Winery Operations Manager
What is a typical day like for you?
Looking at what needs to be done to the wine and organizing people to get the work done. Troubleshooting any matters that come up at work from broken machinery to human resource managing. Working with industry committees for matters such as sustainability, health & safety and food safety.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
I make wine with a great group of people. It is very fun.
What is the least enjoyable part of your job?
Firing and laying people off.
Explain the path you took to get to this job (education, internships, etc.).
I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a degree in Biology. All I had ever done before was work on farms so I looked at courses I had taken and dropped off resumes at places near my home. One of those was a winery looking for vineyard help (tractor driver) and someone to work in the lab. I was there for a few years and then moved to my current employer where I started at the bottom. Fifteen years later I am still here.
Who or what was the greatest influence that set you on this path?
The greatest influence was the Niagara region. It is home and where I want to be. One of the few growth areas is the wine industry.
What advice would you give others seeking a similar job?
Apply to places you would like to work… it is doubtful they will come to you. Get in on the ground floor and don’t be afraid of doing any job.
How does your job make a difference?
It is great to make a quality product that people can sit down with their family and friends and enjoy.
How do you use science, math and technology in your job?
All three of these give you critical thinking and the ability to work your way through a problem. Individually math is used for blending wine and calculating additions. Enology (study of wine) has its roots in biochemistry, the juice is turned to alcohol by yeast. The chemistry of the wine is very important, I need to understand what will and is happening with our product. Technology is a tool that can be used to increase efficiency and improve quality. There is always new equipment coming to market as well as equipment that I have designed.
Is there one course you wish you had taken in high school but didn’t? Why?
I took all the sciences and maths and took woodworking throughout school. I wish I would have learned to weld. It would be fun to be able to make my own equipment.
What makes this job right for you?
Every day is different and poses different challenges.
What's the most bizarre or silliest thing you’ve ever done in this job?
Having a tank overflow and taking a bath in wine.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
Video games, cooking and hiking. Hanging out with my kids and wife.
You just won $10 million! What’s the first thing you’d do?
Ride rollercoasters all over the world.