Celebrating Napa's Mexican-American Wineries

The birth stories behind the growing number of Mexican-American wineries in the Napa Valley and Sonoma tend to follow a similar dramatic arc. It begins with an ambitious young man journeying to the United States in the nineteen sixties or seventies to work in the vineyards and bringing his family with him. After decades of acquiring expert viticulture skills, he opens a vineyard management company of his own or assumes a supervisory role at his place of work, assuring the leading lights of the industry that they will have high-quality fruit. As his children come of age, they join the business, vineyards are purchased and the family begins making wine under their own label. Such is the case for producers like Ceja Vineyards, Robledo Family Winery, Renteria, Bázan Family, Madrigal, and Maldonado.

Sometimes this wine country version of the American dream happens even faster. Rolando Herrera began his vineyard career laying stones for Warren Winiarski at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. He went on to become the winery’s cellar master, the winemaker at Vine Cliff Cellars and the director of winemaking at Paul Hobbs Consulting before founding the winery Mi Sueños.

These producers are poised to serve one of the fastest growing segments of the wine drinking population in the US. A recent report by Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research Advisory Group posits that if wine consumption in the Hispanic community grows to the same level as the broader US population, it will increase by close to fifty million cases over the next twenty years. According to Wines & Vines this means sales in the Hispanic community could account for 40% of the total growth in US wine consumption during the same period.