Imagine what it would it feel like having come from a family of migrant Mexican vineyard workers – and one day be honored for your work and achievements at the Smithsonian Institute.
Lazaro and Reynaldo Robledo don’t have to imagine it – they’re living it.
The Robledos, of Robledo Family Winery in Sonoma, were part of a panel of winemakers featured May 16 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History annual Winemakers Dinner. The dinner, titled “Rooted Family – Wine and Stories from Mexican American Winemakers,” is part of the Museum of American History’s American Food & Wine History Project. The project was launched in 1996 by Warren and Barbara Winiarski of Napa Valley. This year’s program was inspired by the Smithsonian’s upcoming exhibit, “The Nation We Build Together,” which will shed light upon the contributions of Mexicans and Mexican Americans and their families to the legacy of the California winemaking industry.
Also part of the panel of winemakers were Hugo Maldonado of Maldonado Vineyards near Calistoga, Rolando Herrera of Mi Sueño Winery in Napa and Gustavo Brambila of Gustavo Wine of Napa. Panelists wines were poured and paired with family recipes produced for the event by culinary consultant and chef Pati Jinich.
Lazaro Robledo’s most tender moment came when he watched his father, a renowned vine grafter, take a photo of his own hat and grafting knife on display in the Smithsonian.