cellar related activities. Manage and train all Cellar personnel in accordance with established cellar procedures, ensuring cellar operations meet the Wineries safety, quality and production efficiency goals. Conducts research and trials to improve Cellar processes and provides formal reports and recommendations on findings.

Reasonable Accommodations Statement: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. Reasonable Accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Safety Statement

All employees shall follow safe practices according to the injury and illness Prevention Policy (IIPP), render every possible aid to safe operations, and report all unsafe conditions or practices immediately to any management employee or Human Resources.

Supervisors and Leads are fundamentally responsible for ensuring safety in their own departments and to uphold the following safety standards:

  • Demonstrate a positive attitude toward safety
  • Ensure work is performed in a safe manner and all safety rules, regulations and instructions are in compliance
  • Report and investigate workplace injuries in a timely manner; identifies ways to eliminate risk of reoccurrence; complete audits; conduct monthly safety meetings and trainings; maintain compliance with hazardous materials program; inform/train new employees on specific safety aspects and procedures with the department and location; participate in monthly management safety meetings

Essential Duties and Responsibilities: 

 Productivity Management, Planning and Organizing (20%)

  • Creates and executes daily shift work plans. Is specifically responsible for creating the daily harvest work plan. Reviews, prioritizes and communicates daily workload, adjusts labor plan accordingly to ensure staff and equipment resources are appropriately allocated. Leads daily shift start-up meeting, delegates work orders keeping in mind safety, quality and productivity objectives and cellar worker skill development goals.
  • Monitors all cellar activities throughout the day, monitoring production for actual vs plan, checks compliance with safety, quality, productivity standards reinforcing correct performance as needed; provides training and revises or recommends revisions to standard work where needed; reports equipment performance issues promptly.
  • Maximize employment of Cellar labor resource, by ensuring start and break times are managed and reporting attendance issues to the Cellar Manager.
  • Ensures Cellar equipment is available and in safe, optimal working order to meet winery production needs. Includes ensuring proper use and care of equipment by cellar employees, and communicating maintenance needs and priorities to the maintenance department.
  • Assists with monitoring of Cellar supplies, materials and equipment to ensure availability to support department functions
  • Assists in the development and maintenance of productivity standards including identification of production rates and metrics and interprets data to improve operational efficiencies (e.g barrels washed per hour, barrels topped per shift, gallons of water used per case etc.)
  • Actively participates in and promotes 5S system and other Lean Management Systems as relevant to Cellar operations
  • Actively embraces the continuous improvement process by identifying opportunities for improvement or misses in actual vs plan, understanding the business impact, using problem solving techniques to resolve issues and ensures follow-up to implement solutions.
  • Assists Cellar Manager in Long term and weekly cellar work planning, including development of workforce requirements for both harvest and non-harvest periods.
  • Works with Winemaking and Cellar management to assist at times with creation of cellar work instructions, orders and work logs as directed.

 Quality (20%)

  • Manages quality of all cellar operations by ensuring a culture of accuracy, thoroughness, attention to detail and commitment to excellence is present at all times.
  • Completes work in a manner that maintains quality and enhances the overall appearance and sanitation of the cellars in keeping with the winery business goals. Includes maintaining a clean work area, cellar cleanliness and aesthetics, general good housekeeping & hygiene, and maintaining cellar temperature and humidity as appropriate.
  • Assists with the development and maintenance of Cellar SOPs to ensure quality standards and risk aversion are built into all production processes.
  • Communicates with Laboratory and Winemaking to ensure wine / juice analysis meets specifications per work order instructions
  • Ensures cellar employees are trained on SOPs and have the appropriate skills, knowledge, tools and supervision necessary to perform quality work before they are authorized to perform tasks with or without supervision.
  • Focuses on continuous improvement - conducts on-going assessments of cellar operations to ensure quality goals are met or exceeded. Looks for ways to measure, improve and promote quality.
  • Responsible for work order accuracy prior to distribution and upon return post task completion
  • Ensures accuracy of inventory through correct use of work orders, barrel scanners, tank cards and fermentation cards, tank & barrel management boards

 Government Compliance – Personnel and Food Safety, Environment (15%)

  • Actively promotes and ensures a safe and positive environment for all persons working in (but not limited to) the Cellar
  • Must become familiar with FCW’s Injury & Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP) and ensure the enforcement of and adherence to all OSHA and FCW safety policies, procedures and guidelines.
  • Following the principles of the IIPP, ensures all FCW employees, contractors and visitors are informed of and protected from hazards in the Cellar work environment. Includes providing effective training, PPE and safety barriers, and communicating hazards before personnel are authorized to perform tasks or access certain environments. Uses continuous self audit systems to identify potential hazards and unsafe acts and identifies timely solutions to eliminate, isolate or minimize hazards.
  • Reports and investigates all accidents, incidents and near misses and identifies ways to eliminate risk of recurrence.
  • Ensures Cellar security and is responsible for Cellar opening/closing duties. Reports suspicious activities.
  • Ensures environmental compliance as pertains to the cellar. e.g Storm water Pollution Prevention Plan
  • Practices, promotes and assists with the implementation of sustainable practices, including energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction and recycling and the use of sustainable materials wherever possible.
  • Ensures Cellar practices comply with government food safety regulatory standards (e.g Bio-terrorism Act 2002, Chemical Hygiene) or meet standards for any food safety certifications held by FCW e.g HACCP.
  • Delivers safety training throughout the year as per the company safety training schedule and as additional training is deemed necessary.
  • May be required to complete Train the Trainer/certification courses in order to provide effective training and certification for company personnel on topics such as forklift operation, Respirator fit, SO2 handling. Assists with identifying additional safety training needs.

 Leadership and influence, Team building & partnering (20%)

  • Will be required to lead a shift on a daily basis, sometimes without onsite availability of regular winery management.
  • May be required to cover certain Cellar Manager responsibilities in their absence e.g timesheet approvals
  • Demonstrates leadership and professionalism and serves as a role model in the development of a positive and progressive company culture that is conducive to maximizing safety, quality, productivity and efficiency, promoting open communication, teamwork and respect for others.
  • Assists the Cellar Manager in managing development and performance of cellar workers as individuals and as a group. Assists with writing and delivering cellar performance and development reviews. Provides timely and constructive work performance feedback to Cellar individuals and reports performance issues to the Cellar Manager.
  • Assists Cellar Manager in development and maintenance of the Cellar skills matrix by providing cellar worker performance feedback.
  • Coaches and supports individuals and groups towards achievement of set goals. Utilizes Cellar Procedures in training and as a reference to ensure Cellar quality and productivity performance is maximized.
  • Assists with selection process when hiring employees for the Cellar

 Project / Process Research & Development (15%)

  • Will assess and measure current cellar process performance within scope of assigned projects and provide continuous improvement recommendations.
  • Performs research, analysis and provides recommendations for Cellar related improvements that align with business wine making quality, productivity and cost goals.
  • Will stay current on latest winemaking and cellar technologies & best practices.
  • For each improvement recommendation will provide justification reports which cover ROI, feasibility and risk analysis, regulatory drivers, ongoing impact to business and operations.
  • Will attend Unified or trade shows that focus on the projects assigned to.
  • Communicate with winemaking or seek their opinions.
  • May be asked to assist in the development of cellar procedures that are designed to facilitate efficient production of quality wines, while maintaining sound manufacturing practices. 

 Other duties and responsibilities as assigned (10%)

  • Able to perform any Cellar Operation to a high skill level that includes being able to problem solve and train others

Supervisory Responsibilities:

Approximately 13 fulltime plus seasonal Cellar Technicians.

Job Requirements: 

Education/Experience: Must have at least 3 years of winery production (or equivalent) experience with increased experience in leadership. Bachelor degree in Viticulture & Enology or similar preferred.


  • Excellent written and verbal communication in English.
  • Must have strong administrative, organizational and planning skills
  • Able to read, understand, and possess High School graduate level math skills.
  • Able to handle multiple competing tasks and priorities.
  • Excellent leadership, teamwork, supervisory and organizational skills.
  • Use proper safety equipment and safety procedures.
  • Detail-oriented and able to perform quality work efficiently with minimal supervision.
  • Must have strong analytical & problem-solving skills and use initiative to adapt / change processes to improve operational performance.
  • Computer proficiency in MS Office required, and ability to use interfaces for programs such as Winemakers Database, Bigfoot maintenance, Express Net payroll and barrel scanners.

Knowledge: Knowledge of various aspects of winemaking operations, quality, personnel supervision, workflow scheduling, equipment and facility maintenance, equipment operation, capacity planning, procedural practice and development, and process improvement. Knowledge of safety regulations pertaining to cellar equipment operation and maintenance

Physical: Must be able to climb stairs to work on platforms 12 feet or more in height. Able to stand, walk, and climb stairs for eight to ten hours per day. Able to lift and carry 55 pounds. Work flexible shifts and schedules, including overtime. Must be able to fit through a 11" x 17" tank door.

Other: (Includes licenses, certificates, age etc.) Must be at least 21 years of age.

How To Apply


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