Friday, October 16, 2020

WineTalent Classifieds: Information Technology Manager

WineTalent is working with our confidential client on an Information Technology Manager role in the Napa Valley.

About the Company:  Our client is a well-respected and long-established winery in the Napa Valley.  The company has several brands with widespread distribution and a strong direct-to-consumer business.  

About the Position:  The IT Manager will provide ongoing technical support to staff for all computer problems and manage company’s outsourced IT vendor. Along with the outsourced vendor, the IT Manager will manage company-wide hardware and application infrastructure.  This role will provide support for the implementation of new digital platforms, including vendor selection and project management.


Primary point-of-contact to third-party IT support company.

Day-to-day oversight of systems and troubleshooting of issues.  On the ground hardware and software support for all company computer users. 

Installs and maintains servers, desktop computers, notebook computers, smart phones, peripherals, printers, etc. Keeps current inventory of all devices and maintains current licenses.

Maintains working knowledge of cybersecurity threats, and ensures company has appropriate protections in place.

Works with third-party vendor to select, configure and install all software, including upgrades to existing software.

Standardization of business software across the organization.

Creates and maintains batch files, drive mappings, login scripts, and menus in order to provide appropriate secure user access to applications and data. 

Oversight of the entire network infrastructure, with responsibilities that include server upkeep, security upgrades, planning all infrastructure upgrades or changes, managing contracts with vendors, and managing the IT department's budget.

Managing the development, maintenance and technical support of the network, servers, telecom and operating systems including external application contractors.

Ensures connectivity of monitoring and alarm lines.  

Manages and maintains all communications systems used throughout organization.

Collaboration with all departments to determine technology needs, to ensure problems are resolved swiftly and completely, and to understand the business IT needs of each department.


Bachelor degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, or related discipline.  Work experience in lieu of a degree will also be considered.

4+ years of IT support work experience in a similar sized company (50 +/- users)

Experience with NAV highly desirable.  

Excellent communication skills and proven ability to work across an organization with many different types of departments.  

Service-oriented, collaborative approach to IT support.

Experience managing new hardware and software implementation projects with attention to budget and timeline.

Innovative team member in a newly created position with a flexible, can-do attitude to ensure current IT needs of company and departments are met and future needs are anticipated and planned for.

Compensation and Benefits:

This is a full-time, salaried position

Competitive compensation depending on experience plus benefits including medical, dental and vision coverage, paid time off and 401(k).

About WineTalent:  WineTalent is a wine industry focused recruitment company. We work closely with our clients and our job seekers to find the right fit of talents, experience and work environment. All inquiries will be kept strictly confidential.

Please email resume and all inquiries to  

WineTalent:  The Right People for the Job

Thursday, October 15, 2020

WineTalent Classifieds: Cost Accountant in the Napa Valley

WineTalent is working with our confidential client on a Cost Accountant role within the Napa Valley.

About the Company:  Our client is a well-respected and long-established winery in the Napa Valley.  The company has several brands with widespread distribution and a strong direct-to-consumer business.  

About the Position:  The Cost Accountant will apply the principles of accounting to analyze financial information and prepare financial reports by compiling information, preparing account reconciliations, and utilizing appropriate accounting control procedures.  The Cost Accountant provides accounting support in inventory, COGS reporting and analysis, account reconciliations, monthly close activities and end of year accounting resolution. 


  • Assists in month-end accounting close by performing accurate and timely completion of assigned financial close activities. 
  • Performs complex analysis functions, reviews sub-ledger transactions and posts entries to general ledger accounts. 
  • Responsible for the preparation of more complex account reconciliation and analysis.
  • Perform analysis and forecasts on project and operational production costs.  
  • Recommends and supports improvement opportunities and/or risks based on review and analysis of variances. 
  • Develop and report key metrics to senior management. 
  • Applies cost principles to analyze project costs and reconcile variances.
  • Supports audit and regulatory requests, generates ad hoc analyses reports ensuring needed financial information is presented clearly, consistently, and on time.  
  • Assists with specialized and complex assignments.


  • Bachelor degree in Business Administration, Accounting, Finance or closely related discipline.  Experience in lieu of a degree will also be considered.

  • Can-do attitude, with at least 5 years of closely related work experience.

  • Knowledge of finance, accounting, and cost control principles including Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. 

Desirable Qualifications:

  • Experience with NAV, Adaptive Planning and Vintrace strongly desirable. 

  • Experience in manufacturing (including but not limited to wine industry) accounting highly desirable.

  • Strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office, including Excel and PowerPoint.

  • Proven effective communication skills, both verbally and in writing, working with various levels throughout an organization.

Compensation and Benefits:

  • This is a full-time, salaried position

  • Competitive compensation depending on experience plus benefits including medical, dental and vision coverage, paid time off and 401(k).

About WineTalent:  WineTalent is a wine industry focused recruitment company. We work closely with our clients and our job seekers to find the right fit of talents, experience and work environment. All inquiries will be kept strictly confidential.

WineTalent:  The Right People for the Job

Apply today: Email resume to

Monday, October 5, 2020

2020 Wine Business Monthly Salary Survey

The 2020 Wine Business Monthly's Salary Survey can be viewed here:

Keep in mind that the salary information was put together in February 2020, right before the pandemic brought many businesses to a standstill.  Since then the pandemic has had a dramatic effect on employment in the wine industry, as well as many other industries. 

I was happy to see the information on gender pay in the wine industry.  Western Management Group is the company that puts together the salary survey data.  The company also does surveys for many industries, and this year the data was broken down by gender.  On page 75, Donna Bowman, survey director  of Western Management Group, notes that "wine has the best looking chart of anybody.  It's almost comparable pay.  They're really doing a good job as an industry to make sure the pay is comparable.  There's still room for improvement, but the wine industry is always a star performer."  

Let's keep on improving.  The job outlook will keep on improving and we'll be getting back to business soon.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Book Review: The Sun is a Compass by Caroline Van Hemert

Getting out into nature is my favorite way to recharge.  I like to pedal along local trails, paddle in our local waterways and hike or run in the hills whenever possible.  But I've never thought to self power myself over 4,000 miles of North America's wildest areas.  The Sun is a Compass is Caroline Van Hemert's story about the trip she and her husband made from Bellingham, Washington north to the Arctic Ocean and backdown through the Brooks Range to Kotzebue, Alaska. Their 4,000 mile trek included miles paddled in their custom crafted, handmade rowboats and long stretches of remote landscape hiked or skied in Canada and Alaska.                                                                                                                                   

Caroline is a native Alaskan, and is an intrepid traveler.  She also set out on this trip after finishing her Ph.D. dissertation in ornithology.  Through the story, Caroline weaves in stories of the birds she sees during the trip, giving glimpses of the birds' journeys and the effects climate change is having on their futures.  On a journey of this magnitude, birds sometimes were the only wildlife the pair would see for days, and they were always a welcome sight for Caroline.

To travel to the areas the couple did took extensive planning.  For months they were pouring over maps, guidebooks and consulting others about the trip.  My favorite statement about how big an undertaking this was is when Caroline sees the topographical maps her husband, Pat, taped on the wall, and they are tilting crookedly.  This irritates her.  Pat's response shows just what a big undertaking this was.  The tilting wasn't due to him sloppily taping up maps, but due to the curvature of the earth.  "The scale is that big"

Planning also involved packing up supply boxes of food that would be dropped off for them along the route.  This is a journey of endurance, and their food supplies were full of high calorie, easily prepared, often dehydrated foods.  The resupply boxes were always a welcome sight for the pair after traveling hundred of miles.  The hardest wait comes for a resupply box in the Noatak Valley.  Caroline and her husband arrive and expect the supply box to be delivered after they call the pilot.  But when they call on their satellite phone, weather conditions have the plane grounded.  Day after day passes, with the couple losing energy and nearing starvation.  The sight of that plane on the 5th day was euphoric, and the items in that box were quickly eaten until they were sated.  

Caroline and her husband have some magical sightings of animals.  They also have memorable interactions with people during their trip.  My favorite story is of Ricky who lives in a 140-square foot house in Noatak Valley.  Of course when you are the only person in the middle of nowhere, when two travelers set foot near you, you welcome them in, warm them up, feed them and trade stories.  Ricky was a remarkable man, one of several personalities they meet during the trip.  

This book proved to be a great escape from the recent smoky, hot air we've been experiencing on the West coast.  Well written and very informative.  Take the journey and read this book.  

Monday, September 14, 2020

Book Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh


What happens when a botanist gets her hand on a book about the meaning of flowers?  She gets one of her quickest reads in years.  

The Book:  The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a novel about young Victoria, a girl who is in the foster care system in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The story follows her life from her adolescent years as a foster child, through her emancipation from foster care on to her young adult years.  Victoria was given up as an infant, and she then bounced around the foster care system for 18 years.  The descriptions of her experiences in various potential adoption situations, followed by her life as an adolescent and teen in group homes vividly portrays what many children in the foster care system experience.  

The story may resonate with me because it is set in San Francisco and in the North Coast viticultural area of California.  Victoria lives most of her childhood within the San Francisco Bay Area.  Her life really changes when a vineyard owner becomes her guardian.  The vineyard owner, Elizabeth, farms her own land and welcomes young Victoria into her home and teaches her all about grape growing.  Elizabeth also has an extensive lexicon of flowers, knowing the meaning of each flower in the garden.  Elizabeth finds an apt pupil in Victoria, and they form their own language of flowers during their evolving relationship.  

Victoria is a strong willed, and sometimes violent child who has a hard time finding a family that will become her adopted family.  She is taken in by Elizabeth, and almost becomes Elizabeth's daughter, but it doesn't happen.  You see the relationship build, but also how it is marred during their time together.  

Once Victoria turns 18 she is no longer a ward of the state, and she has to find her own way in the world.  Homeless in a park, she finds a job at a flower shop after she wows the owner with the exquisite and meaningful bouquets she presents to her.  Victoria is a natural florist, and can find the perfect flowers for every customer, for every situation and for every need.  Quickly she is indispensable at the flower shop and she is starting to establish herself as an adult in San Francisco.

Victoria does fall in love with someone who understands her affection for flowers.  They form a solid relationship.  All relationships are fraught with problems and misunderstandings, this one is no different.  The relationship is severed, suddenly, by Victoria, and you wonder how she is going to keep herself together.

Reconciliation does happen, on Victoria's terms, and her future happiness is probable.  Reading this story, I really appreciate that Vanessa Diffenbaugh does not paint a portrait of innocence and victimhood in her descriptions of Victoria.  She shows Victoria's faults as well as her talents.  

The Botany:  This book talks about flowers and their meanings.  In Victorian times (it should be noted that our main character is Victoria) flowers and their secret meanings were used to communicate messages between people.  Flowers continue to communicate messages now.  Here are the flowers and their messages that I'm interpreting this this summer:  

Fennel = Strength.  Fennel is growing with abandon in my garden this year.  I spied a flock of goldfinches pecking out fennel seed yesterday, and fennel is a great habitat for Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars.

Grapevine = Abundance.  With the grapevines being laden with fruit right now, you can see the abundance around you.

Oregano = Joy.  I have planted oregano in every incarnation of it this spring.  Variegated, Greek, Italian.  I hope it brings a lot of joy to my household.

Sage = Good Health and a Long Life.  My sages this year have been so drought tolerant and are thriving everywhere I have them in the garden.  I hope it signals good health and a long life for my family during the pandemic and afterwards.

Wheat = Prosperity.  At the beginning of the pandemic my straw bale sprouted and a small crop of wheat was soon flourishing by my compost pile.  

Scarlet Pimpernel = Change.  Every spring this flower finds itself in my garden, along my walkways and places where I least expect it.  I have a new patch of it coming up in a recently planted flowerbed.  I hope this brings good change.  We could all use it.  

Definitely a well written book.  The Language of Flowers was a fun discovery.