The Grapevine

Retail Wine Industry News – Latino Winemakers in California

September 16th, 2013

The stereotypical image of Latinos as migrant farmworkers in the American west is due for a change. Many Latinos are now moving beyond the unskilled labor associated with basic fieldwork. [level-members]

In a recent New York Times article, one worker describes his path as fairly typical – picker to tractor driver to foreman to vineyard manager. A number of them have formalized their ties as members of th Napa Sonoma Mexican-American Vintners Association. Members of the association have launched some 14 wineries.

This small (very small) but growing corner of the California wine market has me wondering whether wine might continue to be democratized. We’re a long way from the attitudes in Europe, where wine is much more a part of everyday life, but perhaps we’re headed in that direction.

That could be good news for wine retailers everywhere, and better news for small local producers outside the big, well-known wine growing regions. If wine becomes more integrated into the social and dining fabric of the country, more consumers will seek out budget-friendly wines for everyday consumption.

On the other hand, we have the Chinese obsession with wine as symbolizer of status as captured in the movie “Red Obsession.”