Vineyards and the overall business of winemaking aren’t exactly known to be a diverse industry but we are seeing a growth in Latino-owned brands. Many of us forget that each vineyard has a story and if you only knew the history behind each winery, you’d probably appreciate the experience even more. Latinos are a huge part of the operation of large vineyards, from growing grapes, picking them, and ultimately turning them into wine. Wines like Mi Sueño Winery, Maldonado Vineyards, and Seis Soles are not only founded by Latinos but celebrate Latinidad through their vino. Read on to discover 11 Latino-owned wines that truly exemplify the work of immigrant families who worked their way up from working vineyards to then owning it.
Enriquez Estate Wines
View this post on Instagram
Enriquez Estate Wines is a family-owned and operated micro-winery. It is located in the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, California. Cecilia Enriquez, owner, and winemaker at the Enriquez Estate Wines was on vacation with her family when she had the idea of starting her own wine business. With the support of her family, she quit her corporate job and moved across the country to immerse herself in all things wine. Her passion and hard work truly pave the way for Latinas in an industry where both women and Mexican Americans are underrepresented.
Mi Sueño Winery
Mi Sueño Winery is a family-operated winery founded by husband and wife Rolando and Lorena Herrera in 1997, the same year they got married. Rolando is a Mexican immigrant who began washing dishes at a restaurant in Napa Valley, California in 1982. He’d left Mexico and moved to Napa Valley at age 15 and worked his way up from harvest laborer to cellar master. Rolando made 200 cases of Chardonnay thinking of it as just a side project but in turn, he realized his Amerian Dream and aptly named his brand Mi Sueño. His wife Lorena Herrera is the daughter of Mexican immigrants who went to Napa Valley in the 1960s as workers and who now own 350 acres of vineyard land. Loreno also shares recipes for traditional Mexican fare like tamales and pozole and the perfect wine pairing.
Ceja Vineyards is a fourth-generation Latino family-owned winery from Napa and Sonoma Valley, California. In 1967, Pedro Ceja migrated to the United States from Mexico with his children and a goal to buy land and grow grapes in California. He and his family invested in 15 acres of land and began their wine journey. They had their first harvest in 1988 and their dream is continuing to grow as they now have expanded their vineyard to 113 acres.
Robledo Family Winery
Robledo Family Winery produces premium wines from Napa, Sonoma, and Lake Counties, California. The Robledo family migrated to the United States in the 1940s and were the first winery to be founded by Mexican vineyard workers on their own land. Founders Reynaldo and Maria Robledo began commercial wine production using their estate grapes in 1997 at the family winery in Sonoma Valley, California. Now the winery goes back four generations with Everardo, brother to Loreno of Mi Sueño Winery, as the acting President and CEO of Robledo Family Winery,
Cubanismo Vineyards is all about celebrating wine, Cuban style. Their venture started in 1986 with acres of land and the name “Cubanismo” was created in honor of their Cuban heritage. Owner and president of Cubanismo Vineyards, Mauricio Collada Jr., migrated to the United States from Havana and credits his parent’s hard work for his success.
Lupe Maldonado moved to Napa Valley, California from Michoacan, Mexico, and began working as a vineyard manager for Newton Vineyard over 40 years ago. Lupe’s son, Hugo, was inspired by his father’s hard work that he attended UC Davis and graduated with a degree in viticulture (winegrowing) and enology (the science of winemaking). Both he and his father began to grow their own grapes and eventually started their own vineyards. Maldonado Vineyards pays tribute to their family’s farm working history with their “Farm Worker” line of white and red wine.
View this post on Instagram
Al and Dina Lopez moved to Northern California from Austin, Texas, and in 1999 Al created a small vineyard on his 40-acre estate as a hobby. He then took it a step further by enrolling in an extensive viticulture course to learn how to make wine properly. In 2012, their son and daughter, Francisco and Monica, decided to create Aldina in honor of their work.
Valdez Family Winery
Valdez Family Winery begins with the story of Ulises Valdez’s journey from Michoacan, Mexico to Sonoma County, California. With the help of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Ulises became a U.S. citizen and decided to co-found a vineyard management company. Now Valdez and Sons Vineyard MGMT farms a little over 1,000 acres and in 2004 the first Valdez vintage was released.
View this post on Instagram
Gustavo Brambila was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and moved with his family to Oakville, California where he worked as a vineyard worker for Louis Bartolucci Vineyards. He went on to earn a degree in Fermentation Sciences and began his career at Chateau Montelena in Napa Valley in 1976. In 2002, he developed the first downtown winery wine tasting room and in 2013 he rebranded the Gustavo Thrace brand (1996) to Gustavo Wine.
Seis Soles Wine
Founder Chris Rivera was inspired by the Aztec belief that the world was created and destroyed in four cycles and life came under the fifth sun. Seis Soles (six suns) “represents the growth of our generation’s culture and values.” Rivera, the son of immigrants from Michoacán, Mexico, developed four wines that he describes as “balanced” that are meant to pair with food and are lower in alcohol content. He told Wine Spectator he created the line specifically for the Latinx community, “this is a way I can speak to my own community.”
Use “Hiplatina” for 20% through April 9th.
Marcelo Doffo was inspired by his Italian ancestors who immigrated to Argentina and settled in Pampas where his grandfather grew soybeans and corn while also raising cattle. Marcelo immigrated to the U.S. and after visiting his uncle in northern Italy he learned that he made wine the old-fashioned way in his basement and Marcelo was inspired. As a skilled winemaker by 1997, he purchased a ranch in Temecula and began planting vines which is now Doffo Winery. Four years later he had developed his first wine, Mistura, and it’s now a family affair with his son and daughter managing the winery and tasting room.