A few weeks ago I had the privilege of joining the Herrera family at Auberge du Soilel Restaurant & Resort to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Mi Sueño winery. This celebration was one of the most magical nights in wine I've ever experienced. The story of Mi Sueño’s inception brought tears to my eyes—it’s one of the most unique and inspiring winery stories ever told. It’s about family, dedication, legacy, and the pursuit of the American dream. The night was filled with stories and toasts from Rolando's family and mentors. Marketta Formeaux of Chateaux Potelle and Warren Winiarski of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars gave insight into what it was like working with Rolando and attested to his incredible work ethic and excellent winemaking skills. It was inspiring and moving to see the support and guidance Rolando received along the way and the close knit relationships he maintained with his mentors.
Rolando Herrera, founder and winemaker of Mi Sueño, began as a dishwasher at Auberge du Soleil thirty-five years ago. This moment completed a full circle for Rolando as he remembered his humble beginnings as a night shift dishwasher with dreams of owning his own winery. What started as a dream or "Mi Sueño", meaning my dream in Spanish, is now a reality for the Hererras. Mi Sueño is one of the few California wineries founded and owned by Mexican immigrants. Rolando and his wife Lorena founded Mi Sueño in 1997. Mi Sueño produces between 8,000 to 10,000 cases of wine per year. All wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered. The Herreras have six children that all work at the winery in some aspect. In 2003, Rolando launched an ultra-premium label called Herrera Wines, with each bottling named after one of the children.
Lorena comes from a strong farming background. Her parents Reynoldo and Maria Robledo, own and farm over 350 acres of vineyard land in Napa, Sonoma and Lake Counties. Both Lorena and Rolando share a deep understanding of the importance of grape growing in the outcome of wine quality so they chose to manage everything from vineyard to bottle themselves. They farm 40 acres of estate vineyards in Oak Knoll, Coombsville, Carneros, Russian River Valley, and Sonoma Mountain. In 2016, they purchased a property on Mt. Veeder that they will use for the Herrera wines and hopefully build a winery and tasting room on one day.
Rolando says that growing grapes is not science and rather likens it to parenting. “You have to be consistently present with your children to know what is going on in their lives. Even when you think you know them, they change. The same is true with growing grapes. Each growing season is different, and to be a good farmer, you must nurture and cultivate the fruit and spend as much time as possible in the vineyard. You have to be there. No growing season is the same, just like no stage in a child’s life is the same.”
The wine that stole my heart during the dinner was the 2006 Russian River Pinot Noir. This wine was served at the White House for President Bush’s 2008 Cinco De Mayo celebration. This wine is gorgeous, juicy, and oozes sex. It’s layered with floral and spicy aromas and reveals the terroir it came from. This excellent example of Pinot Noir is a must try for every Pinot lover. It's absolutely delcious and was the crowd pleaser at our table--everyone kept asking for more of this bottle! To purchase Mi Sueño wines contact the winery or visit their site https://www.misuenowinery.com/