Benchmark Consulting

Winemaker - Phantom Creek Estates

Okanagan Valley, BC - Full Time

THE CLIENT:

The client is a family-owned winery in the Okanagan Valley.  Their vision is to be recognized as one of the leading family wineries in the world. They own estate vineyards in the best locations in the Southern Okanagan including the Black Sage Bench and the Golden Mile as well as in the new and exciting Similkameen Valley.  They are focusing on Bordeaux and Alsatian varieties and have world class consultants in each discipline.  The 80,000 sq ft. winery is under construction.  It will have a beautiful hospitality experience and a three level gravity fed cellar with state of the art winemaking equipment. Their mission is to make their guests feel a part of something special.

THE OPPORTUNITY:

This is a unique opportunity to get in on the ground floor as the Winemaker of one of the most exciting new wineries in North America.  The Okanagan has been described by some as a cross between the Napa Valley and Yosemite in it’s beauty.  It’s located in South Eastern British Columbia - in Canada’s only desert.  The Okanagan has soils and a climate very well suited to Ultra Premium Bordeaux varietals.  The Similkameen is an exciting new viticultural area where Alsatian varietals are expected to do extremely well.  

This is a remarkable opportunity to work with a dedicated owner to build an luxury, legacy business.  It’s an opportunity to work with a talented team of devoted wine industry professionals and consultants in some of the best vineyard sites in Canada.  The new winery is a three tier gravity fed winery with a fantastic mix of new world equipment and old world character (Pellenc destemmer and optical sorter, all new equipment, new tanks, oak tanks and foudre). We are looking for an individual whose past leadership experience and qualities will build our winemaking team and result in securing our brand as the best of the best in the Okanagan and recognized as one of the leading family wineries in the world.

LOCATION:

The position is located in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada.

THE POSITION:

The Winemaker is responsible for the overall leadership, management, direction and coordination of all strategic planning and execution as it relates to all winemaking and winery operations.   The Winemaker is responsible for working with consultants to develop and manage Winemaking and Viticultural strategies and protocols to allow PCE to reach its wine quality goals. He/she will ensure that wine quality is outstanding and constantly improving, therefore positioning PCE as one of the leading family wineries in the world.    The current production is approximately 20K cases growing to 50K cases in harvest 2028 and to remain at this level.

REPORTING RELATIONSHIPS:

The Winemaker works collaboratively with and reports to the General Manager while also having key interaction with the Chairman (owner) and Board of Directors.  The Winemaker is also responsible for collaborating extensively with the Viticulturist and Vineyard team. 

PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES:

The person in this hands-on position is responsible for directing all winemaking activities, ensuring the highest quality in support of stylistic goals.  The Winemaker plans and implements improvements in the vineyards and winemaking procedures while helping define the emerging style(s) of PCE wines. This position requires a spirit of collaboration within the PCE winemaking team, as well as with the entire PCE team.

Viticulture:

  • Responsible for working with the Viticulturist to develop and refine viticulture techniques and protocols that maximize the quality of fruit produced from estate vineyards.   
  • Responsible for overseeing all vineyard establishments and redevelopments.  
  • Responsible for sourcing all necessary fruit from growers to meet business plan. 
  • Responsible for identifying new technologies to improve vineyard quality. 

Winemaking:

  • Responsible for developing and refining Winemaking techniques and practices that maximize the quality of wines produced at PCE.
  • Responsible for winery construction and equipment purchases relating to winemaking.
  • Responsible for ensuring PCE business plan goals for wine quantities and qualities are met.
  • Responsible for hiring, training and managing the Assistant Winemaker, Lab Technician, and other cellar staff.  
  • Responsible for developing annual and long term operational budgets, and ensuring they are adhered to.
  • Responsible for all winery record keeping and monthly winemaking reports to GM 
  • Ultimately responsible for wine quality.  

Media/PR:

  • Participate in company promotional events and activities, both on and off site.
  • Participate in Winemaker Dinners.
  • Meet with and entertain wine media, wine writers, key industry personnel, VIP’s and other important winery guests.
  • Represent PCE at on- and off-site events and trade shows
  • Contribute to written marketing material through blog posts, wine technical sheets, wine club letters, tasting notes, etc. 

PROFESSIONAL REQUIREMENTS:

Specific requirements include:

  • 5 or more years of winemaking, vineyard and people management experience with increasing responsibility for decision making.
  • College degree required, preferably a BS in Enology/Fermentation Science and/or Viticulture.
  • Luxury, boutique production winemaking experience with demonstrated results.
  • Enthusiasm, a sense of humor, self-starter attitude, flexibility and a positive outlook.
  • Commitment to excellence, high standards and successful execution of ideas.

Required skills include:

  • Ability to collaborate with the consulting winemaker on key decisions.  
  • Ability to communicate proactively and precisely with all Phantom Creek Estates team members.
  • Ability to work independently, as well as collaborate closely with other members of the Phantom Creek Team
  • Advanced wine tasting skills including:  ability to detect and discriminate subtle differences in wine, such as acidity, alcohol, tannins, fruit and wood flavors, flaws, and textural and mouth feel elements.
  • Interest in continuing to challenge knowledge and improve skills in all areas of fine wine production.
  • Strong leadership skills. Ability to motivate and mentor members of the winemaking and vineyard teams.  
  • Ability and willingness to represent the winery in the professional community including but not limited to:  speaking at conferences and presenting winery sponsored or conducted trials and/or research.
  • Demonstrated computer knowledge and skills including Excel, Word and winemaking software 
  • Strong verbal, written and presentation skills.

Preferred job qualifications include:

  • Spanish language skills a plus.
  • Experience and Proficiency in Vintrace.
  • Experience with organic and biodynamic farming practices. 

In addition, the selected individual will share and embracePhantom Creek Estates culture that includes a passion for excellence, innovation and fun. Compassion, confidence, patience and a highly developed sense of humor are also necessary for success.

Apply: Winemaker - Phantom Creek Estates
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