Vineyard Technician (apprentice)
Full time, year-round
Fort Berens is looking to expand our team with a high-potential candidate, who is willing to start a steep learning curve in all aspects of the vineyard and winery. You will receive training on-the-job by our vineyard manager (around 85% of the time) and winemaker (around 15%) and you will also be expected to follow external training programs. You will be fully trained to become a future vineyard manager.
- Pruning, planting, thinning and harvest in the vineyard throughout the year;
- Operation and maintenance of tractor and other vineyard equipment;
- Assisting the vineyard manager in the development and implementation of the vineyard plan;
- Record keeping on execution of the plans;
- Trellis and irrigation system maintenance;
- Assisting the winemaker in the cellar, processing fruit, pressing, filtering, bottling and cleaning;
The Vineyard Technician must be willing to work non-standard hours, including evenings and weekends, as needed.
- Physically fit and willing and able to work outdoors throughout the year in heath, cold, rain, etc;
- Goal-driven and highly motivated, with initiative and the desire to increase knowledge and skills;
- Interest in plants and nature are necessary. Vineyard experience and a passion for viticulture are a plus;
- Willing and able to follow multiple relevant vineyard training programs, both on-the-job as well as external, e.g. the a 3-month full time course from Okanagan College in Pentincton (Jan. 2021);
- A team player, able to work and interact with many different players;
- Mechanically inclined;
- Able to work with computer programs like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.;
- A BC driver’s license is required. Other tickets like: Pesticide Applicator Certificate; First Aid Level 1 and Forklift certification, are a plus.
This is a full time, year-round salary position. Starting salary and benefits according to experience.
How to apply / contact information:
Send your resume plus a motivational letter/email before January 31st to:
Heleen Pannekoek, owner. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fort Berens Estate Winery
PO Box 758, Lillooet, BC V0K 1V0
Fort Berens Estate Winery’s Discovery Club is growing rapidly, and to better serve our wine club members we’re hiring a Discovery Club Coordinator. This is an exciting opportunity to advance your career in wine industry while having fun. Experience is good, but our priority is finding the right person to join our team and help us deliver exceptional service to Discovery Club Members.
The Discover Club Coordinator will be responsible for:
Coordinating wine club shipments to club members
Organizing member-only events in Lillooet and cities across BC
Creating newsletters and club related marketing collateral
Developing phone, web-based, and email campaigns to increase member engagement
This role allows for a flexible work schedule and a home office.
Proven retail sales or customer service experience
Strong organizational skills with attention to detail
Outstanding verbal and written communication skills
Passionate and knowledgeable about wine
Proficient with office software
Must be at least 21 years of age with valid driver’s license.
This role is best suited to someone with initiative, who demonstrates an entrepreneurial spirit, and who is customer service oriented.
We offer a part time contract that can grow into a full time permanent contract. Compensation package will include salary, sales commission, benefits and wine allowance
How to apply / contact information:
Apply by sending your resume and cover letter before May 4th to:
Fort Berens Estate Winery
Attn. Rolf de Bruin
PO Box 758
Lillooet, BC V0K 1V0
1881 Highway 99 north
Lillooet, BC V0K 1V0
Our vineyard is located in the magnificent Fraser Canyon across the Fraser River from the town of Lillooet. Lillooet is one of the "Hot Spots" in Canada, with a climate that is comparable with the South Okanagan. The Coast Mountains to the west of Lillooet keep rain and clouds away, ensuring that the vines receive plenty of sunshine. In 2009, we planted 20 acres with six varieties: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. In the future, we will expand with another 20 acres.
We make and sell premium, award winning BC VQA wines. We believe that great wines are grown, not made.
April 15th 2014 — LILLOOET, BC – The weather is heating up, the sun is shining and the season is off to a great start for Fort Berens Estate Winery in Lillooet. With some major milestones behind them, including the groundbreaking of their new winery in the fall and winning White Wine of the Year at Cornucopia in November, the team is bursting with excitement as spring blossoms. For Fort Berens, this spring brings new growth to their team, the blossoming of their winery construction project and a bountiful spring release of their favourite and new varietals.
Rolf de Bruin, founder and one of the owners of Fort Berens, announced, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Megan de Villiers and Danny Hattingh to the Fort Berens team. Megan is our new Vineyard Manager and Danny is our new Winemaker. They are a couple in real life and also in the vineyard and cellar. They have worked together as a winery team for a number of years and join our team with experience from South Africa, the Southern Gulf Islands and the Okanagan. When Heleen and I met with Danny and Megan, we felt an immediate connection with them as we discovered that their journey was not unlike ours. We have all enjoyed many great adventures along the way. While our paths were different, those paths led all of us to Lillooet, and we are so pleased that Megan and Danny are joining us here.”
Megan and their dog Kimbra have already settled in Lillooet and Danny will be joining them in the next few weeks. Megan explained, “We feel like we are very compatible with Rolf, Heleen and the team. We are both ready for this next adventure and to begin exploring Lillooet. Geologically, this area is very different from other areas where we’ve worked, yet the climate is very similar, so we are excited to work in this new area and to see what we can create in this unique geographical pocket. We are both very passionate and motivated as we take on these new challenges in our careers.”
Given the growth that Fort Berens has seen in recent years and their future plans, Danny and Megan are well positioned to help Fort Berens meet their ambitious goals. Winery co-owner Heleen Pannekoek continued, “Hiring Danny and Megan, combined with the building of our new winery, are major steps forward. We have moved from purchasing Okanagan fruit to growing our own grapes. This year, we anticipate 75-80% of our wine will be made with estate grown grapes. In addition, all of our wine will be made in our own onsite cellar and bottled in our own facility.”
Rolf also provided an update on the winery construction process. “We are on track with the building of our new 9,500 square foot building which will include an 1,100 square foot tasting room, overlooking the vineyards with a gorgeous view of the mountains in the background. We anticipate opening the tasting room by the end of July, and we are already working on plans for an official grand opening celebration in September.”
After a few years of working at different wineries, Danny, who is eagerly anticipating the completion of the construction so he can begin making wine in this new state-of-the-art building, is also very excited to work with Megan again. He explained, “We both studied in the same school. We know and trust each other and we can communicate what we need from each other. It’s been said that wine is made in the vineyard and I truly believe this. I want to make wine from the vines and grapes that Megan tends to. We are on the same page and we take a real team approach to the way we grow grapes and make wine. Rolf and Heleen have an amazing vineyard and, along with the other owners, they have a very specific and well thought out plan for the future. There are an additional 20 acres on the Fort Berens property to be planted in the coming years, so we’ll be working hard to learn which varietals, clones and rootstocks are best suited to the area.”
Spring marks a key time of renewal for the team, as they release their latest vintage. Heleen beamed with excitement for their spring releases, “We have finished bottling and are extremely pleased to be launching our latest releases. Our last vintage of wines sold out early, so our shelves have been empty for some time. We are delighted to start showcasing our new vintages, which include our 23 Camels White 2013, 23 Camels Red 2012, Pinot Gris 2013, Riesling 2013 and Pinot Noir Rosé 2013. This vintage marks another important milestone for us, as all of our 2013 white releases are 100% estate grown for the first time in our history.”
“In addition, we continue to expand our portfolio, and we are happy to (re-)introduce a new product, our Late Harvest Riesling 2013. This food friendly wine is a beautiful pre-dinner apéritif and it also pairs perfectly with dessert. Our enhanced product line means we now have a Fort Berens pairing for every course in a multi-course dinner.”
“All of the pieces of our plan are really coming together and we feel like we are in great shape going in to this key season. We are very pleased with our growing team, the progress on the construction of our new winery and our new releases. Our vineyard is in great shape and producing at full capacity, and we are ready and excited for the season”, explained Rolf. With everything in place for spring and the upcoming season, both on the team and in the wineshop, 2014 is looking to be an excellent year filled with important milestones for Fort Berens.
Fort Berens Estate Winery is the first winery in Lillooet, BC. It is located on a sage-brush covered bench at the base of the Fraser Canyon’s snow-capped mountains. For more information, call 1.877.956.7768, visit www.fortberens.ca or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
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