Robledo Family Succession Nears Completion
|(L – R)Luis, Jenaro, Reynaldo, Emiliano, Lazaro, and Everardo|
The American Dream is a powerful one, and Reynaldo Robledo is its embodiment. Robledo was one of the first Mexican vineyard workers to own his own winery, the Robledo Family Winery. His was the first tasting room in the United States established by a former Mexican migrant vineyard worker.
Robledo Family Winery announces that Everardo Robledo and his brother Jenaro Robledo are majority owners of Robledo Family Winery. Everardo will still function as Winemaker/CEO while Jenaro will continue to manage the family’s estate vineyards and the vineyard management company. Founding father, Reynaldo will be present to give counsel and advice in his new capacity as Emeritus Founder.
While Everardo (38) and Jenaro (35) are still young, they have a lifetime’s experience working in the vineyards alongside their father. Everardo believes that the wines are mostly made in the vineyard. His years of careful attention to soil conditions, viticulture and the cycle of nature show up in the wines he produces. While working in the fields with his father and siblings, Jenaro seemed to have a natural affinity for the vines and their care. When the family established Robledo Vineyard Management Company in 1994, Reynaldo couldn't think of a better individual to manage and oversee the company.
“Succession in the wine business is always a complicated process,” said Everardo, especially with a family business. "My brother and I are confident that we can continue to grow prime wine grapes to make first class wines that can continue to compete on the world stage. Our succession was complicated by a divorce between my mother and father, but those issues are being resolved. We have learned this situation can challenge family bonds, but we are hopeful our entire Robledo family will continue to succeed and they we will remain the strong and loving family our parents created. Surely we continue to honor our mother, Maria, who brought all nine of the Robledo children into this world and without whom our Dad would not have succeeded.” The winery certainly remains a family affair. The other partners active in the family businesses are Luis Robledo, Lazaro Robledo, and Emiliano Robledo.
The Robledo story is remarkable. Reynaldo Robledo came to the United States in 1968 at the age of 16 to labor in the local vineyards. He worked six days a week earning just $1.10 per hour and sent a large portion of that to his family in Mexico. His work ethic, intelligence and creativity helped him gain a wealth of experience, and his frugal ways allowed him to save enough money to purchase his first 13 acre vineyard in 1984. The Robledo’s now own and lease 350 acres of vineyards.
With the participation of the entire family, the winery quickly grew from a tiny winery producing less than 1,000 cases to an annual production of over 20,000 cases. In 2007 the Robledo’s opened their own custom crush and production site on Eighth Street East in Sonoma. Currently, 30 percent of the grapes from the estate vineyards go to Robledo Family Winery for their own production, while the other 70 percent are sold to other wineries clamoring for their consistently high-quality fruit.
Robledo Family Winery is moving forward with steady growth and a succession of well-received wines. Robledo Family Winery currently produces over 26 different wines. Their Los Braceros Blend, which honors their grandfather and the original bracero program that helped bring Mexican workers to California is a perpetual local favorite, as is their “Seven Brothers” Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Everardo says the consistent success and critical acclaim for the “Seven Brothers” brand has inspired him and the family to increase production and seek wider distribution. “These Seven Brothers wines are something we do together as a family. I am hoping to increase distribution of these wines so more people can discover what Robledo Family Winery is about.” The Seven Brothers wines include Lake County Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma Carneros Chardonnay, Sonoma Carneros Pinot Noir, Lake County Tempranillo, North Coast Red Blend and Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.
The American Dream is alive and well at Robledo Family Winery. “We will take the gift of our father’s hard work and move this winery forward,” says Everardo. “We would like to have a well-respected, high quality business that our children can appreciate and take part in when the time comes for our third generational transition.”
Founded in 1992, Robledo Family Winery now produces 20,000 cases of premium wine annually. Their mission is to continue producing premium wines the way their parents taught them, and to teach the importance of pairing wine with food. The tasting room is the first tasting room in the United States established by a former Mexican migrant vineyard worker and his family. The tasting room is open daily 10 to 5, Sundays 11 to 4. For information and appointments call Robledo Family Winery (707) 939-6903 located at: 21901 Bonness Rd.Sonoma, Ca 95476 www.robledofamilywinery.com