From Farm Workers to Wine Makers—Latinos a Growing Force in Wine Industry

on 20/05/12 at 7:26 pm

Booze News

From Charles Krug, the pioneer, to Robert Mondavi the father, Napa and Sonoma counties in California are considered Mecca for wine making in the United States.  But from the 1960s on, it’s been the Latino labor force behind the wineries fueling the industry.

Today, many of its workers have become wine owners and influencers. With labels like Maldonado, Alex Sotelo, Ceja, Mi Sueno, and Robledo, sommelier/wine director Jesse Rodríguez, and radio host and associate member of the Napa/Sonoma Mexican-American Vintners Association, Sandra González, the faces of the wine world are slowly changing.

The stories are unique but similar. The young immigrant men and women moving to the US to pick grapes; migrant farm workers who see possibilities beyond the fields. Folks who put themselves through school at night and work during the day to learn all they need to know about wine. How to grow it, how to process it, the chemistry behind it, the best barrels and bottles, and how to taste it—making sure it’s the best.