“Take every opportunity you can” is the motto Daniel Warman lives by.
That belief, along with the 27 year-old’s endless enthusiasm, will likely see him continue to rise through the ranks of Marlborough’s viticulture industry.
He was recently promoted to block manager at Castle Cliffs vineyard and is now responsible for running the 150ha property on behalf of owner Constellation Brands. He oversees four fulltime staff and 10 RSE workers during peak times and is loving the new challenge.
“I’m enjoying the responsibility of making sure everything happens on time and the staff have everything they need. I didn’t expect a promotion quite so soon but the position became available and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to apply. Turns out I was the most qualified for the job.”
His new role is a far cry from where he was just three years ago.
“I was driving a tractor for a small contracting firm and I realised that if I stayed, I would always be driving tractors,” he says. “I wasn’t going anywhere. I didn’t want to work all my life and get nowhere so I looked for an employer that offered Primary ITO training.”
Daniel had undertaken on-the-job training before while working in the dairy industry and knew it was an effective way to get ahead. So once he landed a new job with Constellation Brands, he threw himself straight into an apprenticeship and a National Certificate in Horticulture Level 4.
Studying with Primary ITO allows him to juggle family commitments and his full-time job, while learning practical skills and acquiring crucial background knowledge.
“Being able to read something in my text book then go out in the field and have a go, makes it a lot easier to learn and remember,” he says. “Primary ITO study opens your eyes up to understand the bigger picture. It also makes it easier to take on new challenges because you feel like you have that base knowledge.”
Daniel says study has made him feel more confident to manage staff and make key decisions.
“Having that knowledge there is great. I can say to staff ‘this is what we’re going to do because’… being able to give them a reason is so much better. It gives them confidence in the decisions I’m making and helps us achieve the desired result.”
His newfound skills prompted him to enter the 2017 Bayer Marlborough’s Young Viticulturist of the Year competition for the first time – an experience he thoroughly enjoyed and is keen to do again. “It definitely reinforced the importance of what I’ve learned, and highlighted areas I need to work on in future.”
Daniel acknowledges study is a big commitment and admits he often hits the books between 10pm and midnight to fit everything in. “But it’s worth it in the end. You see the benefits as you go, so it’s quite encouraging and motivates you to continue.”
He hopes to continue working for Constellation Brands as block manager for the next four or five years and ultimately become a regional manager. “My study is a huge part of achieving those goals. The things I’m learning are things I’d never have the opportunity to learn day-to-day on the site. And it shows the company that I’m committed and dedicated to the job.”