Chris Corley
 
July 4, 2011 | Chris Corley

A Celebration Of Independence

Posted By : Chris Corley

Today, we're looking forward to fireworks, swimming with the kids and maybe a barbeque this evening. I wanted to write a short piece about the 4th of July. The more I thought about what to write, the deeper the days meaning became to me. I took a little time to read The Declaration of Independence this morning, and it became very clear to me that there were no new words to be written today. I hope you can take a few minutes to read this incredible document and reflect on the events that transpired on this day 235 years ago. Then enjoy your freedom to have a hot dog and cold beer.

Cheers,
Chris


THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

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IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.


He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Time Posted: Jul 4, 2011 at 9:52 PM
Chris Corley
 
March 31, 2011 | Chris Corley

Jamaica : Red Red Wine

Posted By : Chris Corley

A wonderful aspect of wine is its seemingly endless variety. Wine is produced in all the major regions of the world, many of which produce wines with distinctive characteristics that over time can be consistently aligned with that areas. In general, when we talk about ˜wine', we're really talking about wine made from grapes, but there are lots of wines made from other fruits as well. I've been consulting the past year on a potential project that would produce pomegranate wine.

My wife and I are having an early celebration of our 10th anniversary, which is next month. We're spending a week in Jamaica, and as can be expected are enjoying all of the wonderful bounties of the island ¦ rum, snapper, conch, jerk chicken and herbs, rum.

Interestingly, when we visited a little shop in Negril to pick up a few things, I noticed about 4-5 different Jamaican wines available on the shelf. All of them were very inexpensive, a couple of bucks a bottle, and the fruit they were made from was not identified. Sugar Dandy, our sometimes ride, said that he had homemade a batch of wine from sea grapes that worked out alright for him. I don't know if these wines were made from sea grapes or not, but they definitely had some added flavors mixed in.

Admittedly, I didn't go to too much trouble to seek out any particular wines or even do much homework on them ¦ I'm on vacation and the Red Stripe and Rum Punch has been sufficing my needs for libation. It was fun to grab a few small bottles of what seemed to be the most popular brands in the store to get a sense of the local taste. I'm a winemaker, not a critic, so out of respect for my fellow craftsmen, I will stick to describing the wines and withhold judgment when writing on our family blog.

All of the wines were sweet and had very basic fruit flavors like cherry, strawberry and cola. The ‘Red Label’ wine was the sweetest and fruitiest, very viscous and almost syrupy in texture. The ‘Mandingo’ was listed as roots tonic wine, and it had a gingery kind of floral aroma and a sweet-tart bite. The “Old Pirate” was candied fruit on the nose and real easy-going on the palate, not supersweet nor acidic. The sweetness in these wines is almost port-like, it seems as though the local taste is for very sweet wines, with strong berry flavors. No right or wrong tastes, just fun for us to get a taste of the local flavors!


Chris Corley
 
March 15, 2011 | Chris Corley

Relationships

Posted By : Chris Corley

I'm in Southern California for a few days to pour our wines at the two Family Winemakers of California (FWC) tastings in Del Mar and Pasadena. In addition to showing our support for FWC, which is a valuable industry resource that works on behalf of family-owned wineries across California, these tastings give the members a forum for presenting our wines to existing and potential new accounts.

A wines journey from the winery to the dining table is largely based on relationships. There are lots of nice wines being produced all over the world, and lots of them are being sold for fair prices. With wine, its not just as easy as making a good product and selling it for a fair price. Those are only the first steps. Maintaining healthy relationships at every step of the process, both internally and externally, is critical to our winery's success and longevity.

Our previous broker in the Los Angeles area retired this past year after many years of representing our wines. We wish her well and hope that she can enjoy a well deserved spell of rest and relaxation. I met with our new broker at Palate Food and Wine Bar in Pasadena last night. I'm very excited by their energy and commitment to representing wines that they feel strongly about. We had a wonderful meal, one of the best I've had recently, and the enthusiasm at the table was infectious. Chef Octavio visited us at the table and sent out some fantastic off-the-menu treats from the kitchen. I was impressed with fluidity and balance of his dishes. Balance and seamless transitions is something we strive for in our wines, and last nights meals was one of the best examples of accomplishing this with food that I've experienced lately.
 


As a family, we've spent the better part of the last 40 years giving everything we've got to make Monticello Vineyards be the best it can be. We've had ups and downs, but we have always maintained good internal relationships within our company and external relationships with other companies and individuals. This is why we have such a large percentage of staff that have been with us for 20-30 years, and why we tend to think for the long term and maintain long-lasting relationships with our vendors and brokers and all the other people who are critical to getting our Monticello wines from the winery to the dining table. I think this is also why our fans of the winery are so loyal. Its not just about the wine, its about the relationship, too.

Chris Corley
 
February 27, 2011 | Chris Corley

Premiere Napa Valley - The Other Side of the Table

Posted By : Chris Corley

These last few days have been busy and also a lot of fun. Monticello participated in four appellation tastings and a trade-only tasting hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners, Premiere Napa Valley (PNV), at the Culinary Institute - Greystone, in St. Helena.

We have five vineyards spanning the valley floor that we either farm ourselves or are in control of -

Monticello Home Ranch Vineyard in Oak Knoll District (Big Ranch Road)
Knollwood Vineyard - Oak Knoll District (Big Ranch Road)
State Lane Vineyard - Yountville (State Lane)
Tietjen Vineyard - Rutherford (Niebaum Lane)
Yewell Vineyard - St. Helena (Ehlers Lane)


This year, our unique auction offering was monikered 'The Five Boroughs of Monticello', and is a Cabernet Sauvignon based blend incoprorating all five vineyard sites. The wine is rich in texture with dark fruits, smoky oak accents and a long finish. I'm really happy with this blend.

The Premiere Napa Valley event is always a pleasure to attend, and it gives us a chance to visit with all the incoming trade (distributors, restarateurs, retailers) that are in Napa for the week. Its a great opportunity for us to introduce our wines to new trade and also to visit with friends and existing reps. The resulting auction also raises a lot of money for the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), an organization that our family has dedicated a lot of effort to support. Our father, Jay Corley, is a past President of the NVV. Stephen Corley is currently in his second year as Vice-President, and Kevin Corley has spearheaded the volunteering of time and leadership of the Beverage Committee at Auction Napa Valley for the last couple of years.

Most of the winewriters and bloggers are in attendance for the Premiere event and the appellation tastings preceding it. Over the last few days, I've spent roughly 12 hours standing on the other side of the table pouring our Monticello wines for various tradespeople and winewriters. This year I was struck by the differences in approach of different writers and tasters. At PNV, there are 200 wines that are being poured. I know of only one writer that commits himself and maintains the discipline to go through all 200 wines and keep organized notes of each wine. From my side of the table, Alder Yarrow, of Vinography (www.vinography.com), with his tasting notes going directly into his iPad, clearly is the writer that walks away with the most comprehensive view of this tasting. My apologies to any other writers that are attempting to put together comprehensive reviews of these tastings, but from my side of the table, Alder seems to me be in a league of his own in his approach to tasting at these types of large scale events.

The bidders are typically pretty organized in their approach, as they are determining what lots they are going to invest their auction budget into. These bids are based on wine quality, but also a large part based on brand. As with most auctions, you pretty much know which ones are going to be the big bids going into the day. While our 5 case donation does not generate the stratospheric prices of some of these top lots, we're very proud of the time and energy that we've put into the NVV, related organizations and our community over the last 40 years.

A lot of the money raised by the Napa Vintners goes to a lot of great causes around Napa that eventually helps lots of people in our community. From our side of the table, we are proud to be a part of a community that cares for and puts so much energy into the others that need help in the community.
 

Chris Corley
 
October 31, 2010 | Chris Corley

Trick or Treat

Posted By : Chris Corley

Our kids, at 6 and 5, are right in a sweet spot for trick-or-treating. In the last year or so, Halloween has become a lot of fun again with that exciting kind of dump-your-candybag-on-the-table-and-tally-your-loot kind of anticipation. It's so much fun to watch the kids running from house to house in their costumes yelling out 'trick or treat' and loading up their bags and little plastic pumpkins. We're going to gang up with some friends that live near us and hit the neighborhood tonight en masse. I'm really looking forward to the evening.

It occured to me this morning as I came into the winery to check on our fermenters (we still have a lot of grapes fermenting in tanks and bins) that it's kind of 'Trick or Treat' in the winery for us winemakers too. Although we're not wearing costumes, we go from tank to tank knocking on doors, pulling samples and tasting ferments to gauge what kind of treat we've got. Just like the neighborhood kids, the expectation is that we'll get a treat and won't have to perform tricks. The anticipation lays in whether we're going to a tasty bag of candy or some pretzels. When we were kids, we knew the right houses to go to for the best treats, and the ones to avoid where the crabby old people handed out peanuts or simply didn't answer the door. In the same way, as a winemaker, we also know which tanks are going to give us the best treats as we make our rounds.

Still, I have the same giddy anticipation at the end of harvest as my kids will have tonight, when I spread my seasonal loot out on the blending table and organize all my wines into different categories of what I like best, and what's medium and what I want to trade. This year so far, it looks like a pretty nice bag of enological loot!

Happy Halloween!

Chris Corley
 
August 10, 2010 | Chris Corley

Seasonal Clippings, Vintage Whiskers

Posted By : Chris Corley

I cut off my beard a couple of days ago. Normally the previous years harvest beard would come off the following spring, but this summer has been so cool that the beard remained nearly until this years harvest. Many vintners gauge the growing season by the development of their tomatos in the garden. Seeing how the tomatos grow and ripen can give some an easy visual sense of how the growing season is developing. I'm developing a hypothesis that the degree days of the growing season can be determined by the lifespan of my previous year's Harvest Beard. On the years that I grow a long harvest beard, I find that I can roughly gauge the following growing season by how long the beard lasts into the summer.

My 2009 Vintage Beard lasted until August 2010. This late shearing indicates a cool growing season and a potentially later harvest. The same was true for the 2004 Vintage Beard which came off late in the summer of 2005. This was a late season as well, and coincided with the birth of my daughter Ruby, who along with her one-year old brother Jack, perceived the beard as a plaything and grabbed at it every chance they could. This prompted me to shear perhaps earlier than I normally would have, and perhaps nulls the scientific approach I'd been taking to linking grape development to beard longevity, but it still applies as anecdotal evidence.

My wife and kids have never seen my chin. For that matter, neither have I for the last 18 or so years. I think it's still there. My sons got a dimpled chin, but we're not sure if that came from me or not. I've always had a beard of some length. I've never thought much about why. I guess I'm just enjoying the hair on my head while I've still got it. Gravity affects men too as we age. For me the effect has been that the hair used to grow vigorously upward out of the top of my head, and now grows downward out of my face. My beard tends to grow long in the winter and get sheared in the spring. We've never saved the shearings or tried to fashion textiles out of them, although I suppose that may be the green thing to do. Maybe some day.


After a Summer Shearing

Earlier this year I was in Houston doing some wine events and was at a dinner in which some great Spanish wines were shared. At the close of the evening, I gave one of the guests a parting hug. She realized shortly afterward that she had lost one of her rather dangly earrings. We searched briefly for the missing accoutrement, until she realized that her rather dangly earring was hanging in the underbrush of my 2009 Vintage Beard. I thought it looked pretty good, but she wanted it back, so I acquiesced.

We shear the growth in the vineyard as well. We pull lateral shoots and leaves that block the sun and air from getting into the middle of the canopy. We trim excess fruit that may prevent the vine from fully ripening the crop. We trim the weeds and vegetation in the rows and under the vines, so they don't suck up too much of the groundwater or nutrients or create havens for pests.


Hacked, Grafted, and Gooped

Sometimes we hack back the vines themselves. This year, we sawed off the tops of a small portion of Cabernet Franc vines in the front block. We grafted Cabernet Sauvignon buds on to these vines. Just two small dormant buds were grafted on to the top of each hacked trunk. They were gooped, taped and we crossed our fingers. This will be the first Cabernet Sauvignon we've grown on the property in about 30 years. We're all pretty excited about the potential. We're hopeful to have a modest crop of Cabernet Sauvignon from this block in 2011, and be fully enagaged in 2012. As a family, we tend to get excited about things that are still years away. Many of these new buds have shown very strong growth in their first season. These two buds per vine have the full force of the already established root system behind them. With this explosive growth, we've already been able to lay down the early shoots to set the cordons for next season.

 


First Years Growth from Two Buds

The root system for the 2010 Vintage Beard is already established as well. I'll need to order a new tub of Bluebeard's Original so I'll be ready for the potentially explosive whisker development this harvest


Chris Corley
 
July 16, 2010 | Chris Corley

Pairing Wines

Posted By : Chris Corley

There are lots of ways to pair wines. Most wine drinkers are familiar with matching up wines with different foods. Matching up a rich Cabernet Sauvignon with juicy grilled ribeye, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc with some Thai food, or even enjoying a glass of sparkling wine with a morning brunch are all pleasures for the palate and the soul. Over the last few years, there have been magazines that have promoted the idea of pairing wine with music and websites that pair wine with art. On the surface, these may seem like gimmicky ideas, but I say ‘Why not?’. Food, music, art, conversation all appeal to our senses and if a bottle of wine enhances that experience, then its a good match in my book.

We enjoyed the fireworks show on Shelter Island, NY over the 4th of July holiday with family and friends. We laid out blankets on the beach and got all the kids organized with snacks and drinks. We opened up a bottle of 2000 CORLEY RESERVE Cabernet Sauvignon to pair with the opening fireworks. The wine started off slowly, but after it opened up a bit in the glass it exploded with bright aromas and flavors. The tannins were smooth and dusty and there was a hint of gunpowder on the finish. The wine was a nice complementary match with the show. We also had a bottle of 1999 MONTICELLO Jefferson Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon as we dug our toes into the warm night sand for the big finale. This wine is tasting fantastic right now, after 10 years in the bottle, probably the best its ever been. From head to sandy toe, the wine was warm and rich, smooth in texture, exciting in flavor and had a great finish to go with the fireworks finale.

I ordered a glass of Long Island wine every chance I got and was pleased with the quality of the white wines in the region. There were some very nice renditions of Chardonnays, Viogniers, and Sauvignon Blancs. Given the humid heat and the propensity for summer rain, I can imagine that growing winegrapes could be a little challenging in that area, but I enjoyed most every wine I tried. Over the course of the week, we enjoyed New England clam chowders at every opportunity. One of our restaurant favorites was at Claudio’s in Greenport. On our last day, we were treated to a homemade chowder with herbs from the house garden and freshly dug clams. This chowder eclipsed all that came before it, and it was doubly enjoyable because we knew that the clams had just been dug up by our friends. We pulled out a bottle of 2005 CORLEY RESERVE Chardonnay, and it was a perfect fit. Rich, lush textures with a streak of acidity and long creamy finish. Man, I could live on that wine and chowder.

Throughout the week we enjoyed fresh caught crabs with various wines, which was a real treat for my wife, Julianna. Julianna grew up in southern Maryland and spreading fresh caught crabs out on a newspaper covered table for an afternoon of crab-cracking, cold drinks and conversation is one of her great life pleasures. I thought she was going to shed a tear when our daughter Ruby showed great interest in learning how to crack the crabs!

Of all the wine pairings we shared over the course of our trip to New York, I think the most important, meaningful and lasting were the wines we had while spending time with our family and friends there. We owe a special thanks to Joy and ‘Uncle Oredine’, Gil, Kerry, Fisher, Miles and ‘Uncle Matt’ and everyone else we were fortunate enough to spend time with back on Shelter Island and in NYC. We’ll raise a glass to all of you tonight. Another great wine pairing with all of you in our thoughts.

- See more at: http://www.corleyfamilynapavalley.com/blog/category/about-us/page/2/#sthash.lu6BYaFD.dpuf

Time Posted: Jul 16, 2010 at 9:32 PM
Chris Corley
 
July 5, 2010 | Chris Corley

A Brooklyn Garden

Posted By : Chris Corley

This week we're out in New York visiting family and friends. We've had a great few days in Brooklyn and and are now out at Shelter Island for the next week or so. Shelter Island is out on the North Fork of Long Island and this is New York wine Country so we're looking forward to enjoying some of the local wines. It's going to be hot and we're looking forward to cooling off with some of the roses and whites.

BROOKLYN GARDEN

Julianna's sister Joy and her husband Noureddine have been wonderful hosts. The food they have prepared has been fantastic, and we've had a lot of fun matching up our homemade wines with their homemade food. They have a great urban garden in their backyard, and the tomatos and herbs that have come out of there are tasting great. It was my first salad with a Brooklyn accent (terroir)! There's something kind of like a sixth sense, beyond umami, when your'e eating and drinking homegrown fare. Something soulful that you can't even taste but you can feel. The vegetables that they have grown in the middle of Brooklyn are as flavorful and juicy as I've had from California. Really nice.

JACKSON KEEPING AN EYE ON THINGS

We shipped a bunch of wine out ahead of time. I'm sure we put more thought into what wines we wanted to have on the trip as we did what clothes to pack. That's just the way we roll. Half the stash was wines that we made, and the other half were friend's wines that we like. I always enjoy drinking our wines away from the winery. In some ways, I put less thought into the wine, and take more pleasure from it when I'm out of the office so to speak.

JULIANNA AND RUBY WATERING THE TOMATOS

Julianna's been pushing for some raised veggie beds at the vineyard and after visiting the urban garden in Brooklyn and some of the farmstands in Long Island, I'm motivated to to help get those beds started at the vineyard. We've planted a small amount of hops last year and are ready to grow some fruit trees and veggies next year.

Chris Corley
 
August 2, 2009 | Chris Corley

Rafael Cortez, Cellarman (13 years)

Posted By : Chris Corley

Note : As a small family owned and operated business, we hold our staff in very high regard. They are our extended family. We have several staff members that have been with us for 25 years, and many that have been with us more than 10 years. This current series of blogs will introduce our staff members, from all different departments, whom we are so proud to have working with us.

RAFAEL CORTEZ, CELLARMAN

Rafael joined our team by working in the vineyard and over the course of about 10 years, he worked his way up through the ranks to be our lead tractor driver and the right hand man to our Vineyard Manager. For his last couple of seasons in the vineyard, Rafael would come to me towards the end of each harvest and ask if we had any work in the cellar. Each year, I unfortunately said that we didn't have a full time slot. His perserverance paid off in 2005, when we were inundated with a flood of fruit, and we had a full time position open up for him in the cellar. He has worked in the cellar for the last 4 years, and has been a great team member. Rafael does just about anything needed in the cellar, but his primary responsibility during bottling season is assisting Rodolfo in preparing and running the bottling line. Rafael is a great team player and we are all happy to have him as part of the team. Rafael wrote a short piece that he wanted to share ...

""I've been married to my wife Gaby for 7 years. We have two daughters, Isabel and Lesley, and we're looking to have a third. I dedicate my weekends to my family, and the week to my job. I consider myself a happy, humble, and lucky person. When I wake up in the morning, I feel ready for another day at the winery! My job keeps me active and it's very important to me and my family. I want to thank the Corley family for allowing me to be a part of their team.""

Thanks Rafa! We're happy to have you on the team as well!

Chris Corley
 
June 3, 2009 | Chris Corley

Rodolfo Cuevas, Assistant Winemaker (20 years)

Posted By : Chris Corley

Note : As a small family owned and operated business, we hold our staff in very high regard. They are our extended family. We have several staff members that have been with us for 25 years, and many that have been with us more than 10 years. This current series of blogs will introduce our staff members, from all different departments, whom we are so proud to have working with us.

RODOLFO CUEVAS, ASSISTANT WINEMAKER

Rodolfo has worked with Monticello for nearly 20 years. He began with us working in the field around 1990. Rodolfo spoke little English when he started at Monticello. After four seasons in the field, Rodolfo expressed an interest in shifting over to the cellar. Our winemaker at the time, John McKay, provided Rodolfo with the opportunity to work in the cellar, and Rodolfo has been working in the winery every day since.

Over the last 16 years in the cellar, Rodolfo has consistently improved his cellar and winemaking skills. Rodolfo has gone from working in the field and speaking little English to managing our cellar and production staff, overseeing the bottling line, interacting with custom clientele, running lab analysis and generally helping out wherever necessary. There was a stretch of a few years in the mid 1990s when Rodolfo was responsible for our gardens at Monticello, and would spend one day a week tending to the garden. We were all impressed with his abilities and care in the garden as well. A natural green thumb. And always with a smile.

From time to time, we'll have a carne asada cookout on the crush pad. Rodolfo makes some great salsas and is very talented in the kitchen as well. Away from work, he enjoys dancing, fishing and spending time with his family.

I remember when Rodolfo first started working in the cellar in 1993. We have worked together up through the ranks of the cellar, from the bottom to the top, literally shoulder to shoulder, and will share our 16th harvest together at Monticello in 2009. In all the time I have worked with Rodolfo, I have never seen him lose his temper, nor even raise his voice. He rarely misses a day of work, and is the most dependable person I have ever worked with. I'm immensely proud to work with Rodolfo, and hope that we can continue working side by side for many more years!

 
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