Alex Armendariz joined Ridge in April of 2006 as a temporary addition to the Warehouse Team in Milpitas. He has grown into his current role as Assistant Warehouse Manager and has made many contributions along the way. Alex likes to travel, go fishing, and brew his own beer.
I joined Ridge in 2006 as a temp. They were preparing club shipments and hired me for a two-week period to help out. I didn’t have experience in the type of role that I was joining, and I knew nothing about wine, so I didn’t expect it to be anything more than a short-term job for me. After nearly a year, I was hired on full-time. I moved up to Shipping Lead, then Shipping Supervisor, and am now Assistant Warehouse Manager at our Milpitas location.
I fell into the role; I knew nothing about wine. I knew how to drive a forklift, but that was all the experience I brought in. So, I took it as a great opportunity to learn.
When I joined, there were two workers and a manager. I learned how to print orders, pull wine transfers to the tasting room, and so much more. When I started, we shipped out maybe twenty orders a day. Now we average one to two hundred orders in a day. Ridge gave me the opportunity to grow with the company.
I was able to learn beyond my role. I visited the winery, learned how wine was made. The quality that Ridge holds itself to, the natural yeast process, and passion for single-vineyard winemaking is what stands out to me now.
Using natural yeast is impressive! After learning about the process, I thought, “maybe I can do this.” So I took that knowledge and started making my own beer. It’s been a hobby of mine ever since.
I have always liked their harvest parties, Christmas parties, and barbeques where I get to mingle with people from different departments.
I feel Ridge has always treated employees’ families like their own. I had a family with young children when I started working here. One of my favorite memories is of a barbeque at Blackberry Farms, way back. There may be only a handful of employees from that time that are still around. I brought my kids, and they swam. There were activities for kids and adults – the whole family. It was a special time.
Geyserville – I love the cabernets, but zinfandel has a special place in my heart.
I remember my first wine – 2003 Paso Robles in 2005. I made a sour face and said, “what is this? Who enjoys this?”
It inspired me to taste more, sitting down with wine. Even as a warehouse employee, I was encouraged to taste and learn. Then one day I had a Ratatouille moment: this wine was life-changing, eye-opening… and all the gears clicked. The complexity of all the notes – I couldn’t name them, but I could appreciate it.
I can say that I enjoy drinking wine now. I can even tell the difference between different Sonoma wines. I love the Mazzoni, Paso Robles, Old School, Oltrani… Zinfandel doesn’t always get much attention, but I’m passionate about them.
My advice is to give it a chance. You will learn and develop your palate if you train it.
Spain – To see their winemaking methods. I want to see the process from the ground up: the soil, the terrain, how they take care of the grapes, who is working in the vineyard, the tools they use.
I’d also like to explore Chile’s coast range because Paul talked about it.
Try the zinfandels!
Ridge is a place where you can grow with the company with or without any wine experience. They gave me a chance, and I raised a family here. Ridge helped take care of us and they’ll take care of you.