Sonoma’s Robledo family featured in new documentary

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Two Latina viticulturists from Sonoma, Vanessa Robledo and her mother Maria Robledo, are featured in the new documentary film by Bernardo Ruiz, “Harvest Season.”

The film premieres at the Mill Valley Film Festival’s ¡Vive El Cine! on Saturday, Oct. 13 and then will be shown again on Sunday, Oct. 14. Director Ruiz and the Robledos will appear at both screenings.

The film explores all the stages of wine production by focusing on the individuals working in the fields with the grapes and taking them all the way to bottle. Sonoma-born Vanessa Robledo represents three generations of Latino viticulturists through her leadership of Robledo, Black Coyote for the past two decades. Her mother, Maria, was born in Michoacan, Mexico and followed her husband to California in 1973. Maria and her husband worked in the fields, raised nine kids, bought land, planted their own vineyards and started their own winery.

“At first my mom was very shy and didn’t want to appear on camera, but Bernardo won her over,” said Vanessa. “Once we got started, my mom discovered she had her own story and she wanted to tell it. It was very empowering.”

Ruiz is a two-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker. New York magazine called his 2012 directorial debut “Reportero,” “a powerful reminder of how journalism often requires immense amounts of physical and psychological bravery.” His second film, “Kingdom of Shadows,” form 2015, chronicled the drug wars in the U.S. and Mexico.

The Mill Valley Film Festival runs through Oct. 14. Tickets and schedule are at

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