The Last Bottle Wines Employee Spotlight is a new blog series to highlight the team ‘behind the bottle’. This is our second installment, meet Rachel Avila. 

Rachel from Last Bottle Wines enjoying a glass of red on the porch
Rachel from Last Bottle Wines enjoying a glass of red on the porch

How long have you worked in the wine industry and what drew you to it? Was there an epiphany wine that hooked you?

I started out my career in the wine industry in 2017 working as a tasting room manager. I had just moved back to Marin County from San Diego and knew that I wanted to pursue wine. I had previously worked in an Italian restaurant named Chianti while in college and had the opportunity to taste a lot of local wines from Napa and Sonoma. I immediately felt drawn to the wine industry by talking about wine with my customers and building connections and friendships this way. My time as a tasting room manager at Mantra Wines in Marin was also a huge learning experience for me. Mantra is a smaller boutique winery and I was able to learn a lot from the winemaker as well as try a lot of small production wines!

One of the first wines that stuck with me was the 2012 J Russian River Pinot Noir. It was a wine we offered at Chianti and I was obsessed with it!

Are you studying for or have you achieved a wine certification or degree?

I am not currently studying wine but have taken wine classes at Napa Valley College in the past. I am super passionate about wine and hope to complete my WSET certifications in the near future. Last Bottle also gives me the opportunity to taste so many amazing wines and it’s a great way to learn!

How long have you worked at Last Bottle Wines and what is your role?

I started working at Last Bottle in April 2020 and I have been a customer service associate for just over a year now! On a normal day, my main focus is answering customer emails, handling shipments that become lost or damaged in transit, as well as processing and printing daily orders. I have appreciated being able to take on more tasks since I have started and continue to constantly learn!

What do you love about your role and what is its biggest challenge?

I love being in customer service because I have the opportunity to build friendships and relationships with people. Even though we are an online-only company, there are so many customers that I feel like I know so well! I also appreciate being able to learn and be exposed to new wines at Last Bottle. The biggest challenge I would say is relaying the processes and procedures of Last Bottle to customers, as there is a lot that can go into fulfilling the orders “behind the scenes” and the process has many moving parts, especially when it comes to the Last Bottle Marathons.

How much (or little) do you sleep during the LBW Marathons?

What is sleep? Haha. The marathon sales are definitely a huge rush! Our days surrounding the marathon fly by as we are super busy, so by the end of the day, it’s time to crash!

What are some of your favorite wines that have sold on LBW?

Since working at Last Bottle, I have had the opportunity to try some amazing wines that have now become favorites. My coworker introduced me to School House Vineyard. I love all of the Pinot Noir that I have tried from them as well as the passion and history of the vineyard. The Shiraz from Penfolds is another one of my favorites! Ridge Proprietary Red Lytton Estate is still one of the best wines I have tasted at LB and I am always waiting for another Ridge wine to show up at the warehouse! Another would be The Mascot Cabernet Sauvignon from Harlan Estate, I splurged on a bottle and cannot wait to open it!

What is the coolest ‘WOW’ wine you’ve had the chance to taste while working at LBW?

I have a few wines that come to mind! 2005 Cristal! I had never tasted Cristal, so it was exciting to try it. Another would be the 1978 Inglenook Charbono! We just tasted this wine at our 10th Anniversary celebration as a blinder which was super cool!

What are some of your favorite food and wine pairings?

My husband and I love to cook and choosing a wine to go with what we make is always fun! One of our favorite meals to make is a wine braised short rib with Meyer lemon risotto and veggies. We usually always pair this with a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, such as a Pope Valley Estate Cabernet, one of our favorites from a winery where we are members. Following this dinner, a favorite is a Zinfandel Port over ice cream.

If you could open one wine bottle in the entire world, what would it be and who would you share it with?

If I could open any bottle, I would say a bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon. A big, bold, classic Napa Cabernet is my go to and favorite! I would share this bottle with my husband Ryan! We love the same varietals and wine styles!

Rachel pouring wine early on in her wine career
Rachel pouring wine with Mantra Wines early on in her wine career