Cesar Cuellar is living his American dream serving as the assistant winemaker at Waterbrook Winery, his employer for 20 years. Emigrated from Jalisco, Mexico as one of 16 children in his family, Cesar was first a construction worker in Walla Walla before seeking a career in the wine industry. In his first decade with Waterbrook (1996-2006), he watched this respected family winery, then located near Touchet, grow to near-capacity. Waterbrook’s then-proprietor, Eric Rindal, sold Waterbrook in 2006 to Precept Wine, giving Cesar and his coworkers an opportunity to continue in their careers under new ownership. The winery scaled beyond their wildest dreams.
“From there, it just got better,” he said. In 2009, the Waterbrook team would receive a newly-built winery, visitor center and private hospitality on a 75-acre campus. Cesar and his brother-in-law, cellar master Andres Palencia, who were both hired at Waterbrook on the same day in 1996, watched in amazement as the winery finally made its new home on Highway 12. Through the years his family members would join the Waterbrook team; four of Cesar’s sisters, his father, and another brother-in-law also work at Waterbrook.
Cesar enjoys having the opportunity to impact the Washington wine industry by working with several iconic winemakers. He takes much pride in training as well as mentoring current Waterbrook cellar workers today. He's long been an advocate of Washington State Malbec and its potential to impress critics; it's also a personal favorite of his in the Waterbrook lineup.
When he's not at the winery Cesar likes to take his family camping and boating. He especially loves inner-tubing and visiting friends and family in California. Fun fact: Cesar’s 12 sisters and three brothers have given him more than 50 nieces and nephews!