About the wine cellar worker
The cellar worker is also referred to as the cellar person or cellar rat. The latter term is used because the person bounces from job to job around the cellar, hustling back and forth. The cellar worker cleans tanks, hoses off the cellar floor, shovels grape skins, racks barrels, move barrels, and cleans every piece of equipment used in the winemaking process. The cellar worker is one of the unsung heroes of winemaking. In our Wine Photo of the Day, we see cellar worker Miguel Kaona keeping records of the barrels recently filled with grape juice at the Madrigal Family Winery in St. Helena. Record keeping is most likely one of the easier tasks in the job description of a cellar worker. The good news for those who do this job is that they learn many aspects of making wine and often work their way up the ladder. There have been many cellar workers who have become winemakers. I recently interviewed one such winemaker, Rob Hunt at Anderson Conn Valley. Rob began his winemaking experience as a Cellar Rat at the Pine Ridge winery in the Napa Valley.
Chris Madrigal runs Madrigal Family Winery, one of the very few Mexican-owned wineries in California. Chris is the third generation of the Madrigal Family. His grandfather’s family arrived in the Valley in the 1930’s. Chris’ father started as a vineyard worker and later started a vineyard management business that is thriving today. Madrigal Family Winery last week opened a tasting room in Sausalito, California. The address is 819 Bridgeway. Check the Madrigal Website for additional information.