Ruben Ayala is no stranger to mountain living, having been born in the beautiful city of Guanajuato, Mexico, at 6600’ elevation. At the young age of 16, he decided to leave home to move to California, living first with family members in Los Angeles and then moving north to Napa. A skilled carpenter and electrician, he worked in construction for several years and traveled throughout California and Hawaii building homes on US air bases, and also worked in the kitchen at Mustard’s Grill.
In the 1980’s he took a job at Hans Kornell Cellars, and in 2000 he was recruited by Pride’s then-winemaker Bob Foley to join the wine production team. Ruben has been a key member of our operations ever since, acting as the winery’s “MacGyver” as well as our cellar team leader. He can fix anything and enjoys nothing more than working out elegant engineering solutions to the minor equipment challenges that inevitably arise in the cellar.
When he is not hard at work at Pride, Ruben relaxes by gardening, listening to live music and salsa dancing. He is also a passionate cook and enjoys concocting beautiful and delicious dishes from scratch. As a father of three (including his son and coworker Erik) and a grandpa, Ruben and his family have many reasons to celebrate, and often organize “casual” family get-togethers of more than 50 members of his extended family.