July 1, 2017

Celebrando a las Mujeres

by Kerry McDaniel Boenisch

Thousands of Mexican-Americans perform a multitude of skilled jobs within the wine industry, from production and viticulture, to accounting and marketing. In fact, a growing number are becoming winery and vineyard owners. In California, this trend prompted the formation of an organization called the Mexican-American Vintners Association (MAVA) of Napa and Sonoma.

Other national organizations include Vino Latino USA, a company celebrating Latino vintners and winemakers within this country via direct-to-consumer sales, in-home wine tastings called “Vino With Amigos,” wine tours and a wine club.

But there still lies a journey ahead.

Despite their productivity and contributions to a rapidly growing industry, many Latinas often remain in the background. Yet, these women work tirelessly, not to mention raising children and communicating effectively in a second language.

They make it look easy, when it is clearly not. Such is the case for the following women here in the Willamette Valley.

The Señoras
For the last 17 years, multitasking and managing Argyle’s bottling line has been a standard part of the job for the bottling crew comprised of employees Martha Aceveda, Carmela Reyes and Maria Quiroz. The three women, all from Colima, Mexico, prefer the nickname “The Señoras” and know how to get their work done in record time.

“They literally touch every bottle three to four times in each vintage,” said Tara Ambrose, Argyle’s cellar master who works with head winemaker Nate Klostermann on the production team. “They keep everything in order to keep the flow going.”

The Senoras perform a myriad of cellar duties in their daily routine, from disgorging, bottling and labeling, to wine club packing and more. Yet their work has shifted slightly over the years as technology has improved. In the beginning, they hand-riddled about 1,500 bottles twice a day; now, a gyro machine allows them to riddle 7,500 a day.

“These women taught me a lot about the nature of quality,” said Rollin Soles, Argyle’s founding winemaker and ROCO’s winemaking owner. “It’s been a blessing to know them and share such a long, rewarding career with them.”

Soles hired the three women and has worked with them throughout many vintages and as the winery grew to its now famed reputation.

View Article on Oregon Wine Press