How do I find a winery compliance job? This is a question I am asked fairly often by students in my classes. Winery compliance is a very specialized niche of knowledge and skills but oddly enough the responsibility is given to just about any position at a winery.
Take a quick look at winejobs.com and you'll see what I'm talking about. I went recently to their site and entered "compliance" in the search by keyword box. The list of positions which involve some type of compliance duties ranged from winemaker to enologist to office manager to accountant to tasting room manager. That pretty much covers the spectrum of positions on most winery sites! And they're all responsible for compliance! So for an individual who is interested in finding a position that is limited to just compliance the offerings are fairly slim.
I do have some suggestions that I offer anyone who is interested in getting their feet wet in the world of wine compliance:
1. Take compliance courses. Search these out at local colleges and universities. Keep current.
2. Become familiar with the TTB's website. There are many tutorials and downloadable materials there for gaining a background related to requirements that anyone in compliance needs to be familiar with.
3. Become familiar with the Wine Institute's website. Their site has a regularly updated map of the US which lists all the licensing and shipping parameters related to direct to consumer shipping.
4. Get a LinkedIn account and join the Wine and Spirits Recruiting network. Get active in discussions around compliance topics and post a comment about your own background and job search.
5. Read my earlier blog post, "Is Compliance the Perfect Fit For You?".
6. Consider applying for harvest positions which may have at least some basic compliance duties. These positions are temporary but a great way to gain exposure to a winery site, and gain some experience.
Following these steps will give anyone looking to get a job in winery compliance a much better idea of what it involves, what the current topics are, the lingo and terminology, and ideally whether or not it is the area that fits them best.
I always try to encourage anyone who is wanting to get into compliance. For me it adds to the camaraderie that can often be missing in doing this type of work. Yes, compliance can be a lonely job, but it does NOT need to be!