Benchmark Consulting

Viticulturist - 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 vineyard 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 Viticulturist 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.  We currently own just over 200 acres of estate vineyards. We are in the process of replanting, improving and transitioning to Organic and Biodynamic viticulture.  We are looking for an individual whose past leadership experience and qualities will lead our already talented vineyard 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

Phantom Creek Estate is currently seeking a Viticulturist with a biodynamic and organic background.  This person will be responsible for providing in-house viticultural services and managing the small team of vineyard managers, foremen and vineyard workers.  The goal is to grow exceptional quality grapes consistent with needs of the winery in order to achieve the goals of the business. 

REPORTING RELATIONSHIPS

The Viticulturist will report to the General Manager and will work very closely with the Winemaker.

PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES

This is a technical position, focused on improving the quality of grapes produced in PCE’s estate vineyards, while maximizing the efficiency of vineyard operations.  The Viticulturist will be the key driver of organic and biodynamic farming at PCE.  They will work very closely with the Winemaker, and play a key role in the production of outstanding single vineyard wines.  They will oversee and support the Vineyard Managers, providing direction for all viticultural activities, including irrigation, nutrient amendments, spray programs, pest and disease management, canopy management, pruning, and organic and biodynamic practices.    

Technical Field Work

  • Organizing and interpreting all plant, soil nutrient and water status analyses.
  • Scouting for pests and diseases on all properties.
  • Regular and ongoing visual inspection and assessment of all vineyards and blocks.
  • Yield prediction.
  • Other plant measurements and record keeping, such as pruning weights, canopy area assessments, bunch and berry data, etc.
  • Managing all viticulture trials. 

Organics and Biodynamics

  • Working with certification bodies to ensure all requirements for both organic and biodynamic certification are met. 
  • Sourcing all materials and consumables required for organic and biodynamic farming, including compost and compost ingredients, manure, fungicides, biodynamic preparations, etc.
  • Assist Vineyard Managers in the practical application of organics and biodynamics.
  • Responsible for all record keeping and paperwork associated with organic and biodynamic farming.  

Administrative Tasks

  • Establishing annual operations and capital budgets.
  • Overseeing all vineyard developments and replanting.
  • Continuing to search for new technologies to improve grape quality and vineyard efficiency.
  • Record keeping and analysis of all technical field data and trials. 
  • Recommend and implement Vineyard database system.
  • Record keeping associated with sprays and other vineyard inputs.
  • Record keeping for all harvested grape weights.  
  • Assist with outside grower contracts.

Vineyard Work (10%)

  • Leading by example in the vineyard, and assisting as required, including demonstrations, tractor work, organic and biodynamic activities, and supervision of seasonal and local crews.  

PROFESSIONAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Bachelors (4 Year) degree or equivalent in Viticulture or related plant science
  • 3 - 5 years of general viticulture experience with a focus in Organic and Biodynamic farming.
  • • Experience and knowledge with high end, luxury winegrowing.  Attention to detail a must.
  • • Experience and knowledge with cold Climate growing hillside terroir preferred.
  • • Knowledge/experience with Pest identification/monitoring, Irrigation Water Management and Vine Nutrition beneficial.
  • Computer skills including database management, spreadsheets, word processing
  • Spanish language skills a plus.

Technical & management skills:

  • PCA & PAL licenses preferred but not required.
  • Valid drivers license with a clean record necessary.

Personal & interpersonal skills:

  • Good organizational skills
  • Effective communication skills
  • Ability to work well within a team environment and collaborate effectively.
  • Must be willing to work a flexible schedule with extended hours, especially during harvest.

In addition, the selected individual will share and embrace Phantom 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.  This position can develop into a Senior Viticulturist role within the company for the right person.   

Apply: Viticulturist - Phantom Creek Estates
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