If there’s one thing that Cellar Manager Ernesto Ceja loves, it’s a challenge. A multi-tasker by training, Ernesto’s response to anyone who tells him a job is impossible is “watch us!” That attitude comes from years of working at a large-scale Napa Valley facility where there were multiple winemakers to please. “Each of them thought their wine was the priority; it was excellent training.”
Ernesto began his wine career at Beringer Vineyards in St. Helena, and over thirteen years there he progressed through several promotions and job titles, including winery specialist, planner scheduler, cellar team lead and compliance analyst. Learning all aspects of cellar operations was the ideal preparation for Napa Wine Company, where Ernesto has worked as Cellar Master since 2012. In addition to working directly with multiple winemakers on approximately thirty labels, he hires, trains and supervises a full time and seasonal staff of up to sixty people and ensures all wine movements are accurate and timely.
Ernesto prides himself on his can-do attitude: if a client winemaker can’t find a truck to transport his or her grapes at harvest, Ernesto will try to help find one. If a cellar worker leaves unexpectedly, he’ll jump on a forklift and do the work. As he often says to Napa Wine Company’s Director of Winemaking, Kristi Koford, “We will figure it out KK. We always do.”