Daniel Warman is tailor making a career in Marlborough’s wine industry
When Daniel Warman became a bird-scarer at the age of 24, he planned to be a vineyard manager by 30.
He was there in half the time, thanks to Constellation Brands’ support, Primary ITO training and a heap of hard work and determination.
“Three years ago, I never thought I would be where I am now”, says the block manager at Constellation’s 150 hectare Castle Cliffs vineyard, with responsibility for four permanent staff and a 10-strong Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme crew.
The role has him managing work plans, record keeping, doing Sustainable Winegrowing audits, and “jumping on a tractor when I am needed”.
Meanwhile, Dan is working on his Level 4 Advanced ITO training, and is one of five Constellation managers across the Asia Pacific chosen for the New Leader Pilot Programme, a virtual study programme developed by Constellation in partnership with Harvard University.
Daniel worked in vineyards during Marlborough Boys’ College holidays, before moving to Kaikoura at the age of 19, to become a dairy farmer.
He had his first taste of ITO training then, but was frustrated at not being able to get support for more study.
Long hours and the birth of his first child led him back to Marlborough in 2014, where he joined a contract spray company and “fell in love with viticulture”.
With a plan to find a more involved role, Daniel honed in on Constellation, because the company supports ITO training.
He took the one job they were offering at the time – bird-scarer – then wrangled a harvest contract as well, driving tractors and gondolas.
Constellation offered him a full-time position as a general vineyard hand, at which point he jumped at the chance for an apprenticeship and National Certificate in Horticulture Level 4.
“I always wanted to go somewhere” he says. “Every time I started a new job, I wanted to be the best I could at it.”
Daniel didn’t enjoy school, preferring to head out hunting, fishing, diving or four wheel driving.
But he says the Primary ITO was a great way to get back into learning in an environment where it all made sense.
“You see what is going on in the vineyard and you can relate it to the study,” he says. “It’s real people doing real jobs, and learning while they are doing it.”
As he trained, Daniel continued his career path, moving up to a vineyard operator, driving machinery and harvesters, then to a senior operator’s role.
“I did that for a year and kept studying and asking questions – learning as much as I could,” he says. “You want to be an asset. To be someone the company wants to keep.”
Clearly he is, because when he applied for the manager’s job last year, he won it. His knowledge base has “gone through the roof” since then, with ITO learnings clicking into place as his role evolves.
He says his four children are an added incentive to working hard and climbing further up the career ladder.
Daniel talks of the ability to “tailor make” a career in the wine industry, using the ITO papers to hone skills in certain areas.
And his advice for young people looking to get a foot in the industry is to start out at ground level, “push for what you want”, and learn as much as you can, including formal qualifications. “You become hot property, not another bum on a seat.”
*Photographe taken by Jim Tannock and supplied by Constellation Brands.
This article originally appeared in Winepress Magazine which is owned by Wine Marlborough Ltd and was adaptedd for sharing purposes.