In celebration of Mexican heritage in the United States, I proudly introduce you to Ceja Vineyards, a story of how a family from Mexico pursued their dreams in the wine industry.
After many years in the brasero work program, Pablo Ceja, his wife Juanita and their six children said goodbye to their friends and family in their small village in Mexico in 1967 and immigrated to America to work in the vineyards of Napa Valley. As the family worked and grew in Napa Valley, Juanita constantly encouraged her children to follow their dreams and go to college. Their sons, Pedro and Armando pursued their dreams, Pedro in engineering and Armando in enology and viticulture.
Pedro married his love Amelia Moran Fuentes in 1980. As they began their own family, they were also focused on the common family goal to buy land and grow grapes in Napa Valley. In 1983 Pedro and Amelia, Armando, and Pablo and Juanita pooled their resources and purchase 15 acres in Carneros.
Pedro and Armando inherited their parents’ strong work ethic and love of the land. Armando became a respected vineyard manager in the valley but never lost sight of the family plan. With their first harvest of Pinot Noir from their Carneros property in 1988, they celebrated with family and friends
The Ceja Vineyards wine label came on the scene in 2001. The Ceja family now has 113 acres of rich vineyard land, produces over 10,000 cases, and the second and third generations of the family are active in leadership of the enterprise. Amelia Ceja is President of Ceja Vineyards, the first Mexican-American woman to be President of a wine company in the history of New World wines. “The success of Ceja Vineyards is due to my family’s collective effort,” says Amelia.
Ariel Ceja, son of Pedro and Amelia and General Manager of Ceja Vineyard has inherited the work ethic and drive of his parents and grandparents, adding his own touch to the family enterprise, whether it is salsa dancing at the tasting room Saturday nights, new Web 2.0 technologies to reach a growing young market, or the soon to be introduced online, bicultural cooking show.
Ariel states, “We focus on wines we enjoy. Food and wine are important to my family. My mom’s cooking skills are famous and my uncle handcrafts wines that will pair well with her cuisine. Ceja wines have moderate levels of alcohol, none are over 14%, and pair well with foods, bringing out the flavors of the food and the wine without being overbearing.”
Armando and his team match vines to the Terroir, growing each variety in the areas where it does best. The fruit is handled gently to create a collection of handcrafted wines. This drive for excellence is reflected in the trademark of Ceja Vineyards vinum, cantus, amor – wine, song love.
2006 Ceja Vino de Casa White Blend – this is a blend of Pinot Grigio, Semillon and Viognier from Napa Valley that has the aroma of honeydew melon, almond and baked apple pie that leads to flavors on the palate of citrus blossom with mineral and flinty characteristics.
2007 Ceja Sauvignon Blanc from the Sonoma Coast – ruby grapefruit and key lime aromas are powerful on the nose. On the palate the tartness of citrus and tropical fruits leap into your mouth.
2006 Ceja Pinot Noir – you will enjoy the fresh floral aroma mixed with ripe red plum and black cherry blossoms. The balanced mixture of soft tannins with layers of textures emphasizes the medley of dark berry, herb and spice flavors in the mouth
For more info: Ceja Vineyards