Wine production

Hook or Crook Cellars strengthens its wine production with two key recruitments


Lodi, California – September 27, 2021 – Hook Or Crook Cellars has announced the addition of two members to its Lodi, Calif. Based wine production and management teams, Noel Basso as Chief Winemaker and Amy Aguilera as Director of Operations. Both embody the company’s ‘for sure’ philosophy of a relentless spirit to create an impressive yet affordable wine.

Noel Basso – Head Winemaker

Originally from California, Noel Basso has over 18 years of winemaking experience, including overseeing barreling programs, harvest planning and cellar operations, and maintaining consistency of quality across wine profiles. wine.

“Noel impresses me constantly,” said Allen Lombardi, president of Hook Or Crook Cellars. “He has an incredible knowledge of the character of grapes and oak, and a deep appreciation for California vineyards. He is a magician and perfectionist in blending, maturing and gluing.

“I am extremely proud of the Hook Or Crook Cellars Field Blend and Cabernet Sauvignon that Noel created, as well as the four new grape varieties that we are launching this fall. His ability to understand the nuances of production and blending to create our desired profiles is what we were looking for to grow the brand significantly.

Most recently, Basso was director of winemaking for Oak Ridge Winery, also in Lodi, California. His other high profile winemaking experience includes time spent with The Wine Group (GSV Soledad, Almaden-Madera and Golden State Vintners) and Constellation Brands (Mission Bell Vignoble). He received a bachelor’s degree in food science and oenology from California State University.

Basso lives in Lodi, where his fiancée will join him after their wedding in November.

Amy Aguilera – Director of Operations

Following the significant growth of Hook Or Crook Cellars over the past two years, Lombardi sought to strengthen its winery operations with a critical thinker who possessed a solid understanding of production and execution, as well as the steps in between. .

Lombardi created the leadership role and hired Amy Aguilera as COO, and she quickly began to contribute significantly.

“Amy has eagerly learned the intricacies of the wine business and has already put processes in place to help us streamline our operations,” said Lombardi. “She thinks quickly and solves problems creatively, with quality control and efficiency in mind.

“His field-to-consumer experience is a huge asset as we develop Hook Or Crook Cellars and future brands,” continued Lombardi. “Amy is the business leader we need to fuel our long-term growth. “

Aguilera’s career in food and drink was influenced from an early age by one of his high school teachers in Salinas, Calif., Who showed him the many ways – beyond farming – whose agriculture influences our world. Aguilera has found its vocation in the food industry, particularly in the inventory and planning of food and beverages.

Most recently, Aguilera was responsible for planning for George Chiala Farms Inc. in California, where she managed capacity planning and scheduling for ten food processing lines at two facilities.

Previously, she was Director of Operations Services for OLAM Spices & Vegetable Ingredients Inc. in Modesto, California. There she served as the supply chain liaison between field operations, sales, customers and manufacturing. She also oversaw crop planning for 12 commodities, managed all inbound and outbound transportation, and led warehousing teams.

Amy and her husband, Jeff, reside in Lodi, with their two youngest children.

About hook or crook cellars

Based in Lodi, Calif., Hook Or Crook Cellars are a wine producer known for their impressive and consistent profiles at an affordable price. A Thomas Allen Wine Estates brand, Hook Or Crook Cellars was founded in 2019 and lives up to its name with a bold and creative determination to make highly rated, California-appellation wines that are easy to drink and under $ 12 / bottle. To find out more, follow @HookOrCrookCellars on Facebook and Instagram, and visit


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Amanda C. McCaskill

The author Amanda C. McCaskill

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