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Focus on Enrique, Winemaker and Cellar Master

A photo of Au Bon Climat's cellarmaster, Enrique smiling as he stands in front of wooden wine barrels.

At Au Bon Climat, the legacy of long-term employees has been a blessing, ensuring continuity in both the winemaking crew and the wine style, even after the passing of Jim. Among these dedicated individuals, none has served the winery longer than Enrique Rodriguez, whose tenure spans an impressive 38 years, beginning when he was just 16.

As cellar master, Enrique plays a vital role in the winemaking process, overseeing the care and maintenance of the wines from harvest to bottling. His responsibilities include managing the racking, blending, and preparation of the wines, ensuring they meet the high standards set by Au Bon Climat.

Enrique, whose first job evolved into a lifelong career is a testament to his dedication and passion. Hailing from Mexico with little exposure to wine, he honed his craft under the guidance of Jim Clendenen and Jim Adelman, mastering the intricacies of winemaking over time. With each approaching harvest, Enrique faces the anticipation and challenge of producing world-class wines, knowing that each year brings its own set of variables.

Fortunately, Enrique has witnessed a consistent improvement in winemaking quality, thanks to the expertise of the staff and the incorporation of new equipment. However, it’s not just his winemaking skills that have earned Enrique acclaim; he is equally renowned for his prowess in the kitchen.

Enrique continues the tradition started by Jim Clendenen of preparing a daily staff lunch, showcasing his culinary talents to the delight of all who taste his creations. From chefs to world-famous winemakers and esteemed customers from around the globe, Enrique’s meals have left a lasting impression. In fact, after visiting the winery, the top question our Australian importer is asked is what the lunch was prepared by Enrique.

His culinary mastery has prompted many to urge Enrique to compile his recipes into a cookbook—a testament to the profound impact he has made, both within Au Bon Climat and beyond.