England’s wine industry has exploded over the last few years and to encourage young people to get involved in this exciting and dynamic industry, Hattingley Valley Wines has teamed up with The Worshipful Company of Vintnersto offer a winemaking apprenticeship.
Simon Robinson, chairman of Hattingley Valley explains the rationale behind this initiative: “This May, England will host the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (ICCWS)for the first time. As the industry growth sees no sign of abating, it is inevitable that there is a shortage of skilled workers in the UK’s vineyards and wineries so more full-time staff are required. We are very excited to be collaborating with The Vintners’ Company to give this opportunity to either a youngster starting out or a more mature person wishing to change careers.”
The position is full time, available to commence in the next few weeks and is expected to extend for two years. The successful applicant will attend education courses in vinegrowing and winemaking at Plumpton College, England’s centre of learning for wine; the courses will be sponsored by The Vintners’ Company. The Apprenticeship Programme is also supported by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET)and distributor, Liberty Wines, which will provide additional instruction giving the successful candidate a wider appreciation for the world of wine. Commenting on the new partnership Simon Leschallas, master of The Vintners’ Company says: “This is a first for the burgeoning UK wine industry but also for the 650 year old Worshipful Company of Vintners. We are absolutely delighted to be part of this initiative that joins together some of the very best organisations in the domestic wine industry to offer an unheralded apprenticeship opportunity.”
The Apprenticeship Programme will predominantly involve on-the-job training working alongside the award-winning winery team. Hattingley Valley’s head winemaker, Emma Rice, won the 2014 UKVA Winemaker of the Year.
Also in 2014, Hattingley Valley won the prestigious title of World Champion for the 2011 Rosé in the Vintage Rosé category at The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships. Last summer Hattingley Valley’s 2011 Kings Cuvée scored the highest overall mark in an English Sparkling Wine review published in Decanter magazine.
The role will encompass instruction inoperatingall of the key machinery used in a sparkling wine winery: presses, riddling equipment, disgorging kit, labelling machines, pumps, filters and heat exchangers. A key element of the trainee position will involve tasting and blending the young wines alongside the winemakers to make Hattingley Valley’s own wines and those of itsclient vineyards.
Emma Rice, Hattingley Valley’s head winemaker, explains the implications of the new role, “Once this programme is completed, the apprentice should be very employable in wineries around the world as well as within England and Wales. In fact, this could be an opportunity to work and travel in the long-run, or the skills learnt could transfer to the wider wine trade.”