Maintaining an historical estate is no small feat when such an incredible array of flora and fauna call this property home. Alex Gonzalez makes sure that no matter what the day throws at him and his team—from 100 degree heat to pouring rain—our winery looks more beautiful every day. We caught up with him recently and learned all about how he ensures Chateau Montelena Winery always looks its best.
When did you begin working at Chateau Montelena Winery?
I started working at Chateau Montelena in January 2000. I started out in the cellar and was promoted to Grounds Supervisor in the beginning of 2015.
What are your responsibilities as Grounds Supervisor?
As Grounds Supervisor, it’s my responsibility to make sure the grounds stay well maintained and clean. This includes tending to all the plants to make sure they’re healthy, switching them out as needed, fertilizing trees, etc. I also make sure the Chateau is always looking nice and presentable. This also includes pruning the vines on the exterior during certain seasons.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The aspect that I enjoy most is the variety of the job. Every day is different and it makes my job interesting.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my free time some of my hobbies include riding dirt bikes, strolling around the vineyard, and working on cars.
What’s your favorite type of plant on the Montelena grounds (besides grapes)?
It really depends on the season. I love the fall colors and the maple trees that bloom during that time of year. The redwoods are another favorite. They’re massive and green all year round.
Have you seen any exotic or interesting animals roaming on the property?
I’ve seen a variety of creatures on the grounds at Chateau Montelena. I’ve seen animals such as bobcats, foxes, river otters and beavers. The river otters and beavers are usually shy but in June and July they cross the river to Jade Lake in search of the crawdads which inhabit the area.
Do you have a favorite Montelena vintage or varietal?
It really depends on the season or the type of meal that I’m pairing it with. A few of my favorites are Sauvignon Blanc for the summer and our Zinfandel or Cab for heartier dishes such as steak or a BBQ.
What are the major challenges or problems you deal with in your role?
Weather is the largest challenge of my job. It’s very unpredictable and you can’t control it. If it’s raining, it’s tougher to complete my job responsibilities.
Have your own question for Alex? Ask us on social via our handle @chmontelena. Meanwhile, check out our Grounds of Chateau Montelena Winery on Facebook. Due to the age-sensitive nature of our page, you will need to have a Facebook account to log in and view the photos.