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5 Stories of Latino Vintners in Napa Valley | Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th through October 15th each year. It helps bring awareness to the rich histories, diverse cultures and vital contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

We admire and are inspired daily by their passion, dedication and contribution to the wine industry. This month is a reminder to celebrate and elevate their stories. Here at Cellar Angels, where story telling is at our core,  we share some incredible stories of Latino vintners and winemakers in Napa and Sonoma. Below you’ll find some of our favorites to immerse yourself in this month and beyond!

Lupe, Hugo & Lidia Maldonado
maldonado family vineyards

Nearly fifty years ago, Lupe Maldonado was living in a small farming community in Michoacán, Mexico. After moving to California, Lupe began working in the vineyards of Napa Valley. He made a name for himself in the valley as a hard, dedicated worker and was invited to join the team at a new winery, Newton Vineyard. He held the dedicated vineyard management position there for thirty years. In 1999 Lupe’s son Hugo, a graduate in Viticulture & Enology at UC-Davis, succeeded him at Newton Vineyard.

Learn more about Maldonado Vineyards.

Miriam & Juan Jose Puentes
Honrama Cellars

This is a heart-warming story and acknowledgement of a father lost too early. Miriam Puentes and her husband, Juan Jose Puentes, founded Honrama Cellars for a courageous man who sought to make a better life for himself and his family.

Miriam’s father, Honorio Ramirez-Mata came to the United States from Mexico as a young man with hope in his heart and a dream that his family would have opportunity for the future. Honorio and his father hired “coyotes”, who led them across the border and into the United States.  This is where they would begin their new lives… in Lamont, California. They would be recognized by the government as Braceros, which in that day in age was considered to be a very important part of the agriculture industry in the United States. The Braceros converted the agricultural fields of America into the most productive on the planet between the period of 1942 and 1964.

Learn more about Honrama Cellars

Adolfo Hernandez
Monroy Wines

Monroy Wines is the passion project of two wine enthusiasts – winemaker Adolfo Hernandez, and his wife, Nohelia. Both grew up around wine, albeit in distinctly different backgrounds, but with the same reverence and respect for the efforts involved in every bottle.

Adolfo was named by Wine Enthusiast Magazine “as one of the Latinx experts changing the face of American wine.” A pianist and a biochemist with a love of great food, he was naturally drawn to winemaking’s ageless combination of art and science. A career in luxury winemaking has given him the combined experiences to offer distinctive wines of his own composition.

Learn more about Monroy Wines.

Ignacio Delgadillo
Delgadillo Cellars

Ignacio Delgadillo, Sr. came to California from Mexico as a young man looking for a better life. Since then he has truly achieved the American dream with 30 years in the wine business. During that time he has been a vineyard worker, a cellar master and a winemaker. He’s also an entrepreneur who started three wine businesses: a custom wood wine box company called Wine Country Cases, a vineyard management company and, with his son Ignacio Delgadillo Jr. in 2001, Delgadillo Cellars was born. Tending to their own vines is an important connection to the outcome of their exceptional wine. All year long the father and son team personally manage the very vines that produce their fruit.

Learn more about Delgadillo Cellars.

Mario Bazán
Mario Bazán Cellars

The roots of Mario Bazán Cellars began in 1973 when Mario left his native home in Oaxaca, Mexico for the Napa Valley.  Initially it was just for a paycheck, but Mario was instantly charmed by the Valley’s beauty and decided to focus his life’s work in the vineyards. Over the past four decades Mario strengthened his skills, from laborer to grape grower, while working for many prestigious wineries including Joseph Phelps, Robert Mondavi, Opus One and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.  With a depth of experience under his belt, he decided to fulfill his entrepreneurial dream and launched Mario Bazán Vineyard Management Company in 1997.

Learn more about Mario Bazán Cellars.

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