Arrowood enologist, Noel Hinojosa, grew up in Washington state’s Yakima Valley. Surrounded by orchards, vineyards, and hops, his childhood was spent around and working in agriculture. He trained hop vines in the spring, and summers were spent picking cherries as soon as school let out. This was followed by apricot harvest, vineyard leafing, and finally apple harvest in the early fall.
Once Noel graduated from high school, he made his way to university and received a degree in graphic design and web development. After spending a year working in a cubicle, his memories of being outside and working with his hands had him daydreaming of a new career. He left the tech industry and went back to school to earn a degree in enology (the study of wines) and viticulture (the study of grape cultivation). Noel had many internships working in the Washington wine industry which cemented his belief that he made the correct career choice.
As new wine regions beckoned, an opportunity arose to work at Arrowood Winery as a lab technician in 2013. Working at Arrowood allowed Noel to work with premium Bordeaux varietals and began his career in Sonoma County. His work ethic and hunger to expand his responsibilities was met with one opportunity after another at Arrowood (with a few international stints in-between). He travelled abroad to do a pruning season on a small family vineyard in Umbria, Italy in 2016. The next fall, back in Sonoma County, he was given a new role of white harvest enologist, again at Arrowood. Continuing his international wine education, he spent a vintage in Australia as a “jack-of-all-trades” in a small, Riesling-focused winery.
Knowing that California wine country was his calling, he returned to Arrowood for the 2017 harvest, now as the red harvest enologist. All his experience led to being promoted as full-time enologist in 2018. Noel now looks after all wine production, giving technical and winemaking support to the team. He organizes the cellar work flow and acts as a liaison for the winemaking, cellar, and lab staff.
Noel performing quality control checks with lab manager after bottling 2014 Proprietary Red Blend