Downers Grove, IL, United States

Winemaker - Fruit and Flavored Wine

 Job Description:

NexTerra Wine Company is a premier wine producer built on the belief that great wine begins in the vineyard. Headquartered just outside of Chicago, the 125,000-square-foot facility houses an onsite winery, state of the art bottling system and distribution center. Partnering with distinguished growers across the globe, NexTerra sources the highest quality grapes and nurtures each wine to its individual needsa philosophy that has resulted in over 600 national and international wine awards. With deep industry knowledge, boundless creativity, and advanced winemaking techniques, NexTerra has grown to one of the largest U.S. producers outside of California projecting over 1.1 million cases produced in 2023, and a growing keg program of over 170,000 gallons worth of kegs.

The Winemaker supports all activities of day-to-day production winemaking and wine quality maintenance processes. An emphasis for this role is the planning and blending of the fruit and flavored wine category, as well as review and development of the formula wine portfolio.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Oversee planning, scheduling, and production of fruit and flavored formula wines to meet bottling schedule demand for volume and timing.
  • Manage activities for the research and development of formula wine concepts in response to customer requests and market trends in consultation with the Director of Winemaking.
  • Regular review of current fruit and formula wine portfolio for quality enhancement and cost savings, including sourcing of flavoring and juice products.
  • Coordinate and oversee pilot and fruit wine fermentations.
  • Actively participate in production planning activities for all wines blended and bottled on and off site.
  • Work with Winemaking staff and Cellar Master to schedule daily processing. Write work orders to direct and prioritize Cellar work.
  • Participate in review, development, and training for Cellar SOPs and day-to-day cellar operations.
  • Works with the Winery Admin to ensure accuracy of transactions both in the Cellar and winery database software.
  • Responsible for assurance of government compliance for blending and processing activities.
  • Review of analysis and sensory profile for both on and off-site bulk wine storage maintenance, and the quality and consistency in finished wines.
  • Ensure all wines are stabilized and filtered to meet bottling schedule.
  • Communicate concerns about wine faults (VA, Brett, sulfides, etc.) to Director of Winemaking in a timely manner.
  • Audits lab reports for completion and accuracy. Reviews concerns with Winemaking team and Lab Manager.
  • Coordinate with the Director of Winemaking and Winemaking team to schedule regular tastings of bulk wines, blend trials, fining trials, etc.
  • Present blends and participate in tastings with customers.
  • Develop and coordinate additional assigned project plans. Communicate progress and complete assigned projects on time and on budget.
  • Pursue training and development opportunities, strive to continuously build knowledge and skills.
  • Participate in the development of Winemaking, Lab, and Cellar team through sharing experience and educational presentations.
  • Provides vision and inspiration to peers and subordinates, gives appropriate recognition to others, displays passion and optimism, empowering others to fulfill goals.
  • Develop and maintain strong interdepartmental relationships with Bottling, QA, Safety, Accounting, Supply Chain, and Sourcing teams.
  • Maintain compliance with local, state, and federal safety regulations and participate in company-wide safety programs to build a strong safety culture.
  • Identifies, analyzes, and resolves safety concerns in a timely manner elevating to Director of Winemaking as necessary.


  • Bachelors in Enology, Fermentation Science or related science-based field required.
  • A minimum of 5 years experience in a Winemaker role. Minimum of 3 years supervisory experience is required.
  • Willing to work extended hours at times and able to stand for long periods of time, climb stairs and ladders, lift, and carry 50 pounds. Candidates should be prepared to work on their feet in wet, uncomfortable, and physically challenging conditions. Ability/willingness to work long hours and weekends when necessary to ensure wine quality.
  • Available for travel 5-10% per year.


  • Experience working with varietals from diverse regions, international and domestic, including American and hybrid wine varietals.
  • Background in research and development of fruit, flavored, and formula wines.
  • Strong wine chemistry, sensory and analytical skills.
  • Management experience with personnel, including Lab and Cellar staff.
  • Experience at a large winery.
  • Extensive winery database software experience.
  • Strong skills in Microsoft Office Suite (Excel, Word, Outlook).
  • Excellent communication skills: written, verbal, electronic.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

  • Indirect supervision of Lab and Cellar Personnel.
  • Participate in the hiring and training process of new employees.

Physical Job Functions:

  • Must be able to lift at least 50 lbs.
  • Must be able to stand up to 8 hours.
  • Must be able work at heights.

NexTerra is an Equal Opportunity Employer

 Salary Package:

$ 95,000.00 - 110,000.00 (US Dollar)

 Package Details:

Full Benefits (Health, Dental, Vision & 401K) with Bonus Potential