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Position Available: Viticulture Director

Our winery in Georgia  is seeking an experienced Viticulture Director, with some background in Precision Viticulture technologies. Ideally you will have experience in vineyard management in warm climate regions. Your duties will include:

  • Perform initial basic assessment of existing vineyards and undeveloped territories, and inventorise vineyard assets.
  • Co-ordinate initial programme of EMI scanning and targeted soil testing of all company properties, and supervise consultants developing detailed multi-layered soil maps.
  • Liaise with consultants to develop a detailed Precision Irrigation Plan for existing vineyards.
  • Develop a detailed workplan for renovation of existing vineyards, including development of management zones based on soil type, trellis renovation, irrigation remediation, reworking and retraining vines to accommodate mechanical harvesting, fence and road remediation, electricity supply and other infrastructure as necessary. Assistance from external consultants in some tasks is expected.
  • Hire and train vineyard employees in basic operations, including pruning, canopy management, shoot and cluster thinning, chemical application, irrigation operations and maintenance, with the assistance of local managers.
  • Execute the renovation workplan over an extended period.
  • Develop sustainable vineyard floor practices, including techniques such as mechanical weed control, mulching and cover crop management, and implement.
  • Develop and maintain advanced Precision Viticulture practices within operational management, such as remote sensing, seasonal soil and tissue testing, differential harvesting, yield monitoring within parcels, precision nutrition, foliar fertilisation and fertigation, integrated pest management, in conjunction with consultants.
  • Monitor vineyards for vine and soil health, pests and diseases, and manage accordingly.
  • Supervise the soil and tissue laboratory operated by the company.
  • Supervise seasonal labour in the vineyards.
  • Implement and maintain a vineyard ERP system integrating irrigation, chemical application, labour and mechanical operations, soil and tissue tests, and grape quality testing , integrated with the company database and synchronising via handheld devices and laptop computers in the field.
  • Work closely with the Chief Winemaker to produce outstanding wines at a high level of efficiency.
  • Perform trials on the effect of vine planting density on grape quality parameters under local conditions.
  • Taking into consideration trial results, develop a detailed workplan for development of new vineyards, including clearing and weed control, variety selection, plot preparation and development of management zones based on soil type, trellis development, planting density and row spacing, irrigation design and implementation, acquisition of other vineyard infrastructure and machinery.
  • Investigate feasibility of small trial parcels of 2-5 Ha each of novel foreign varieties, including Areni (Armenia), Emir (Turkey), Tempranillo, Grenache, Durif, Touriga Nacional, Petit Verdot, Shiraz, and Brown Muscat.
  • Investigate feasibility of small trial parcels of 2-5 Ha each of novel local varieties, including Shavkapito, Tavkveri, Khikhvi and Kisi.
  • Supervise the operation of the vine nursery, and change the nursery's focus to serving the company's internal needs.
  • Introduce mechanical harvesting with GPS and yield monitoring; train staff in operations and maintenance of equipment.
  • Develop a Certificate-level curriculum in Precision Viticulture for Georgian vineyard managers, supervise its translation into Georgian and its delivery to the company's junior management staff in Years1-2, in preparation for enrolled students receiving instruction at the company's small New World Viticulture Institute in Years 2-3 and beyond. Assistance from consultants is anticipated in this task.
  • Liaise with ISET Policy Institute's Wine Industry Economics Unit for the development of economic analyses of viticultural methodologies in Georgia such as drip irrigation, precision nutrition, mechanical harvesting, integrated pest management, vineyard floor management, and assist the unit to liaise with UC Davis' Robert Mondavi Centre for Food and Wine Science, the University of Adelaide's Wine Economics Research Centre, and the Australian Wine Research Institute.
  • Train and supervise the Manager and Sales Agronomists of the Viticulture Institute's sales outlet, distributing soil moisture probes, irrigation equipment, software, fertilisers and other materials and equipment, in Year 2.

A competitive salary package is provided, including a vehicle, continuing education allowances and a productivity based bonus. Georgia is one of the safest countries in the world, with outstandingly friendly and hospitable people who are passionate about wine and justifiably proud of their 8000 year winemaking heritage. With our winery nestled at the base of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, and outstanding opportunities for skiing, riding, hunting and fishing nearby, this is not only an great career opportunity but a very desirable lifestyle choice. The national capital Tbilisi is less than 90 minutes drive away, with a charming cafe culture, vibrant nightlife, outstanding cuisine and an exotic East-meets-West Medieval Old Town within easy reach. International standard healthcare facilities are easily available. Inexpensive direct air links to Europe, Turkey, Russia, the Middle East and China make Georgia an ideal location from which to explore the broader region. An attractive remuneration package will be provided, including a vehicle, health insurance, continuing education allowances and a productivity-based bonus.