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Grapevine breeding associate | Herrick Grapevines | St. Helena, CA

Posted by kaury.balcom | September 6, 2022

 Breeding Associate and Quality Control Assurance 

About Us 

Herrick Grapevines was established in 1997 by veteran Nurseryman, Bob Herrick. During a time when Napa Valley vineyards and wineries were looking for another source of grapevines, Bob stepped in using his numerous years of experience and created a grapevine operation program in St. Helena, CA (an offshoot of Cottage Garden Nursery). The demand for quality grapevines from Herrick Grapevines spread across the state and eventually across the United States, Canada and Mexico. Herrick Grapevines proudly supplies grapevines to all corners of North America. 

To ensure the continued supply of clean propagative material for the future, Herrick Grapevines began to develop a Mother Block in 2016. The 88-acre vineyards in Red Bluff, CA – in a remote location that is far removed from other vineyards and intense agriculture. This is designed to minimize or eliminate the exposure to potential insect vectors and diseases. The site is virgin ground that has never been planted in grapevines. The entire vineyard is planted in Protocol 2010 certified plant material that has been acquired from Foundation Plant Services at U.C. Davis and is considered the cleanest plant material available. The planted material offers over 20 varieties of rootstock, 100 wine grape varieties with nearly 300 clonal selections and more in the process of being acquired. 

In 2015 Herrick Grapevines became independent from Cottage Gardens Nursery and established roots in Red Bluff, CA under the management of Diego Barison. Diego has been an indispensable driving force in establishing the company as it is now. Born and raised in a vineyard farming family in Calamandrana, Italy, Diego started his career in growing grapevines at a young age. He attended the agriculture high school in Asti and in the year 2000, he started his own nursery in which he integrated innovative technology and began clonal selection in Piedmont vineyards. He received a degree in Agronomy from the University of Turin and completed a master’s thesis at the French ITV, Institute for the Research on Vineyard and Wine. As the managing member of Herrick Grapevines, he hopes to continue to learn innovative methods of grape growing. In addition to his work with the nursery, Diego has co-authored a reference book on viticulture named VITIBOOK. 

Job Description 

  • Provide direction and leadership to Quality Assurance/ Quality Control Department personnel. 
  • Monitor and respond to quality indicators. 
  • Serve as primary escort for audits and inspections to assure that standard operating procedures are being followed. 
  • Troubleshoot and investigate plant quality issues and interact with all customer representatives. 
  • Develop, train and assess the performance of QA Department staff. 
  • Additional projects and duties may be assigned as it relates to this position. 
  • Design, lead, and conduct experiments on yield, production efficiency, genetic trait mapping, molecular marker development, and grape quality and composition improvement. 
  • Contribute to the development and deployment of technical innovations and germplasm related to wine grape genetics and breeding. 
  • Execute viticulture and grape breeding research strategies, programs and projects based on corporate guidance and business needs. 
  • Genotypic and/or phenotypic plant selection for desired characters 
  • Hands on participation in propagation, planting, plot management, evaluation, and selection 
  • Data collection, analysis and publication in trade and scholarly journals 
  • Supervision of research staff 
  • Domestic and/or international travel for collection and evaluation of potential genotypes 
  • Assistance with plant patenting/trademarking and introduction when appropriate 
  • Assist in composing/developing applications for grants/contracts for funding of research projects 
  • Collaborate with researchers, external agencies, and industry to develop cooperative research initiatives 

Recommended Skills and Experience 

  • Bachelor of Science/Art degree in Microbiology, Food Science, Biochemistry, Biological Sciences or related field is required. 
  • Must be knowledgeable in food processing equipment and laboratory operations as well as food quality/safety/sanitation systems and programs. 
  • Understanding of fresh and frozen product specifications a plus. 
  • This person must be trainable in personal safety, product safety, and product quality standards along with related job duties. 
  • Must be able to work on multiple tasks simultaneously requiring communication and interaction with employees at all levels. 
  • Must be able to travel to various Herrick facilities as needed. 
  • Remote work not available for this position. 
  • Must be able to speak and read in English. 
  • Bilingual, English/Spanish, a plus. 
  • Must have a valid driver’s license with a clean DMV driving record. 
  • Must pass pre-placement drug/alcohol screen. 


  • Compensation will vary based on selected individual’s merit. 
  • Additional benefits include: 401(k) with profit sharing and health, dental, and vision insurance after one year of service. 

Equal Opportunity Employer Statement 

HERRICK GRAPEVINES LLC is committed to the principles of equal employment. We are committed to complying with all federal, state, and local laws providing equal employment opportunities, and all other employment laws and regulations. It is our intent to maintain a work environment that is free of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation based on an individual’s race (including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists), color, religion, religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices), national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition (including cancer and genetic characteristics), genetic information, marital status, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender (including gender identity and gender expression), age (40 years and over), sexual orientation, veteran and/or military status, protected medical leaves (requesting or approved for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act), domestic violence victim status, political affiliation, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws. The Company is dedicated to the fulfillment of this policy regarding all aspects of employment, including but not limited to recruiting, hiring, placement, transfer, training, promotion, rates of pay, and other compensation, termination, and all other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. 

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