Shafer’s Vault: Language of Wine

Wine speaks many languages. One of these languages in many California vineyards and cellars is Spanish. I first heard it as a kid in the late 1960s when I learned how to care for grapevines with my dad or would help my mom with her work in fields or orchards.

After getting my degree in fermentation science at University of California, Davis, in 1984, I returned to my home here in Napa Valley, where I heard it again in a stronger voice.

Today Spanish is still spoken among the vine rows and wine caves but increasingly it’s also spoken by the winery owner and his or her investors and bankers.

People from all parts of the world, including Spanish-speaking countries, have come to California’s wine country to make a life for themselves and I am grateful to have grown up here and have been privileged to see so many positive changes.

Over the next few months, I’ll be writing a wine column for my good friends at Latino Leaders from not only the perspective of a Napa Valley winemaker but that of someone whose parents were seasonal farmworkers and who today spends part of each day in the Spanish-speaking and English-speaking worlds.

I’ve been making wine at Shafer Vineyards in Napa Valley for more than 30 years, where we produce a Chardonnay called “Red Shoulder Ranch,” a red blend of Merlot, Cabernet, and Malbec called “TD-9,” a Cabernet Sauvignon called “One Point Five,” a Syrah/Petite blend called “Relentless,” and our signature wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon, “Hillside Select.”

   Meet Elias Fernandez   : Elias Fernandez has been making wine at Shafer Vineyards in Napa Valley since 1984 and is a partner with Doug Shafer in Eighty Four Wines. He has been honored as winemaker of the year by Food & Wine magazine and honored as a Hispanic role model at the White House. For more details, visit ShaferVineyards.com and EightyFourWines.com.

Meet Elias Fernandez: Elias Fernandez has been making wine at Shafer Vineyards in Napa Valley since 1984 and is a partner with Doug Shafer in Eighty Four Wines. He has been honored as winemaker of the year by Food & Wine magazine and honored as a Hispanic role model at the White House. For more details, visit ShaferVineyards.com and EightyFourWines.com.

Every wine has a story and that’s what this column will be all about! Salud!

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