Benchmark Consulting

Assistant Winemaker - Chankaska Creek Ranch, Winery & Distillery

Kasota, MN - Full Time

The Client

Chankaska Creek Ranch, Winery & Distillery has quickly grown to be the second-largest winery in Minnesota. In lush rolling hills and fertile soil of the Southern Minnesota River Valley, lies the award-winning Chankaska Creek Ranch, Winery, and Distillery. On a summer morning, you can see over 13 acres of meticulously tended vines bathed in the warmth of the nurturing sun. Sunsets illuminate the gorgeous landscape and creek that embraces the winery. This place is where magic and memories pair perfectly with a family of wines that are completely redefining the industry with their unique craftsmanship.

Position Description

We seeking an Assistant Winemaker who will fulfill the roles of enologist and cellar master.  The Assistant Winemaker will directly supervise cellar and seasonal help. This person will be required to interview in person and demonstrate several of the skills required for this position. Responsible for representing and supporting the Company’s image and efforts in the technical field and marketplace through participation in public and trade events coordinated by the Marketing department. This role will participate in the development of strategies to accomplish financial goals for the winery.

Reporting Relationships

This position exhibits and fosters a spirit of team collaboration within the company and the winemaking staff. This position reports to the VP of Liquor Operations. The position works in collaboration with the General Manager, Event/ Marketing Coordinator and the Grounds/ Vineyard Manager.

Professional Responsibilities

  • Manages and directs production processes to maximize production capacity and efficiency without compromising adherence to the highest standards of safety, quality, regulatory compliance, and the Company’s vision.
  • Participates in the development of all winery facilities.
  • Proven ability to produce award winning premium wines while maintaining the cost objectives of the winery, including wine/blend decisions, wine movement, finishing and bottling.
  • Assures effective communication among production staff along with consulting winemakers and with all other departments and managers.


  • Have working knowledge of all pieces of cellar equipment including: sorting line equipment, de-stemmer/crushers, presses, cross-flow filters, micro-ox, lees filters, pumps, other harvest equipment, barrels, etc.

  • (50%) Works daily in cellar with extended time during harvest/(50%)Remaining time spent in administrative tasks within the Winery.
  • Directs the execution of the daily Work Orders for Production. Ensures accurate processing, inventory and compliance records required by state and federal agencies.
  • Direct supervision of Cellar Crew to ensure completion of Daily Work Schedule.
  • Assists in training Cellar Crew on proper techniques for jobs such as wine movements and barrel work, based on Standard/Written Cellar Procedures. Develop and implement new ideas for more efficient and effective cellar procedures.
  • Works collaboratively with the VP of Liquor Operations for research, purchasing and maintenance of production equipment and for ensuring adequate physical plant supplies.


  • Responsible for compliance with local, county, state and federal agencies as relates to production including, but not limited to, wastewater, stormwater, hazardous materials, and organic certification.

  • In conjunction with production staff, establishes and directs implementation of operational policies and overall direction of production departments.

  • Participate in planning, research and purchasing of major equipment.
  • Assist in new product development relating to products such a distilled spirits, fortified wines, hard cider and champagne.
  • Participate in label design, marketing activities, sales events and activities, internal and external wine education with key clients or consumer opportunities.
  • Knowledge of Compliance related issues pertaining to TTB and other regulatory agencies for the production and sale of wine - TTB and State of MN filing requirements (understanding the latter is learned and the filing effort is with the assistance of an accountant)


  • Ensure compliance with OSHA regulations.
  • Ensures that standards for and supervision of all production departments are in conformance with or above industry standards, particularly with regard to safety.
  • Leads the Safety Management Committee.


  • Works with the President in hiring and evaluation of performance of Cellar 

  • Working knowledge of company policies and benefits. Ensures conformance with all Company policies among Cellar Personnel.

  • Cooperation with personnel in other departments is always expected.

Day-to-day operations and major items such as:

  • Harvest for production people
  • Major marketing events
  • Sponsored Events
  • Holiday season for other departments

Position Requirements

  • Specific requirements include:
  • 10 or more years production experience, with increasing supervisorial experience.
  • Strong organizational skills.

  • College degree required, preferably a BS in Enology/Fermentation Science or Winemaking.Or equivalent winery experience

  • People management experience, strong skill set required.

  • Computer skills with Microsoft Office - including data entry and compliance tracking/reporting.

  • Strong technical skills, including a hands-on approach to management and understanding of production equipment.

  • Excellent mechanical aptitude with the skills to understand the workings of all winery equipment and the ability to assess need for equipment repairs.

Required skills include

  • Ability to effectively communicate, motivate, and function as a team leader and role model to others. This should be demonstrated through thorough and consistent team building, leadership by example, and pride in the product produced. A sense of humor, professionalism and good people skills required.
  • As with all positions at the winery, other jobs may occasionally arise outside the realm of this job description. Doing other jobs on a fill-in basis is expected of every employee.

  • Computer knowledge and skills. Winemaker Database software fluency. 

  • Ability to multi-task. Big picture team player with strategic vision.

  • Strong verbal, written and presentation skills. We are a professional organization and represent ourselves as such in demeanor and appearance.

  • Attention to detail in all aspects of production.
  • Valid driver’s license.
  • Ability to lift 50 lbs.
  • Ability to work extended hours especially during harvest

Preferred position qualifications include

  • Spanish language skills a plus.
  • Previous experience with all varietals including Ice Wine and Port
Apply: Assistant Winemaker - Chankaska Creek Ranch, Winery & Distillery
* Required fields
First name*
Last name*
Email address*
Phone number*

Attach resume as .pdf, .doc, .docx, .odt, .txt, or .rtf (limit 5MB) or paste resume

Paste your resume here or attach resume file

Human Check*