The exact responsibilities of the winery supervisor vary depending on the size of the wine making facilities.
If the winery the size of a shed or cellar, it will be a single man operation or a task shared by group of friends, supervising will be one of the responsibilities of the winemaker. In a larger operation, industrial size, with a team of workers and equipment, there will be a winery supervisor in charge of overseeing the procedures required to process, store, age, bottle, and ship wine. A winery supervisor is a specialized business manager who directs workers, markets the product, and is very much in touch with administrative functions.
Winery supervisors work hand in hand with viticulturists and winemakers to develop wines and manage processes in a winery to produce wines. They are responsible for the activities in the winery and deal with the people in charge of processing, storing, ageing, bottling, and shipping wines.
There is no written manual about how to become winery supervisors because their exact responsibilities, even the title of the job, change with the size of the winery.
Supervising a large winery
Large wineries usually employ professionals to manage each stage of wine production. In a large winery, the responsibilities of the supervisor will include:
- The economic performance of the winery. Sometimes business supervisors will have to work within a budget, as any other business managers would.
- Deciding the wines to be made in a given year, after listening to the marketing department, viticulturist, and winemakers in charge of directly producing the wines. Write a work plan
- Personnel management, directly or with the help of human resources staff. In a large winery there are production work schedules to set up, salaries to be fixed, training to be organized, hiring of employees… and their laying off.
- Last word id decisions related to production processes like cooling, filtering, and bottling of wine, or the kind of casks to use for storage.
- Oversee the fortifying, clarifying, aging, and finishing of the wine, ensuring every step is performed according to plan and on time.
- Recording important facts about wine production. Keeping records of sugar contents, kind of grapes used, weights and other details adds to the body of winery know-how useful for future years of winemaking. Creating statistics and graphs.
- Supervising the execution of environmental management programs.
- Enforcing food safety procedures regarding wine.
- Ensuring health and safety procedures are in place and respected. You would think that workers at a winery don’t do anything more dangerous than lifting a crate of wine bottles, but cleaning a vast tank where wine was stored can be a hazard as there might be fumes or fumes from the cleaning products might accumulate and overcome the workers.
This list is, by no means, exhaustive. The size of the winery determines the exact set of tasks the winery supervisor has and the kind of help the supervisor can expect. A winery supervisor needs some knowledge of agriculture, some knowledge biology and being very well versed in business management.
Is the winemaker a skilled technician or a wizard? Winemakers are seen, in general, to work in small wineries being responsible for everything from the growing of vines to the distribution of the wines.
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