FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000

La Familia Robledo

Reynaldo Robledo is among a growing number of Latino winery owners and winemakers.  He worked as a vineyard laborer, skilled budder, and vineyard manager before acquiring land in 1996, and then building his winery. His family’s Mexican identity is reflected in every aspect of the operation, from the tasting room to the special events that feature pairings of his wine with traditional foods from Mexico.

Winery family, 2010

Winery family, 2010

Reynaldo Robledo with sons Everardo, Lazaro, and Jenaro

Courtesy of AP Images

Budding box

Oscar Robledo carried budwood, tools, and supplies in this box to graft grapevines in the field.  He worked in the family’s vineyards in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, and Lake County. Gift of Robledo Family Winery, through Everado Robledo, CEO.

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Hat

Hat

Reynaldo Robledo’s cowboy hat signifies his history as a former cattleman, and his current status as a landholder and winery owner.

Lent by Reynaldo Robledo

Chair, about 2000

Reynaldo Robledo’s tasting room in Sonoma is filled with family photos and history. The furniture was crafted in the family’s ancestral home of Michoacán, Mexico, and features the Robledo logo of grapes set into a horseshoe—a sign of his former life as a cowboy. Gift of Robledo Family Winery, through Everado Robledo, CEO.

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Label, about 2006

Label, about 2006

Pride in his family’s history is reflected in the names of Robledo’s wines: “Seven Brothers” Sauvignon Blanc (after his seven sons) and “Los Braceros Red Blend” in honor of his father and others who had worked in the contract Bracero Program in the 1950s and 1960s.

A new era

By the 2000s, the number of wineries owned and operated by Latino families was increasing.  The Ceja family, the Herrera brothers—Rolando and Ricardo—and Mario Bazán, all in Napa, and Ulises Valdez in Sonoma produce and market wines in ways that celebrate their Mexican heritage.