The position, which is full-time, 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.
Simon Robinson, chairman of the Hampshire-based Hattingley Valley, said: “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.”
Simon Leschallas, master of The Vintners’ Company, said: “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 Programme will predominantly involve on-the-job training working alongside the winery team. Hattingley Valley’s head winemaker, Emma Rice, won the 2014 UKVA Winemaker of the Year.
The role will encompass instruction in operating all 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 its client vineyards.
Head winemaker Emma Rice said: “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 ot the wider wine trade.”