Vino 101 with Vino Latino
A few weeks ago we did one of our Vino with Amigos, an in-home wine tasting we do in the Bay Area. All the attendees were Guatemalan, most were first-generation American.
Those that were born in the USA were from “the hood.” We walked into the home and right away we could tell that most of the guests felt uncomfortable and defensive. They were ready for the intimidation and snobbery to begin.
One of the guests had tattoos and looked a little rough around the edges, but he was really friendly. The first thing he told us was “I’m more of a tequila guy, but I’ll chug wine to get a buzz.” This made us chuckle because this was exactly Ramon’s attitude about wine before we met.
As we went through the tasting, sharing the differences between a huge massed-produced wine such as Charles Shaw, and small handcrafted wine such as Voces, the guy with the tattoos had an epiphany: wine was not just for chugging, but for drinking too. He began to see the comparison between a cheap tequila such as Jose Cuervo 1800 and a fine hand-crafted tequila such as Don Julio Añejo. As with most things in life, the better quality product usually comes with a higher price tag.
However, with wine, that higher price tag means that more Latinos have jobs because the higher price tag on wine usually is a result of manual labor due to the fact that everything is done by hand; hand pruning, hand harvesting, hand punch-downs, etc. All this manual work requires skilled labor and the laborers who have the skills are Latinos.
The truth is that many Latino vintners share the same roots as these Guatemalans. Many are first-generation Americans who grew up in sparse households. They had to work hard for everything they’ve ever had; nothing has been handed to them. They faced discrimination and today, they still have to fight for their place in the wine industry. They aren’t interested in pretenses; they just want to share their passion with everyone, no matter what they look like because wine is for everybody.
Spotlight Winery: Encanto Vineyards
As children of immigrants and migrant workers, Enrique and Rosa Lopez began Encanto Vineyards as a tribute to the migrant workers of the Napa Valley. Rosa’s father came here via the Bracero program in 1946. Enrique found his way here when his single mother (his father passed when he was just two) and 14 siblings came to the Napa Valley to work the fields. They make a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc and a delicate Pinot Noir. Check out their website to learn more about their beautiful history and story.
Vino Latino is a wine club that celebrates the influence and contribution Latinos have given to the American Wine industry. All the wine we feature in the club is made with Latin passion in the USA. For any additional questions please feel free to respond to this post or email us directly at email@example.com.