Associated Press profiles two Latino family wineries

Oct 19, 2010

Latino winemakers are rare, but some are finding success by catering to Latinos developing a taste for fine wine, according to an Associated Press article by Olivia Muñoz. The story ran in the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, on the ABC News website and other media outlets.

The article profiled two Latino family wineries whose founders started out working in the fields.

"I would work my regular shift and then pester the vineyard manager with questions until I knew everything he knew," Reynoldo Robledo of the Robledo Family Winery near Sonoma was quoted.

The winery sells 20,000 cases per year bringing in about $1 million.

Ceja Vineyards in Napa president Amelia Ceja and her husband Armando worked in vineyards as children, and also obtained formal education. Armando earned a degree in enology and viticulture from UC Davis, and worked as a vineyard manager for other wineries before the family started their own, the story said.

Both vineyards were reported to be targeting the Latino market. Half of the Ceja Vineyard's wine club is Latino and the company promotes the wine at dinners pairing traditional Mexican dishes with Ceja Vineyard reds and whites. The Robledo Family Winery also built its business by catering in part to Latino wine drinkers interested in quality and a connection to their heritage.

Esau Herrera of the Hispanic Vintners Association, a marketing group with about a dozen members in California and Florida, told Muñoz that part of Latino vintners success comes from making a connection with Latinos.

"There are people like me who are very proud of our roots and don't mind plunking down $125 for a bottle of wine," Herrera was quoted.

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By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist