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Migrant workers become award-winning Napa winery owners


A Mexican-American family in Napa is breaking barriers since they went from picking grapes to owning their own winery.

Ceja Vineyards was opened by Pedro and Amelia Ceja. The two met when they were 12 years old working in the vineyards. Both were Mexican migrant workers who had recently moved to the U.S. to help their parents pick grapes on weekends.

“I told my dad… I was going to have my own vineyard someday. It was also Pedro’s dream. So it was a collective effort of many talented immigrants that have made Ceja Vineyards a reality,” said Amelia Ceja.

The Cejas are among the few Mexican-Americans who have gone from picking grapes to owning their own vineyard. Amelia Ceja said she faced pushback for pairing high-quality wines with classic Mexican dishes, but said that was what she wanted to do as a young migrant worker — weave her Mexican heritage into wine.

Now the couple is passing their dreams on to their sons and daughter.

“There’s this saying in my familia… we don’t have blood in our veins, we have wine. And it’s that expression of passion, dedication and focus to building a family legacy,” said their daughter, Dalia Ceja, who is also the sales and marketing director.

The family also takes workers’ rights seriously. Amelia Ceja has rallied in Washington, D.C., to support legislation that would extend protections for migrant workers. She said she cares deeply about protecting them from harmful pesticides and making sure their contributions are acknowledged.

The Cejas said they produce 7,500 cases of wine a year and hope to be up to 18,000 cases a year within the next decade.

KION546 News Team


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