Managing the inventory, packing, and shipping of Chateau Montelena wine orders requires dedication and an intimate knowledge of Montelena wines. Thankfully, Jeff Conley has the experience to take on those tasks and much more. Read below to learn about our Facilities and Warehouse Manager who has been an integral part of the Montelena team since 1995.
Can you tell me a little bit about your background and how you began working at Chateau Montelena?
I started working at Montelena in August 1995 as a cellar worker. In 1997 I was promoted to CellarMaster and held this position until the 2005 harvest. When I started a family, I wanted a bit more flexibility in my role and the winery was able to create the role of Facilities and Warehouse Manager. We needed someone to handle daily shipping orders, start repack projects and perform other maintenance tasks that were normally outsourced. I was able to fill that role.
What are your responsibilities as Facilities and Warehouse Manager? What does a typical day look like?
I handle a wide variety of responsibilities and wear many different hats in my role. In an average day, I handle everything from batching and shipping daily orders to managing the wine inventory, safety training, record keeping and onboarding of new hires. Every year, I help manage our annual Estate Packaging project in conjunction with WineBev, an enterprise of the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation that provides an employment program for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, during harvest, I assist the crew in any way that I can. This includes everything from weighing the grapes that come in, loading bins onto the truck, driving forklifts, etc.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love that I have the ability to be independent in my job and the freedom I have to manage my time most efficiently. Working for the Barrett family has been amazing and they’ve been really good to me throughout the years. During the fires when my family had to evacuate, the Barretts housed my entire family—including grandparents and kids—for 14 days.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I like to garden, fish, hunt and hang out with my family.
Do you have a favorite Montelena vintage or varietal?
Yes, my favorite vintage is 1999. That year, I had the opportunity to handle all the duties that an assistant winemaker would normally handle, even though I was still CellarMaster at that time. I worked directly with Bo to make the vintage and also helped with the lab analysis. We also brought Gill—our current CellarMaster who was originally working on the grounds—to the cellar that year.
What is your favorite Montelena memory while working at the winery?
There’s too many to count. Some memories that stand out are our fishing and duck hunting trips throughout the years with Bo and Dave.
What advice do you have for customers to ensure a successful wine delivery to either their home or business?
For quality wine, you shouldn’t skimp on the shipping. I always recommend overnight shipping, whether hot or cold weather, to make sure the wine arrives in the best possible state. Shipping to your business address is always preferred so there’s an adult available to sign for it.
Have your own question for Jeff? Ask us on social via our handle @chmontelena. Meanwhile, check out our shipping guidelines for a smooth wine delivery.