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Lab Technician I

COMPANY DESCRIPTION
The Wine Group is one of the top leaders in the wine industry. As a privately held management-owned company with 12 wineries in California, New York, and Australia, we thrive to win with exceptional people who share our values. We produce many well-known brands including Franzia, Cupcake, Chloe, Flip Flop, Save Me San Francisco, Insurrection, Concannon, Benziger and Imagery.
JOB SUMMARY
Lab Technicians perform analytical analysis, product and packaging quality assessments, including issue investigation and resolution to ensure the quality of our work, quality of our wines and quality of our finished products. Lab Technicians work to meet or exceed the quality expectations and regulatory requirements of our varied customers, both internal and external. Technicians must have integrity, a good attitude, perseverance, be flexible, and work as part of a team. Lab Technicians possess a sense of urgency, take initiative and work with the highest attention to detail. Technicians are responsible for communicating and collaborating effectively with many functional areas within TWG, across facilities, and where appropriate, with packaging material suppliers, ingredient suppliers, export customers, bottling co-packers, equipment vendors, etc. Areas of responsibility include performing a wide range of analytical analysis, sanitation validation, and where applicable audits of product quality and processes as well as microbial stability evaluation of wines in tank or barrel, bulk export and or packaged wines in addition to a wide range of quality or food safety related projects. Lab Technicians must operate the variety of instrumentation/tools, and computer systems utilized to perform the job functions and participate in tests and projects as assigned. Higher Level Technicians take on additional duties and responsibilities.
ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
Level I
Actively commit to and participate in our lab and corporate safety programs: including following all safety protocols and procedures. Learning to recognize and report hazards and take appropriate action to keep yourself and others safe. Participate in safety programs, activities, including delivering safety training's on a variety of topics.
Effectively communicate and collaborate with colleagues, within the team, the facility and across all functional areas the lab interacts with. Share information, participate in meetings etc.
Perform routine analysis at all stages of the winemaking process from grape samples to consumer complaints utilizing appropriate methods per SOPs. Operate and assist in maintaining the varied laboratory instruments and equipment utilized, such as auto-titrators, spectrophotometers, densitometers, GCs, HPLCs, NIR or IR analyzers, balances, pH meters, etc. Capture complete, accurate and thorough results. Play a key role in bottling/export tank approval process
Perform process audits, compliance verification and or package quality assessments. Assist in identifying and resolving issues and/or taking appropriate action on sanitation issues, non-conforming product or material issues as directed. Timing is critical and must be managed to ensure responsibilities are performed at appropriate times. Capture clear, concise, accurate data and information. Seek input as appropriate. (Varies by facility).
Perform sanitation validation and troubleshooting through swabbing, record and data review etc.
Utilize proper aseptic techniques and skills, perform the multiple duties involved in micro plating. This includes proper preparation, plating technique, media preparation, and record keeping. (varies by facility)
Participate in and support our Food Safety Management Programs as a part of your routine duties.
Make quality and process improvement suggestions and follow through to implement as appropriate.
Data management: Input and evaluate data, perform calculations to determine basic statistical parameters. Utilize technology; computers, and specific software for managing processes including AS400, WMS, VA, and Microsoft Office Suite.
Recognize common issues, collect data/information for common or less complex issues, seek direction on resolution.
Help maintain a clean, safe laboratory facility. Follow good laboratory practices and lead by example.
Monitor, maintain, calibrate and troubleshoot routine common issues with lab equipment and instrumentation.
Level II - in addition to above
Demonstrates ownership of core processes and ensures team goals are met on their shift.
Provides the necessary technical support to facilitate timely and successful completion of projects as assigned.
Performs work that is varied and somewhat difficult/challenging, but usually involves limited responsibility
Provides guidance/training to lower level or less experience lab technicians and as directed, persons from cellar or operations on appropriate quality related functions/instruments.
Recognize and investigate root cause on more complex issues, suggest further steps, present options for resolution. As needed, stays up to date on best practices, current technology and techniques through literature review, attending seminars/conferences, etc.
Where appropriate: maintains a TTB certified chemist status and signs COAs.
Where appropriate: Interprets microbiological data. This includes proper microbe ID, microscope work, preparing streak plates, evaluating results, taking appropriate follow up action such as placing product on hold. May involve running PCR. Know when to report concerning results to management. Good follow through.
Where appropriate: with direction from winemaking and or quality management, provide oversite to cellar/bottling sanitation processes and programs.
Where appropriate: act as a packaging material champion on issue investigations and resolution.
Where appropriate: assist in investigating, resolving and dispositioning finished product HOLDs.
Where appropriate: act as a key member of a Food Safety Team.
Where appropriate: manage lab supplies inventory.
Level III - in addition to above
Experienced individual contributor and team member, cross trained in all areas. Role model for others.
Works with minimum supervision, takes initiative and provides direction/leadership to team on problem solving, work prioritization, process improvements, etc.
Assignments are broad in nature and include special projects (interdepartmental and inter-winery)
Has appreciable latitude for un-reviewed action, decision, creativity.
As needed, work with other facilities, outside vendors and customers in problem resolution and continuous improvement in meeting our safety, quality, cost and production goals
Superior analytical skills and as appropriate, quality assurance experience, packaging and or microbiological/sanitation skills.
Duties include assisting in establishing specifications, and in the validation of assays, developing and writing SOPs.
Assist with trouble shooting and root-cause analysis for analytical, quality and food safety related concerns. Develop quality response plans and corrective actions as appropriate with supervision.
Manage tests/project plans and assist with analyzing the data and making recommendations.
ALL Lab Technicians
Support and model all company procedures and policies
Must embrace and demonstrate The Wine Group Core Values - Performance, Empowered and Cost-mindful, and keep them in mind when making all decisions
This job description reflects management's assignment of essential functions; it does not prescribe or restrict the tasks that may be assigned
QUALIFICATIONS
Demonstrated reliability and punctuality, work effectively in team/crew environment, adherence to all safety and food safety regulations and operating procedures.
Must be able to work rotating shifts and overtime.
Ability to read and interpret documents such as safety rules, operating and maintenance instructions and procedures/protocols.
Ability to communicate and collaborate effectively.
Positive attitude, does not get caught up in negativity.
Knowledge of good laboratory practices, including sample and reagent preparation techniques, sample handling and good record keeping.
Ability to apply concepts such as percentages, ratios and proportions to practical situations.
Ability to prioritize while able to adapt to changing priorities
Ability to write reports and correspondence.
Computer skill requirements include: basic MS Outlook, Word and Excel.
Level I:
Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry, Biology, Food Science, Process Technology, Quality Assurance, or related science field. Some experience preferred but not required.
Alternative: Biotech Certificate or AS degree in chemistry, food science, biology, process technology, quality assurance, or related science field, or 1-2 years professional lab experience in food/beverage/alcohol industry; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
Level II:
BS degree in chemistry, food science, biology, process technology, quality assurance, enology, or related science field, plus 2 years professional lab experience in food/beverage/alcohol industry.
Alternative: 5+ years professional lab experience in food/beverage/alcohol industry; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
Computer skills required: Excel pivot tables, charts, JDE, WMS (site specific) Instrument software, Intelex, MS Word, MS Power Point.
Level III:
BS degree in chemistry, food science, biology, process technology, quality assurance, enology, or related field, plus 4 years professional lab experience in food/beverage/alcohol industry.
Alternative: 7+ professional lab experience in food/beverage/alcohol industry; or equivalent combination of education and experience.
Required Computer skills: Excel pivot tables, charts, JDE, WMS (site specific) Instrument software, Intelex, MS Word, MS Power Point.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS
Must be able to frequently lift and carry weights of up to 50 pounds at varying frequencies
Possess the ability to work in a fast-paced production environment
Working environment is both indoors and outdoors, with exposure to related equipment and noise levels
Ability to perform tasks requiring bending, stooping, standing, and twisting in the performance of various tasks in the laboratory and or production environment
Must be able to repeatedly climb 20 feet tank stairs/vertical tank ladders
The Wine Group is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.


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