Wednesday, December 21, 2016

WineTalent Classifieds: Director of Winemaking Position in the Central Valley

WineTalent is working with our client, O’Neill Vintners and Distillers, on a Director of Winemaking position at their Parlier, CA location.  O’Neill is a family owned and operated company producing wines and spirits for customers throughout North America.  The company is a premier bulk wine producer with a state-of-the-art production facility and a team of winemakers dedicated to quality production.  This is an exciting opportunity to join a growing company. 

Roles and Responsibilities: 
  • Oversee all aspects of wine production.
  • Hire, direct and manage winemaking staff.
  • Direct winemaking and wine blending to satisfy bulk and bottling programs according to volume, specification and style.
  • Develop and maintain consistent wine styles for key customers using sales and production data.
  • Interact with Grower Relations team on grape schedules and picking decisions.
  • Ensure safe and efficient cellar operations.
  • Interact with the Operations team on new equipment and infrastructure needs.
  • Work with the sales team to ensure availability of wines for various programs and plan for long-term inventory.
  • Ensure strong commitment to customer relationships an involvement in routine customer meetings.
  • Winemaking department budgeting, planning, and forecasting. 

  • Bachelor’s degree in Viticulture and Enology, Food Science, Fermentation Science, Chemical Engineering, Process Engineering or related. 
  • At least 7 years of winemaking experience in a winemaking facility.
  • Personnel management experience. 
  • Proven palate with the ability to evaluate wines with confidence and clarity.
  • Strong organizational, problem-solving and analytical skills. 
  • Ability to work within a dynamic organization with changing priorities and workflow.
  • Proven ability to manage multiple projects concurrently. 
  • Prior budgeting and P&L management experience.

WineTalent is an executive search firm focused on the wine industry.  If you are interested in applying for this position, please email your resume to  All communications will be kept strictly confidential. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Book Report: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

This past week I sneaked away for a bit to visit the heartland and see my son's graduation from Army Basic Training.  Heading out to Missouri, I also tucked away a book in my carry-on.  I had started up Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver a few weeks ago, but homelife and work outcompeted for my time.  My mother, a reader who devoured the book in under a week, wholeheartedly endorsed the book.  She does have a knack for finding just the right book for me to read,  and I vowed to finish the book during this trip.

Seeing my son after 10 weeks was such a thrill.  He stood taller, acted so respectfully and still loved his family.  Time stood still for the moments my family had together with him, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with him.  But all great things come to an end, and our son shipped off for Norfolk, VA and we headed back home.

Diving into the book again, it was ironic that I had just come from the frigid winter Missouri just started.  This California girl has lived out of state only two times, first for a few months in North Carolina and then for 3 years in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I've had a little taste of cold weather and life outside of the Golden State; but I decided long ago a small taste was all I wanted and quickly moved back to California.  Now I live in California's Central Valley, often called the salad bowl of the United States.  That's because of our temperate, mediterranean climate and acres of year-round farming.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is the Kingsolver family's experience living off of the land in southern Appalachia, an area we gardeners would probably think of as USDA Hardiness Zone 7, with the first frost coming on November 15th and the last frost on April 15th with a low of -15 degrees C (5 degrees F) for the year.  That's much colder than here in California, but warmer than Missouri.  So, with winter quickly approaching, reading about her family's experience living off the land for a year was quite interesting.

Life Similarities:  I have to say that this book may have me peering at myself through a different geographic and generational lens.  Barbara and her family have a rambling, wooded country property with about a 3,500 square foot garden plot.  She has gardened throughout her life, and grew up in the south's tobacco country on a farm.  She has planted asparagus, leafy greens and various other plants at her residences throughout her adult life.

I too grew up on rambling country plot with an extensive garden plot with orchards, a chicken-house and the occasional goose, turkey or goat around the yard.  My parents went "back to the land" and built their own house and established gardens wherever something would grow.  That required good soil, WATER, and sun.  We ate homegrown produce throughout the year, and preserved as much of the bounty as possible.  As an adult, I've owned my own garden nursery company, had a greenhouse and always keep a small kitchen garden.  Right now my citrus trees are producing their first crop and my bees are buzzing contentedly in their hive.  Homemade preserves line my pantry and my freezer is stock full of tomato puree and pesto.

While Kingsolver has built a livelihood around her writing, I have had the good fortune of building a livelihood within the agriculture business.  The wine business is quite glamorous in many regards, but it is still an agricultural one.  Farmers deal with the elements, plan harvests and manage their land the best they can.

Farming Trend:  In the last few years we have had a boon of "back to the farm" converts.  The word locavore was the New Oxford American Dictionary's Word of the Year in 2007, which ironically is the year this book was published.  Farm-to-table dining is all the rage today.  My hero Michael Pollan hooked me with The Botany of Desire, kept me reading his next books and now I keep coming back for his Netflix documentary series Cooked.

Teaching others about agriculture:  As Barbara Kingsolver discusses, educational gardens are popping up all over.  Probably about 15 years ago I spearheaded a school garden project here in Sacramento with the intention of allowing urban children to learn about growing food.  This garden is  now one of 54 school garden sites in the district,  and an incubator for sustainable and green projects within the district.  I do want to give complete credit for the vibrancy of the project to the School Garden Director, a woman who tirelessly raises funds and provides educational opportunities to Sacramento City students throughout the area.  I may like to start a garden, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to keep a garden going.

Working in Agriculture:  Working with wonderful farmers and vintners is very rewarding, and brings me very close to the production of food and wine.  Working on roles in agricultural operations, vineyard management and farming brings me up-close and personal with the people who produce the food and wine we eat.  These are all very talented and passionate individuals.  They live the farm-to-table movement on a daily basis.

Yearning for my own piece of heaven:  So reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was quite engaging.  And I have to say a bit envy-causing.  Today I don't live on a big spread where I can walk the dog and check for morels on the back 40.  I can no longer run to the chicken house to get the eggs.  Luckily, my chicken soup no longer has feathers in it like when I was growing up, but that was delicious chicken soup!

Perhaps Animal, Vegetable, Miracle would have seemed more earth shattering if I'd picked it up right upon publication.  But reading it now, I enjoyed the contrast of farming in California versus Virginia, and my children are close in age to the ages of Barbara Kingsolver's children when she wrote the book.  My 3rd grader would love to raise chickens for profit, and my older children are active in sustainable endeavors including beekeeping, falconry and brewing (brewing may be more of a local play, but still quite suitable for the locavore movement).  Thinking it over when I planned to write this, I decided I was just jealous of Kingsolver's garden.  I want to finish up this post and run out in my lettuce fields to weed them and then go check on my hens.  But I can't do that.  I'm envious.

A consolation prize may be the recipes her family included in the book.  Loving to bake bread as I do, her husband put in some notes on how to quickly bake bread for the family.  And her daughter put in several recipes.  Tonight I'm trying the Pumpkin Soup in its Own Shell, using my Halloween cinderella pumpkin I picked up at Cool Patch Pumpkins, less than an hour away.  Read the book, try to eat local and see how you can make it work for yourself.  You just may see a bit of yourself in the book, like I did.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

WineTalent Classifieds: Accounting Manager for Long Meadow Ranch Wine Estates

WineTalent is working with our client, Long Meadow Ranch, on an Accounting Manager role in St. Helena, CA. 

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 produces award-winning wines, handcrafted extra virgin olive oils, grass-fed beef, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables. 

Long Meadow Ranch has a unique opportunity for an Accountant to join the administration to provide quality customer service to the ranch management team, business partners, customers and vendors. Reporting to the Vice President of Operations, the Accounting Manager will be responsible for the financial reporting and analysis, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and other general accounting functions for Long Meadow Ranch Wine Estates. The Accounting Manager will follow generally accepted accounting practices, adhering to the policies and procedures set forth by the company.  

Hold accountability for the preparation of monthly financials including handling the month end-close process.
Posting all required monthly journal entries, reconcile inventory in multiple locations, reconcile other balance sheet accounts as required, and perform overhead allocations.
Reporting on any significant budget variances.
Manage daily accounting tasks including: Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll, Bank reconciliations, daily banking tasks.
Assist with all accounting aspects of Human Resources for Wine Estates including time card and PTO tracking, EDD reporting, workers’ compensation management and policy development.
Monitor, track and report on all required external compliance including wine compliance, TTB reporting, sales tax, property tax returns, organic certifications, etc.
Develop and manage the budgeting/reforecasting process and the cash forecasting process.
Manage a direct report on the wholesale and dtc order desk to accurately, timely, and efficiently process all wholesale and direct wine orders. This includes verifying the accuracy of each wine by type, vintage, variety, brand, inventory availability, price, and size.
Manage sales data reporting for distribution to Tradepulse, Targit and wholesale sales team. Provide support and analysis as needed.
Manage and be responsible for timely and accurate monthly, quarterly and year-end closing cycles.
Evaluate, recommend and implement policies, procedures and systems related to company efficiency, productivity and internal controls.
Support other business accountants as needed with inter-company transactions and inter-company inventory reconciliation.

Qualifications and Requirements
Minimum of 3 years of experience in financial analysis and/or general ledger accounting practices.
Wine business accounting experience required.
Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance, Business or related discipline.
In-depth knowledge of Accounting Software including QuickBooks.
Experience with ecommerce and POS systems, Vin65 preferred.
Proficient in MS Excel and MS Office including PowerPoint.
Sharp attention to detail with good oral and written communication skills.
Able to work in a team environment as well as operate independently.
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).

Interested in applying?  Please email your resume to  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

WineTalent Classifieds: Guest Services Manager for Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena, CA

WineTalent is working with our client, Long Meadow Ranch, on a Guest Services Manager role in St. Helena, CA.  

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. They produce award-­winning wines,
handcrafted extra virgin olive oils, grass-­fed beef, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables.

Long Meadow Ranch has a unique opportunity for a Guest Services Manager with oversight of the guest experience at Long Meadow Ranch. The Guest Services Manager will be an integral member of the team, providing the highest level of professionalism, customer service and brand ambassadorship. Reporting to the Director of Destination Operations, the Guest Services Manager will be responsible for providing the leadership of a highly engaged, customer-focused service organization.

  • Handle incoming inquiries and communications with guests for restaurant, hospitality and event bookings.
  • Provide training on guest relations, problem resolution and issue escalation.
  • Create and maintain scripts for interfacing with guests in-person, on the phone, through email and in social media.
  • Develop and maintain systems to direct guests and business contacts to the appropriate team member.
  • Ensure phone etiquette according to Standard Operating Procedures. 
  • Respond to guest issues in a professional and timely manner.
  • Support oversight of customer service to include reviewing current operations, development of new policies to overcome repetitive issues and ensure timely response to guest inquiries.
  • Develop and manage a guest relationship plan to have high rate of customer satisfaction and prompt issue resolution.
  • Support other departments with inbound inquiries.
  • Confirm reservations and record notes regarding dietary restrictions or special occasions.
  • Promote guest experiences to the General Store, Chef’s Table, Estate and private events.
  • Maintain and update customer database.
  • Think proactively and constantly implement new standards and service to optimize guest experience.
  • Ensure that all policies and procedures, guest experiences and operating activities carried out by team are consistent with company and brand standards.
  • Other related tasks assigned by supervisor.

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management, Hospitality, Communications, Marketing,Business or related field.
  • 3 years of hospitality industry experience, ideally including work experience in hotels, restaurant, resort, customer service and private events.
  • Advanced experience with hospitality technology and digital tools required. Specific knowledge with PBX phone systems, Vin65, Open Table, and Google Business highly desired.
  • Sharp attention to detail with good oral and written communication skills. 
  • Ability to work in a team environment as well as operate independently.
  • Highly professional interpersonal and business relationships.
  • Creative problem solver with drive and dedication to succeed.
  • Able to lift 40+ lbs.
  • Must have a valid California Driver’s License and safe driving record.
  • Must be able to have a flexible schedule working weekends and holidays.
  • A pre-employment investigative consumer 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).

Interested in applying for this position?  Please send your resume to  Come join an award winning hospitality team!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

WineTalent Classifieds: Culinary Farm Manager in St. Helena.

WineTalent is working with our client, Long Meadow Ranch, to find a Culinary Farm Manager.

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. We produce award-winning wines, handcrafted extra virgin olive oils, grass-fed beef, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables.

Long Meadow Ranch (LMR) has a unique opportunity for a Culinary Farm Manager to manage the extensive organic and sustainable farming operations of Long Meadow Ranch, including fruits, vegetables, herbs and eggs. Reporting to the Director of Ag Operations, The Culinary Farm Manager will handle all purchasing of seeds and supplies and handle routine farm maintenance. This position is responsible for supply to wholesale, retail, farmer’s markets and the award-winning farm-to-table restaurant, Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch.

Responsibilities include (but not limited to):
•  Develop strong relationships and communications with the restaurant management.
•  Coordinate annual fruit & vegetable supply plan with the restaurant farm-to-table
manager to meet the highest possible percentage of restaurant needs.
•  Create an annual budget and production plan that is consistent with the supply plan and
will ensure they are properly implemented.
•  Supervise and organize an efficient and productive greenhouse program.
•  Oversee the monitoring of crops from planting till harvest, ensuring all cultural practices
are carried out on time.
•  Supervise the management of farm production labor.
•  Provide a constant supply of seasonal farm products to our restaurant.
•  Harvest and stage product to farmer’s markets.
•  Execute basic maintenance of farm equipment, irrigation, greenhouse, landscape and
•  Oversee the pest management program; obtain and renew Private Applicator License.
•  Maintain compliance with the Long Meadow Ranch Good Agricultural Practices Manual;
and renew self certification annually.
•  Oversee recordkeeping of planting and production, including meeting all organic and
other certification requirements.
•  Maintain a clean and effective farming environment that is visited by the public.
•  Participate in occasional company consumer/trade events.

Qualifications and Requirements
•  5 years of organic farming experience.
•  Proven experience in crop management, budgeting and forecasting.
•  Ability to operate tractors and other farm equipment.
•  Ability to perform a wide array of farming operations..
•  Proven ability to manage and lead a team of workers.
•  Bilingual (English/Spanish) skills highly preferred.
•  Proven experience in budget management.
•  Strong written and verbal communication skills.
•  Strong computer skills.
•  Strong work ethic, organizational skills and integrity.
•  Valid California driver’s license and clean driving record.
•  Ability to work in various settings including outside and in inclement weather when
•  Ability to lift 75+ pounds. The passage of a pre-employment physical is required.
•  A pre-employment investigative consumer 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).

Interested in joining a world-class farming operation?  Email your resume to  

WineTalent Classifieds: Business Development Manager

WineTalent is working with our client, Laffort USA on a Business Development Manager to represent the Nobile products in North America.

Title:  Business Development Manager

Position Description:  The Business Development Manager will be responsible for representing the Nobile brand of oak adjuncts and other products in North America to new and existing winery clients.  The Business Development Manager will work with an eye towards developing the brand and building business with new clients.  The Business Development Manager will be building relationships with winery professionals throughout the market to showcase the company's offerings.  Working with customers to craft programs specific to their production needs, this role requires a keen understanding of winemaking and production needs.  The ideal candidate will be proactive in tasting specific wines and developing ideas of Nobile products that would match these styles. This role is a key contributor for the company and a Nobile brand builder in the market.

Role and Responsibilities:  
·      Identify potential customers and develop sales strategies for customers throughout North America.   This will entail building business on the West Coast, expanding after business is established.
·      Thorough understanding of the product offerings and production requirements to build customized oak adjunct programs for customers.
·      Keen understanding of the adjunct market and an understanding of pricing strategies for customers of various production volumes.
·      Ability to work with winemakers, cellar masters and production managers to provide Nobile product at sufficient levels, in a timely manner, with the proper enological characteristics while also providing technical support and training as needed.
·      Contract negotiation with production staff, purchasing managers and finance professionals to create profitable sales for Nobile while also meeting the competitive pricing of the industry.  
·      Business development with a focus on the premium wine category with medium to large production wineries.
·      Brand building strategy to increase market penetration of Nobile.
·      Continuous follow-up with production staff to monitor programs and make recommendations or troubleshoot as needed.  
·      Thoughtful suggestions to customers on additional products that may benefit their winemaking program and create additional sales opportunities of Nobile products.  
·      Internal financial goal setting and tracking of sales performance against goals.
·      Support of Laffort’s other product offerings and promoting additional products when needs arise.
·      Routine input of sales calls, customer data and orders into the Laffort CRM system for reporting.
·      Additional administrative duties as required.

·      Bachelor’s degree in Viticulture and Enology, Fermentation Science, Chemical or Process Engineering, Food Science or related.  Relevant work experience in lieu of a degree will also be considered.
·      At least five years of work experience, ideally in the wine industry.  
·      Wine production background required.
·      A proven sales acumen.
·      Strong relationship development and maintenance skills.
·      Attention to detail and ability to multi-task.  This is a self-managed role that requires a highly self-motivated individual for success.
·      Ability to travel to customers as needed.  Travel will also involve attendance at various industry trade shows and potentially may include international travel.

Interested in applying?  Please email your resume to

2016 Wine Business Monthly Salary Survey

Yowza, it is busy in the recruiting world this year.  So busy, I forgot to share the 2016 Wine Business Monthly Salary Survey with you all.  Please find it here:  

Friday, October 28, 2016

WineTalent Classifieds: Metro LA Sales Representative

WineTalent is working with our client, Long Meadow Ranch, on a Metro Los Angeles Sales Representative search.

Long Meadow Ranch (LMR) is a family-owned and -operated producer and purveyor of world-class wine and food that is economically successful and socially responsible and that employs diversified, sustainable, and organic farming methods. LMR produces award-winning wines, hand-crafted extra virgin olive oils, grass-fed beef and lamb, eggs, and heirloom fruits and vegetables.

LMR has an exciting opportunity for a Salesperson to represent LMR wine brands in the greater metropolitan Los Angeles area. Reporting to the Western Sales Manager, the person will be working in conjunction with our distributor partners in the Southern California market, with additional sales support responsibilities in Las Vegas, NV and Phoenix, AZ as needed. This role will work independently as well as with our distributors’ sales teams to sell, establish and maintain relationships with on and off premise accounts in these markets. Additionally this role works collaboratively with the entire LMR sales team on national and chain account development and maintenance.  

Work closely with Regional Sales Manager to understand pricing, programming and incentive plans.
Represent and sell LMR wines in the region through account calls.
Work with on and off premise accounts to develop relationships and foster the sales growth of the LMR brands in the market.
Manage special sales projects including winemaker/owner dinners, VIP tastings and industry events.
In conjunction with the Vice President of Sales, the Western Sales Manager and the LMR executive team, support the development of a sales plan and support meetings with key distributor management members to further establish and maintain the relationship between LMR and the distributor network. 
Track shipments and depletion reports. Work to eliminate any discrepancies.

Qualifications and Requirements:
At least 2 years of work experience in the greater Los Angeles market within wine sales, restaurants or food and beverage. Wine sales experience in the Southern California market for either a supplier or a distributor is highly desirable.
Bachelor’s degree desirable, relevant work experience in lieu of a degree will also be considered.
Additional wine education highly desirable. 
High proficiency in office productivity tools including Google Drive, Google Docs and email. Understanding of Targit software a plus.  
Valid Driver’s license and clean driving record required.  
Ability to lift up to 40 pounds.

Compensation and Benefits 
Competitive salary and incentive program depending on experience plus benefits including medical/dental insurance, paid vacation and 401(k).

Are you interested in this position?  Email me your resume at  I'm looking forward to hearing from you!