5. Valdez Family Winery
In 1985 Ulises Valdez arrived in the United States from Los Cuachalalates, a tiny Mexican village, following in the footsteps of his older brother who also came to earn money working in the vineyards. He did not enter the United States legally, but in 1986 was granted amnesty and went on to become a U.S. citizen.
Ulises leaned more and more about vineyards and winemaking before buying what would become the Ulises Valdez Vineyard. In 2005, the family launched Valdez Family Winery and started bottling wine. Today, Ulises Valdez is one of the most respected winemakers in Sonoma and his wine has been served at the White House.
6. Cubanisimo Vineyards
Located in the lush Willamette Valley, Cubanisimo Vineyards is one of the few Hispanic-owned wineries in the state of Oregon. While a student at the University of Miami, Mauricio Collada experimented with making wine from bananas and mangos and decided he was pretty good at it.
The Cuban immigrant is a trained physician and came to the United States while just a boy in 1963. He decided while in medical school that his wine-making expertise was a valuable talent. He did a great deal of research into winemaking and ultimately bought the 21-acre vineyard he named Cubanisimo. After a few years of struggling, the wine produced by Cubanisimo is well accepted and includes Estate Pinot Noir, Rumba Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Rosado De Pinot Noir. Wines from Cubanisimo have won numerous awards.
7. Frias Family Vineyards
Frias Family Vineyards is a small family-owned and operated winery in Napa Valley. Manuel Frias and his parents bought a 100-acre farm and farmhouse in 1977. Initially, only five acres of grapes were planted with a total yield of 200 cases of wine. Today all of the acres are growing wine-producing grapes. The Frias family emigrated from Mexico in the mid-1900s when Manuels father, a mayor of a small town, had political difficulties and the family fled Mexico. Manuel graduated from the University of San Francisco and successfully pursued his dream.
Mexicans, Cubans, Chilean and other Latino immigrants have all played a part in the growth of the wine industry in the United States. While their stories may differ, the extraordinary work ethic of these Hispanic entrepreneurs is shown by their success. Moreover, while most of these winemakers first learned about winemaking in the fields, they often expanded their knowledge with advanced courses in viticulture. Without the contributions of these Hispanic business owners and other equally distinguished winemakers of Latino origin, West Coast winemaking might not be as successful as it is today.
Napa Valley–Land of Enchantment