The Mexican-American Vintners Association (MAVA) celebrated its fourth Harvest Celebration in the painteresque hills of the Carneros AVA. In a big tent nestled in the middle of the Browns Ranch vineyard, acquired by Renteria Wines. Great setting with a water reservoir and rows or Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as a backdrop. We enjoyed the 80 degree weather, and constant breezes blowing from the San Pablo Bay. They couldn't ask for better weather for their annual event.
On their four edition, this annual celebration is becoming an event to look forward every year. MAVA Napa and Sonoma vintners showcased well crafted top quality wines from a variety of grapes, including: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Proceeds from the event, that included a silent auction of wines and wine tasting experiences donated by thither members, go to a scholarship program to help deserving Napa and Sonoma County students, accepted to Napa Valley Junior College or Santa Rosa Junior College. MAVA is proud to consider themselves part of future generations’ success. This year MAVA offered four scholarships of $1,500 each to Cristian Paredes, Gabriel Lee Ayala, Diego Morales and Miguel Diaz-Valencia.
The origins of the association of Mexican-American wine producers goes back to May 2010, during an informal gathering in a hotel in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico. The vintners from Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley were in Morelia to pour their wines at the Michoacán State Fair on the invitation of the Governor of Michoacán at the suggestion of Rolando Herrera of Mi Sueño Winery. Rolando had been invited personally by the Governor and suggested to the Governor that the invitation be extended to other Mexican wine producers from California.
Since 2010, Mexican-American vintners from Napa and Sonoma joint efforts to promote their wines to consumers in the United States and abroad, and to highlight the contributions to the wine industry made by the farm workers from which most of the vintners have come. The organization serves not only as a marketing tool, but it is also a source of motivation and support for future generations of aspiring Mexican-American winemakers and wine industry professionals.
Most of MAVA members share a common history, their grandparents arrived to the United States from Mexico under the Bracero program, this program grew out of a series of bi-lateral agreements between Mexico and the United States that allowed millions of Mexican men to come to the United States to work on, short-term, primarily agricultural labor contracts. From 1942 to 1964, 4.6 million contracts were signed, with many individuals returning several times on different contracts, making it the largest USA contract labor program. Many farmworkers found full time jobs by in California wine country after the Bracero program ended in 1964, and eventually became USA citizens. Mexican-Americans had been, and still are, the back bone of the California wine industry.
At the MAVA Harvest Festival we had a great opportunity to try well crafted wines with distinctive aromas and delicious flavors from thirteen of their members. From Ceja Vineyards their distinctive well crafted 2010 Carneros Pinot Noir, rich red fruit, blackberry, nutmeg and floral aromas. On the palette, nice acidity with baking spices, cola and black pepper with notes of earth on the finish. Delgadillo shared its delightful 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, very elegant wine with bright red and dark fruit accented by savory notes and velvety tannins. Long and pleasant finish with dark caramel notes. From Encanto Vineyards we tried their small production 2010 Carneros Pinot Noir, red fruit flavors, black cherry on the palate with hints cinnamon and earth. Honrama Cellars poured us a sample of a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc, nice citrus flavors upfront followed by guava and pineapple finishing dry.
Justicia Wines produced a well balanced red Napa Valley blend under the Themis label, the 2009 has aromas of dark berry jam, baking spices and floral notes with ripe plum, dark ripe berries, sweet vanilla and licorice on the palate. From Maldonado Vineyards we enjoyed their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, aromas of toasty oak, cocoa powder and dark fruit. On the palate ripe plum, vanilla and root beer finishing with firm tannins. Another wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2009 Mario Bazán Cellars, red berries, five spice and potpourri on the aromas. On the palate this wine feels well balanced, dark cherry, blackberry, licorice with hints of dark chocolate and oak. From the acclaimed 2012 vintage, Renteria Wines offered their Chardonnay from Carneros, a more robust well balanced Chardonnay; with green apple, Asian pear and white flowers on the aromas. Ripe pineapple, apple pie crust, caramel and hints of butter and oak on the palate.
The whole collection of wines offered by the Mexican-American Vintners Association was fascinating, you can taste the hard work and love that goes into the production of their wines. Chef Richard Haake from Winery Chefs created delicious dishes that paired very well with the wines. The menu included, baja fish tacos, pork tortas (sandwiches) and cumin & coriander steak and chicken kabobs. MAVA, please keep up with the great work!