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Extension Viticulture Specialist | New Mexico State University | Las Cruces, NM

Posted by kaury.balcom | May 15, 2024

Position Title: Ext Viticulturist Specialist

Employee Classification: Ext State Specialist

College/Division: Cooperative Extension Service


Internal or External Search: External – Open to all applicants

Location: Las Cruces

Offsite Location (if applicable):

Target Hourly/Salary Rate:  Commensurate on education & experience

Appointment Full-time Equivalency:  1.0

Exempt or Non-Exempt:  Exempt

Summary:  Searching for a motivated individual to work with producers, agribusiness organizations, and state and federal agencies to promote sustainable production of high-quality grapes in New Mexico.

Classification Summary:
Extension Specialists provide New Mexico’s citizenry and communities with effective leadership and collaboration to foster economic, educational, and community development.

Classification Standard Duties:
Support the actively growing wine grape industry in New Mexico with appropriate applied research and timely extension efforts.

Required Education, Experience, Certification/License, Equivalency
Ph.D. (in hand by hire date) in Viticulture, Enology, Pomology, Plant Science, Plant Biology, Horticulture, Food Science and Technology or related field.
-Must be knowledgeable in viticulture, additional knowledge of soils, water management, plant fertility, plant physiology, identifying grape vine disorders, and pest management is also appreciated.
-Basic enology experience is welcomed.
-Experience in Extension work and, in the design, and establishment of demonstration plots.
-Experience working in vineyards and with full and part-time farmers and/or hobby growers.
-Familiarity with frost risk reduction strategies in vineyards, including vineyard site location.
-Familiarity with cultivar adaptability trials for site specific locations and mesoclimates.
-Demonstrated ability to conduct, interpret, and demonstrate the practical application of current research findings and make related practical recommendations to county extension agents, agricultural producers, agribusiness, homeowners, and the general public in diverse communities throughout New Mexico.
-Demonstrated ability to design, implement, and publish scientific experiments.
-Must be able to effectively interact with, communicate (good oral, written, and listening skills) and relate to people of all ages, incomes, education levels, and ethnic backgrounds and to develop informal and formal educational programs to meet their needs.
-Knowledge of the most up-to-date Extension and other delivery methods to best meet the information needs of diverse clientele, including non-traditional and innovative, social networks and other electronic media outlets.
-Grant writing experience.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
Knowledgeable in viticulture, with knowledge of soils, water management, plant fertility, plant physiology, and pest management

Job Duties and Responsibilities
Position is a 12 month tenure track position. 75% Extension, 25% Research
Located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with statewide responsibilities. Travel is required. May work evenings or weekends as needed.

-Administratively and programmatically responsible to the Department Heads of Extension Plant Sciences and Plant and Environmental Sciences.
-Work with producers, agribusiness organizations, and state and federal agencies to promote sustainable production of high-quality grapes in New Mexico.
-Responsible for the development of an aggressive and progressive state-wide Extension education program in viticulture and/or enology that provides training and assistance to County Agents, and commercial and hobby growers in areas such as but not limited to, variety selection, production practices, irrigation technology, and pest management.
-Work collaboratively with other state Extension specialists, University researchers, County Agents, related beverage programs at NMSU and Central New Mexico Community College, statewide Agricultural Science Centers, and industry representatives in developing and implementing multi-disciplinary activities.
-Interpret and disseminate current and relevant research findings for practical use by producers and homeowners through mass media (including newspapers, radio, T.V., and social media), publications, grower meetings, workshops, demonstration plots, field days, and other proven Extension methods.
-Write and revise Extension publications.
-Build and maintain working relationships with community and producer groups (e.g., NM Wine Growers, New Mexico Vine and Wine Society), wine agribusiness industry, and other industry groups.
-Participate in annual NM Wine Education Conference which includes collaborating with Wine Growers Association to find guest speakers and suppliers.
-Conduct an applied research program within the field of viticulture (predominantly wine grapes) relevant to New Mexico producers and urban stakeholders with an emphasis on developing sustainable management practices, improving grape quality, and increasing the profitability of the grape and wine industries.
-Acquire extramural funding to support, develop, and implement Extension and research programs.
-Advise and mentor graduate students, and publish research results in peer-reviewed journals to maintain adequate progress to earn tenure.
-Promote CES programs within the district to meet the LEADS 2025 ( Equity, Inclusion and Diversity goals prioritizing the program expansion to non-traditional demographics.
-Foster collaborations and participate in activities and on research teams that support the work of the Center of Excellence in Food and Sustainable Agriculture (CESFAS;

The wine industry in New Mexico has rapidly grown at an estimated rate of about 15% annually and is a major contributor to New Mexico’s economy in both direct sales and ancillary contributions within the food and beverage service sectors. New Mexico has five major wine regions. These regions are the Northern, Middle Rio Grande River Valley, Mimbres Valley, Tularosa Basin, and Mesilla Valley. New Mexico’s wine culture consists of both Hybrids and an abundant amount of quality Vinifera plantings. The high desert climate, with hot sunny days and cool nights, makes New Mexico a quality wine-grape-growing region with a promising future. Grape producers are seeking information on varietal selection, vineyard site locations, best management practices to achieve high quality, added value, and New Mexico branded wines. Table grape production and marketing is also of interest to some. The incumbent of this position will support the actively growing wine grape industry in New Mexico with appropriate applied research and timely extension efforts.
The position will be based in NMSU main campus in Las Cruces, NM with statewide responsibilities and is housed in the Extension Plant Sciences Department (EPS; and Plant and Environmental Sciences Department (PES; The two departments collaborate seamlessly, including in the management of split appointments. EPS has a mission to extend research-based knowledge and technology that will enable producers, clientele, and citizens to improve the quality of their lives and enhance the agricultural, economic, environmental, and social well-being of New Mexico. EPS is comprised of specialists who work collaboratively with each other and with Cooperative Extension offices and Agricultural Science Centers across New Mexico to actively disseminate leading-edge technology and education to a diverse clientele throughout the state of New Mexico. PES has a mission to improve the quality of life for the citizens of New Mexico through teaching, research, outreach, and service in the study and application of plant, soil, water, and environmental sciences. Research and graduate advising opportunities are available within PES. Facilities available include four 2000 sq. ft. laboratories and associated special rooms, with equipment such as ICP mass spectrometer, Li-Cor photosynthesis meter; ultra- and high-speed centrifuges; fluorometer, growth chamber, HPLC and other state-of-art equipment shared by scientists in PES. The Bobby Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine is available for holding presentations and tastings. In addition to facilities on Campus, wine grape research/demonstration plots and a modern viticulture laboratory are available at the nearby NMSU Fabian Garcia Agricultural Experiment Station located about a mile from the main campus. Eleven other NMSU Agricultural Science Centers across New Mexico offer opportunities for multi-locational research, several of which have existing grape production infrastructure in place. There is also opportunity to work across institutions with Central New Mexico College Beverage Production and Management program (

Preferred Qualifications

Three to five years of experience in wine grape production are preferred.

Special Requirements of the Position
*Please include on the application:
-Your resume/cv
-Cover letter
-A statement of your contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion. For more information about this requirement see:
-Brief summary of Extension and research goals (2 pages maximum for each) under “Other Department Specific Document”

Department Contact:  Bernd Leinauer, 575-646-2546,

Contingent Upon Funding: Not Applicable

Bargaining Unit Eligibility: This is NOT a bargaining unit position with American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Standard Work Schedule: Standard (M-F, 8-5)

If Not a Standard Work Schedule: 

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

Environment: Work is normally performed in a typical interior/office work environment.

Physical Effort: No or very limited physical effort required.

Lifting Requirements: Requires handling of average-weight objects up to 10 pounds or some standing or walking.

Risk: No or very limited exposure to physical risk.

Recruitment Summary

We are New Mexico’s land-grant institution and a comprehensive research university dedicated to teaching, research public service and outreach at all levels. NMSU is a welcoming community of talented faculty, staff and students who are working together to make a difference. We are a NASA Space Grant College, a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI), a minority-serving institution (MSI) and home to the first Honors College in New Mexico. We offer an accessible education that shapes bright futures.

NMSU provides learning opportunities to a diverse population of students and community members at four campuses, Cooperative Extension offices located in each of New Mexico’s 33 counties, 12 research and science centers, and through distance education.

NMSU Main Campus
Located in Las Cruces, NM, New Mexico State University’s 900-acre main campus is located at the crossroads of I-10 and I-25 in the Southwestern United States. As a thriving center of higher education, deeply rooted in the regional tradition, its role as a comprehensive university is recognized throughout the state.

Doña Ana Community College
Founded in 1973 in collaboration with local school districts to support occupational education, DACC is now a leading community college that provides transformative educational opportunities that meet the workforce needs of Doña Ana County. With a focus on access, innovation and excellence, DACC offers over ninety degrees and certificates, adult education, specialized workforce training, and small business assistance.

Alamogordo Campus
Established in 1958 to serve the needs of the airmen and families stationed at Holloman Air Force Base located only 10 miles west of Alamogordo, NMSUA is a community college with a long history of excellence that is supported by a caring community of hard-working students and dedicated faculty and staff. The campus is situated “on the hill” above Alamogordo and provides inspiring views of the city and the Tularosa Basin, offering the perfect venue for creative and motivated learning.

Grants Campus
NMSU Grants was established as a branch of New Mexico State University in 1968 through the cooperative efforts of New Mexico State University and Grants Municipal Schools. As a two-year branch community college, NMSU Grants serves the local communities in Cibola and McKinley counties, including the Pueblos of Acoma, Laguna, and Zuni, as well as Tohajiilee, San Mateo, San Rafael, Cubero, the City of Grants, and the Village of Milan.

Special Instructions to Applicants

The electronic application is the *official* document that will be used to qualify applicants. Paper/email documents will not be accepted. Required documents must be attached to this application.

EEO Statement
NMSU is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities, and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. NMSU is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.