Assistant Winemaker (Wine Jobs: Vineyards & Cellars )

Full Time

  Black Chalk Wine (

  Nr Stockbridge, Hampshire, England

                      Black Chalk - Assistant Winemaker

Black Chalk is an exciting new boutique arrival on the English Sparkling wine scene.  With a raft of plaudits and awards since the launch in 2018, Black Chalk is about to embark upon a new phase of the adventure. This will include the creation of a new winery in time for the 2020 harvest and plans to manage our own vineyards in the near future.  The vision is to build a ‘creative space’ that provides both a home for the Black Chalk brand but also provides inspiration for other brands looking to have wines made under contract.  

The Assistant Winemaker is an integral position of the team, it will support all activities in the winemaking process and provide technical/winemaking collaboration to ensure superior wine quality at all stages of wine production. A strong emphasis will be placed on initiating, running and reporting on research and development of new products and processes.   

This position oversees day-to-day winery operations with an emphasis on wine quality, work planning, safety, sanitation, data management, and equipment maintenance. Additional responsibilities include training and oversight of cellar employees and up-keep of various winemaking records, safety records/reporting, reporting forms and spreadsheets. The position will also include various aspects of work in the vineyard, sales (tours) and marketing providing exposure to the whole journey from vine to flute. 

This is a rare opportunity to be involved in an exciting project from the start and help to shape the business, its ethos and most importantly wines. The role will require hard work, focus and total commitment to quality at every stage but will also provide the platform to create and inspire. 


  • Participates in wine tasting to evaluate and make recommendations to improve wine quality. 
  • Provides technical support to implement daily short-term wine work plans. 
  • Participates in issue resolution surrounding logistical, quality and labour limitations. 
  • Ensures daily production plans and quality parameters are met. 
  • Supports winemaking, contract winemaking and wine processing operations. 
  • Conduct a range of laboratory analysis including, SO2, TA, pH, fining/blending/dosage trials and oversees winemaking/wine processing trials and experiments as directed/agreed and reports results to Winemaker. 
  • With the Winemaker manages the grape receiving process and all wine production operations during harvest. 
  • Writes and reconciles winemaking work orders as necessary. 
  • Executes special projects and other assignments related to production winemaking. 
  • Contributes to continuous improvement of winemaking processes and procedures. 
  • Able to conduct brand spokesperson duties as required. 
  • • Trains, mentors and inspires junior members of the team and temporary staff. 
  • • Maintains satisfactory attendance, to include timeliness. 
  • With the Winemaker be aware of and ensure that all aspects of compliance (winemaking, health and safety, HMRC) are met. 
  • Accountable for the work of others, responsible for ensuring their understanding and compliance. 


  • Day-to-day (winemaking)
  • Track all lots for winemaking recommendations, specialised considerations for wine work and analyses requests. Up-hold and refine winemaking, cellar, sanitation and lab procedures.
  • Write work orders and oversee all harvest, tirage, disgorging and cellar activities. Daily, weekly and yearly work planning and ensures work is completed at a high level of quality and in a timely, organised and efficient manner.
  • Review samples of wine to ensure wines are ageing appropriately, act to mitigate any spoilage.
  • With Winemaker and clients, taste and blend lots to achieve appropriate stylistic goals.
  • Work with Winemaker to plan processing steps required to meet production deadlines.
  • Ensure wines are treated appropriately to maintain compliance with label requirements (single vineyard status, varietal, vintage, appellation, PDO, PGI, and analysis thresholds)
  • Responsible for ensuring the daily cellar tasks align with production goals, and that cellar tasks are prioritised appropriately.
  • Responsible for creating bi-weekly top/so2 work-orders.
  • Work with winemaker and contractors to prioritise the repair of cellar equipment.
  • Oversee dry goods inventories and coordinate the re-order of these as needed.
  • Responsible for cellar cleanliness.
  • Create lot codes for wine additives, work with the winemaker to maintain accurate inventory of wine additives and dry goods.
  • In conjunction with the Winemaker, write cellar standard operating procedures as needed, and train cellar staff to maintain cellar worker skill sets
  • Establish cellar metrics to measure the productivity of cellar operations, and determine opportunities to increase productivity


  • Throughout the year assist as required with vineyard operations. 
  • Work with the Vineyard Manager and Winemaker to determine best vineyard management practices and harvest criteria goals for planned production. 
  • Assist with harvest sampling and analysis. 
  • Oversee pressing operations to ensure grapes are received into appropriate tanks and that pressing paperwork is properly completed.
  • With Winemaker, evaluate pressed lots for quality and stylistic expression in order to create preliminary blends 
  • Write addition work-orders and manage processes so that fermentation lots achieve appropriate stylistic goals.
  • Taste fermentation tanks daily to assess health of fermentation


  • Bachelor of Science Degree (Enology degree preferred) with at least 3 years of experience including lab, cellar and management experience.
  • Passion for wine and commitment to excellence and high standards.
  • Ability to make educated, timely and sound winemaking decisions. Detail oriented, takes initiative and comfortable delegating tasks.
  • Very strong organizing, planning, supervising, and problem solving skills. Able to multitask and manage changing priorities while maintaining a positive attitude working both as a team and alone. 
  • Excellent (English) verbal and written communication skills. Strong computer background able to use Microsoft and MAC software.
  • Valid driver’s license and ability to drive a car.
  • Excellent forklift skills.


  • Experience with numerous grape varieties. 
  • Experience writing reports, business correspondence and procedure manuals.
  • Experience presenting information and responding to questions from groups of managers, clients, customers and the general public. 
  • Experience with wine tracking software. 
  • Skilled in the use of MS Word, MS Excel, MS Access, MS PowerPoint at an intermediate level. 
  • Experience defining problems, collecting data, establishing facts and drawing valid conclusions.  
  • Experience working under a variety of climatic conditions. 
  • Experience following established procedures to perform tasks that are somewhat difficult in nature, requiring frequent evaluation, originality or ingenuity. 
  • Knowledge of the organic and conventional viticulture practices associated with the most popular grape varieties in England. 
  • Knowledge of the winemaking equipment, processes and procedures in Sparkling wine production. 


  • Must be able to work indoors, outdoors, and in various temperature extremes
  • Must be able to work long hours, and possibly weekends and holidays, especially during harvest season
  • Ability to lift up to 25Kgs regularly.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally exposed to moving mechanical parts; high, precarious places; confined spaces; fumes or airborne particles; toxic or caustic chemicals; and outside weather conditions.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

How To Apply

To apply please send a CV and covering letter to Jacob Leadley at

The closing date for applications is Friday 13th September 2019.

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