Assistant Professor - Enology
Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is seeking applicants for a tenure-track position in enology to be located at the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center (www.arec.vaes.vt.edu/arec/alson-hsmith.html) near Winchester, Virginia. This is an Assistant Professor position with equal appointments in research (50%) and extension (50%) and a tenure home in the Food Science and Technology Department at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. The position is an academic year (9-month) appointment. The successful candidate will develop a nationally recognized, externally funded research and extension program principally focused on wine grapes and wine production, but with opportunities to conduct apple cider and small fruit research as funding and partnerships are developed. The successful candidate will be expected to recruit and mentor graduate students and engage with Virginia Cooperative Extension Agents and other Extension Specialists to deliver research-based, broadly accessible, inclusive extension materials that address the relevant needs of Virginia's grape and wine industries. The Enologist position is one of six full-time faculty at the AREC; other positions include a viticulturist, a tree fruit horticulturist, a tree fruit pathologist, a grape pathologist, and an entomologist. The AREC has modern labs for physiological, molecular, and fruit analyses, greenhouses, controlled environment chambers, and a 120-acre research farm including a vineyard.
Research opportunities: Potential research areas will almost always require an interdisciplinary approach with collaborators and should align with current University and AREC strategic plans, the College's SmartFarm Innovation Network and harness resources available through the Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture. Research priorities will be periodically reviewed by industry stakeholders and will align with the successful candidate's skills and funding success; potential areas include, but are not limited to:
- Collaboration with grape breeders and grape breeding programs to evaluate varieties for adaptation and performance in Mid-Atlantic climate, pest, and disease conditions.
- Collaboration with viticulture research and extension faculty to develop real-time, nondestructive means of evaluating vine health as measured by factors such as nutrient status, grape composition and ripeness, and wine quality potential;
- Collaboration with plant pathologists to understand the impact of diseases on fruit and wine quality; and
- Determining the impact of viticultural practices on flavor, aroma, and defensive or health-promoting properties of grapes and grape products.
Scholarship and funding: The successful candidate will be expected to secure extramural funding, publish in peer-reviewed journals, recruit and mentor graduate students, actively participate in professional societies, and contribute to AREC, Food Science and Technology Department, and college service. International engagement and recognition are encouraged and expected as the incumbent's career advances. Extramural, competitive funding is available from state agencies including the Virginia Wine Board (www.virginiawine.org/industry/virginiawineboard), the Virginia Agricultural Council, and Specialty Crop Block Grants from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. AREC faculty have also been successful with USDA/NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative funding, various NSF grants, and increasingly with corporate research partners such as the Virginia Biosciences Health Research Corporation (www.virginiacatalyst.org), and with agrochemical companies.
Extension and outreach: The successful candidate will be expected to develop an integrated extension / research program that serves the Virginia wine industry and beyond. The candidate will be expected to provide educational opportunities to the stakeholders and Extension agents through research and extension to address Virginia wine and other fermentation industry needs. Examples of extension efforts are workshops, site visits, newsletters, seminars, other educational opportunities, and extension publications. Position requires occasional travel to attend conferences and meetings.
Virginia wine and grape industries: Virginia ranks 8th nationally in terms of wine production and 6th in terms of wine grape production. The Commonwealth is home to more than 350 wineries, 4,000 vineyard acres, employs more than 10,000 in the wine and grape sector, and generated $1.7 billion in economic impact in 2019 (Economic Forensics and Analytics, Inc.). The industry recognizes 10 wine sub-regions within the state, including eight named AVAs. Virginia's macroclimate is continental temperate to humid, subtropical with precipitation generally uniformly distributed throughout four distinct seasons of the year. Winter cold injury is possible; however, the current industry is based primarily on Vitis vinifera cultivars and some interspecific hybrids that have good tolerance of low temperatures experienced in much of Virginia.
Ph.D. in food science, enology, fermentation science and technology, viticulture, horticulture, or related field of study, by appointment start date; demonstrated experience in planning and implementing field or laboratory research; record of peer reviewed publications; ability to effectively communicate Extension materials to a diverse stakeholder audience. A criminal conviction check is mandatory prior to start date.
Demonstrated experience with wine grape and wine production, and/or grapevine physiology; analytic quantification of flavor/aroma metabolites; one or more years of postdoctoral training/experience in a relevant field; evidence of successful grantsmanship; demonstrated ability to be an effective supervisor or team leader as demonstrated by prior supervisory experience
$85,000 - $100,000; commensurate with experience
March 1, 2024
The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.
About Virginia Tech
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.
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