Monday, July 15, 2019

WineTalent Classifieds: Guest Services Manager in St. Helena, CA

WineTalent is working with our client, Long Meadow Ranch, on a Guest Services Manager role to support Farmstead and Long Meadow Ranch businesses. 

About Long Meadow Ranch: Long Meadow Ranch is a family-owned agricultural enterprise producing grapes and wine, olives and olive oil, grass-fed beef and lamb, fruits, vegetables, and eggs in the Napa Valley, Anderson Valley and Marin County. The Long Meadow Ranch operations also include an acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant, a general store and wine tasting bar in the historic Logan-Ives House, an outdoor cafe, a farmer's market, a working garden and a variety of unique event spaces all located at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch.

About the Opportunity:  We are seeking a Guest Services Manager to be an integral member of our team, providing the highest level of professionalism, customer service and brand ambassadorship for Long Meadow Ranch’s businesses. The Guest Services Manager will be responsible for managing the Guest Services department focusing on providing highly engaged, customer-focused service for our organization. 

The ideal candidate is an enthusiastic individual who is personable and friendly, customer service oriented, motivated by providing the details that create superior guest experiences. 

Handle all incoming inquiries and communications with guests for Long Meadow Ranch via phone, email, social media and online reservation system
Oversee reservation bookings across the company including restaurant, private events, winery visits, wine tastings, food & wine experiences, trade visitors, and housing guests
Provide outreach both internally and externally to generate new business opportunities
Be an ambassador by educating the guests about the LMR philosophy, history, wines and foods
Ensure proper phone etiquette and standard operating procedures are being used by staff and performing routine and spontaneous staff training to ensure the highest level of customer service
Respond to customer feedback on review sites and manage customer service recovery
Provide training to the staff on guest relations, problem resolution and issue escalation
Build, enhance and maintain long-term customer relationships
Create and maintain scripts for interfacing with guests in-person, on the phone, and by email
Follow company standards to ensure reservation confirmations and encourage cross-referrals to other Long Meadow Ranch experiences
Support oversight of customer service to include reviewing current operations, development of new policies to overcome repetitive issues, and ensuring timely response to guest inquiries
Ensure that all policies and procedures, guest experiences and operating activities carried out by team are consistent with company and brand standards
Attend weekly meetings and prepare department updates
Manage the scheduling, coaching, and regular performance assessment of the guest services associates
Manage ticketing platform for all onsite brand events
Manage our various housing spaces including booking and calendar
Oversee general organization and cleanliness of the office areas

Education, Experience and Requirements:
Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management, Hospitality, Communications, Marketing, Business or related
3 years of hospitality industry experience, ideally including work experience in hotels, restaurants, resorts, customer service and special events
Experience with PBX phone systems, Vin65, OpenTable, Google Business as well as digital tools including iPads, iPhones and related technology
Sharp attention to detail with good oral and written communication skills. Able to work in a team environment as well as operate independently
Highly professional in all interpersonal and business dealings
Must be able to have a flexible schedule working weekends and holidays
Creative problem solver with drive and dedication to succeed
Able to lift 40+ lbs
Must have a valid California Driver’s License and maintain a clean driving record
A pre-employment background report is required

Compensation and Benefits
This is a full-time, salaried position
Competitive compensation depending on experience plus benefits including medical/dental insurance, paid vacation and 401(k)

Apply online

About WineTalent: WineTalent is a wine industry focused recruitment company. We have worked closely with LMR on job opportunities for over 7 years. All inquiries will be kept strictly confidential.

WineTalent: The Right People for the Job

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Cranky Recruiter: An Informational Interview Gone Wrong

When Cranky Recruiter is not recruiting, she's networking of course.  I have no qualms dropping my card off at a grocery store tasting if I like how the sales rep is handling himself.  Did you happen to catch my eye at a swim meet wearing a shirt from a local winery?  You better believe I'll soon be asking you what you know about that winery, and possibly slipping my business card in your hand.  For me, networking is a sixth sense.  And it pays off in the long run.

Now, as a recruiter with a career advice blog, often I have job seekers asking me for an informational interview to help them with their job search.  I'm happy to do that.  After one recent encounter I wrote a post about common interview questions.  I also put up some posts that were helpful, and included my interview blooper reel.  But one past blooper was not on there.  One informational interview went terribly wrong.

A couple of years ago, a young wine business analyst asked to grab coffee with me.  She wanted to find out how she could improve her interviewing abilities and get a better job.  I was happy to give her an hour of my time when I was in wine country.  And after how horribly the meeting went, I'm happy to share what not to do in an informational interview.

Dressing for an informational interview, or bedtime?  When she arrived, she looked a bit unkempt.  Her hair was hastily tied up in a bun and she was wearing a wrinkly shirt and jeans.  I could look past this if she was looking for winemaking, vineyard management or other types of production work.  But she wanted a job in finance.  If there is any group that I would expect to be dressed professionally for an interview, it is the finance and accounting group.  I think I dress nicer when I'm gardening than this woman dressed for our meeting.

Be Prepared:  While I like to save paper and store all of my resume on my iPad, I often check to see if someone, especially in an informational interview situation, is prepared with a resume, references, or even a pen.  This woman had nothing.  I did have her resume on my device, but she should really be prepared to wow an interviewer.

Know What You Want:  After some niceties, we settled into the usual questions about how her search was going.  The first thing I wanted to know was what kind of job she wanted.  She said she wanted finance roles, but had no real work experience in finance or accounting.  When asked why she wanted finance, she didn't really know.  She had some friends and family who had worked in those types of roles and thought that would be good for her.  What?  Roles your associates enjoy does not mean you will.  Spend some time researching potential jobs and figure out what works well with your talents, experience and expectations.  For help with that, take a look here:

Be Engaging:  After exploring her job interests and her experience a bit, I told her she needed to really step up her interpersonal skills.  She never really tried to connect with me about things, or ask me follow up questions during the meeting.  She never asked anything about me.  Ok, it is not all about me, but it does pay to at least engage a bit with the person across the table from you.  They are giving you their time, so make them feel appreciated.  I told her this could be a weakness of hers, which led me to the following,

Know Who You are Meeting:  With all of our time being spent on her, I finally told her she really needs to do her homework when she asks someone to meet with her.  I asked her what she knew about me.  After a long pause she said, "I know you work for the company WineTalent."  "And you are a woman."  True on both points.  But really, that was all she knew about me!   Me, Cranky Recruiter, who blogs about the wine industry, has a website all about WineTalent, and maintains plenty of social media sites about me and WineTalent.  I am all things WineTalent.  President, founder, chief blogger, sole proprietor and lowly gofer.  Yes, I work for the company WineTalent and hope one day the company recognizes me for all I've done for it.  And I'm glad she figured I was a woman.  Two great facts for her meeting with me.

Alright, Cranky Recruiter will get her second cup of coffee for the day.  But still...  I gave her my time and wanted to help her.  She should have done some research on who she was meeting to make our time together its most productive.

Second cup of coffee now snugly in my hand.  I stand behind my thoughts on this woman's engagement with me.  But you have to know I have had countless positive informational interviews.  And many have turned into great WineTalent placements.  Yes, I am woman, hear me roar, and I'm happy to grab coffee anytime to help you with your job search.  Just make it worth our while.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Prepping for the Interview: Common Interview Questions

Last month I was meeting with a wine industry contact who is just starting to look for a new job after many years in a highly demanding position.  She asked me if I had a list of interview questions that she might be asked.  Why yes I do, and here they are:
  • Tell me a little about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in this position?
  • What do you know about this company?
  • Why are you looking for a new position?
  • What has been your biggest challenge in a past role, and how did you overcome it, if you did?
  • What is your biggest strength, and biggest weakness?
  • Where do you want to be in five years?
  • What type of manager are you?  How would your staff answer that question?
  • How did you get into the wine industry?
  • Do you have any questions for me?
Doing your homework on a potential employer can really pay off.  If you know how to answer the basic questions with truthful and insightful answers, you could set yourself apart from any other interviewee.  On there is a great compilation of 31 commonly asked questions and potential ways to answer them.  Take a look at it here.  Glassdoor also have a good list of common interview questions here.

Now, while you are doing your research and coming up with your answers to these questions, there may still be a question during your interview that will leave you dumbfounded.  This is okay, and can happen to anyone.  One way to deal with this is to say you want to rephrase the question to make sure you understand it.  Then restate the question as you understood it.  Saying it again bides you a little time, and also tends to allow you to formulate an answer that is appropriate to the question.

Some interviewers like to ask off-putting or seemingly unusual questions to rattle you a bit.  It gives them a chance to see how you handle yourself, how you deal with things that are out of the ordinary, and also how you can tie things together.  I think it is okay to ask for clarification or get their input on why they are asking that question--if you feel comfortable doing that.  Getting an interviewer to engage with you as an equal can help you show your strengths and cultural fit for the position.

Remember, if you are interviewing it means you've met their basic requirements for the position.  Now you want to get in there and create a connection with the interviewer and show off your strengths for the position.  Your interviewer most often wants the meeting to go well.  If she can find the right talent for the job, she has accomplished her goal of interviewing.  So go in there with that in mind, and help her be successful in her hiring mission.

And, a quick list of some blog posts that might be helpful in prepping for the interview:

If things go poorly, lick your wounds and read my blooper reel for some mistakes other interviewers have made when meeting with me.  Not every mistake costs you the  job.

And after the interview, say thank you.

Good luck, and remember to tell yourself you are a winner!  (Read one of my favorite tips on interviewing here:

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

WineTalent Classifieds: Restaurant Manager in Napa Valley

WineTalent is working with our client, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch on a Restaurant Manager position. Long Meadow Ranch is a family-owned and operated producer and purveyor of world-class wine and food that is economically successful and socially responsible using diversified, sustainable, and organic farming methods.

Long Meadow Ranch is a family-owned and operated producer and purveyor of world-class wine and food that is economically successful and socially responsible using diversified, sustainable, and organic farming methods.

Long Meadow Ranch’s restaurant at Farmstead showcases the seasonal, ingredient-driven American farmhouse cooking of executive chef Stephen Barber. Housed in a former nursery barn, our 110-seat restaurant features an authentic farm-to-table menu. The ingredients are foraged from local sources and feature Long Meadow Ranch’s award-winning wines, handcrafted extra virgin olive oils, grass-fed beef, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables.

Long Meadow Ranch has an exciting opportunity for a Restaurant Service Manager to manage the delivery of a consistent, customer focused experience. Under the direction of the General Manager, the Restaurant Manager will provide staff training and coaching to reach operational excellence. Actively involved on the restaurant floor, the Restaurant Manager will provide oversight of the staff and will address customer service issues. This role will also manage the day-to-day operations of the restaurant including ordering product and optimizing profits.


Actively engage in service for the majority of working hours. Directly perform hands-on work on an ongoing basis to manage employee performance, provide feedback and coaching, and otherwise role model appropriate behaviors in the restaurant. Lead by example and maintain a strong floor presence. Support staff throughout the day- get your hands dirty.
Maintain procedures and standards for team service. Correct and coach employees as needed.
Ensure positive guest experience in all areas. Respond promptly to complaints and take action to resolve guest issues. Maintain guest satisfaction by monitoring and auditing food, beverage and service offerings.
Build relationships with preferred patrons, recognize special occasions and PX guests.
Ensure that all food safety, food quality standards, workplace safety standards, customer service standards and company policies are met. Comply with all Department of Environmental Health food safety regulations.
Maintain a facility that is safe, secure and healthy as well as consistently “inspection ready” in all areas including front of house and back of house. Following systems established by the General Manager, maintain facilities as needed including mechanical systems, equipment, operation of lights, music and decor.
Maintain standard operating procedures as established by the General Manager.
Under the supervision of the General Manager, manage the recruitment, selection, training, counseling and discipline of front of house staff. Maintain written documentation of discipline on company templates.
Lead daily pre-shift meetings and communicate menu features, service points and beverage training. Develop weekly focus topics for service points.
Open and close the restaurant as needed. Support the management team when someone on the team is out on leave or sick.
Keep the General Manager fully informed of all issues and take prompt corrective action when necessary or suggest alternate courses of action.
Maintain a favorable working relationship with all company employees to foster and promote a cooperative, positive and respectful workplace culture.
Collaborate with the General Manager to develop an effective plan for training including food & wine education, one-on-one training, communication of company standards & policies and Long Meadow Ranch brand training.
Conduct regular staff performance reviews and provide growth opportunities.
Meet restaurant financial objectives by helping to analyze variances; initiate corrective actions; develop and implement strategies to increase average meal checks.
Order restaurant supplies as needed including coffee, tea, guest supplies, menu paper. Approve and code invoices per company standards and policies.
Be responsible for all cash handling, banking and accounting procedures including end of day reconciliation and tip cash out systems.
Follow up on credit card charge inquiries.
Support Events Operations Manager with oversight and execution of private events
Attend weekly BEO meetings to facilitate communication from events sales team to execution team.
Post sales and close payments at the conclusion of each event.
Oversee rental equipment load-in and check-out as needed.
Act as a main contact for the client during the event and provide regular communication and
feedback to the kitchen.
Coordinate and supervise daily operation of meeting setups and service.
Control of labor costs and inventory of event equipment.
Qualifications and Requirements

At least 5 years of experience in a fast paced restaurant. 
Proven experience managing and coaching service staff in a fast paced restaurant setting.
Strong organizational and communication skills to manage staff, interact with management and resolve customer service issues.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
Valid driver’s license and maintain a safe driving record.
A pre-employment background check is required.
Able to lift 40+ lbs.
Compensation and Benefits

This is a full-time, salaried position. 
Competitive compensation depending on experience plus benefits including medical/dental insurance, paid vacation and 401(k).

All inquiries will be kept completely confidential
WineTalent: The Right People for the Job
To apply, please email your resume to

Friday, May 17, 2019

WineTalent Classifieds: Central Coast Assistant Winemaker for Luxury Winery

WineTalent is working with our confidential winery client on an Assistant Winemaker position on California's beautiful Central Coast.  This position will be working with the winemaker and the vineyard manager to craft exceptional wines.  The wines are made from all estate fruit in a state of the art cellar.  The Assistant Winemaker will also be involved in industry and consumer wine events representing the wines and the winery.

  • Carry out day-to-day winemaking duties in the cellar.
  • Handle winemaking activites from the vineyard through to bottling.  
  • Work in conjunction with the vineyard team on grape quality.  Perform berry sampling and determine pick dates.
  • Handle crush pad activities including grape receiving and fruit sorting.
  • Schedule and monitor daily cellar duties including harvest, barrel management, sanitation and cellar organization.
  • Perform lab analysis and prepare lab samples for outside lab analysis.
  • Assist the winemaker in blends and trials.
  • Supervise and train harvest interns.
  • Writing work orders and carrying them out in conjunction with cellar crew including pumpovers, punchdowns, innoculation, additions, pressing and racking.
  • Work in conjunction with the winery staff on marketing activities including on-site tastings and events, local and regional tasting events and occassional overnight travel for high-profile industry events.
  • Keep accurate records of harvest and fermentation activities in MS Excel and cellar software system.
  • Maintain inventory of dry goods and packaging.
  • Handle quality control activities on all dry goods and packaging supplies.
  • At least 5 years of winemaking experience in an ultra-premium or luxury winery.
  • Bachelors degree in Viticulture and Enology, Fermentation Science, Chemistry or related discipline.
  • Strong attention to detail and computer/software savvy.
  • Ability to represent the winemaking operations and the winery at industry and consumer events.
  • Good public speaking and presentation skills
  • Spanish language skills highly desirable.
  • Wine education/sommelier coursework a plus.

To Apply:  Please email your resume to
All Inquiries will be kept strictly confidential

WineTalent:  The Right People for the Job