Celebrating Hispanic Roots 2021 participants include (from left): Sofia Torres, Cramoisi Vineyard & Winery; Leo Rodriguez, Alumbra Cellars; Ximena Orrego, Atticus Wines; JP Valot, Valcan Cellars; Carla Rodriguez, Beacon Hill Winery & Vineyard; Sam Parra, Parra Wine Co. ##Photo by Michael Cary Arellano

LatinX and Proud

Celebrating Hispanic Roots returns

By Tamara Belgard

From around Latin America, the six representatives of the second annual Celebrating Hispanic Roots event forged their own paths to arrive in Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley. This fall, these Hispanic winery owners and winemakers will unite to celebrate their common roots, the unique journeys that led them to Oregon, the vineyards they manage, the premier wines they produce and their ambitions to give back to the local Spanish-speaking community.

Celebrating Hispanic Roots, a month-long event coinciding with Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15–Oct. 15, will benefit local nonprofit Adelante Mujeres. Each of the wineries will offer a special package, donating 10% of sales to the charity, which provides holistic education and empowerment opportunities to low-income Latinas and their families, helping ensure full participation and active leadership in the community.

Celebrating Hispanic Roots was founded in 2020 by Atticus Wine co-owner/winemaker Ximena Orrego. This year, Carla Rodríguez, co-owner of Beacon Hill Winery & Vineyard, takes the lead, hosting the celebration at her Gaston winery Oct. 3. Guests can sample the showcased wines, speak with the celebrants in person and enjoy culinary creations by Ricardo Antúnez of Pura Vida Cocina. Two-hour scheduled tastings start at noon and 2:30 p.m.

“I really wanted to celebrate the diversity of our cultures and backgrounds, and share our personal stories,” says Orrego. “I was surprised there was really nothing like this that spanned the entirety of the Hispanic region — from Mexico down to South America, the Caribbean and Spain. It was also very important for me to give back to our Spanish-speaking community here in Oregon.”

Rodriguez feels passionate about telling a more expansive story of Hispanics in wine country. “I think the narrative has largely been one of labor and field, which is important, no doubt about it; but we also take a look around, and there are also positions of leadership, influence and entrepreneurship.”

The spirit of the event is to provide inspiration and set the stage for a new crop of leaders. “It’s inevitable that diversity brings more creativity,” Rodriguez explains. “And it brings more innovation, with people coming from different backgrounds and different cultures. And it’s not just from a Hispanic culture. Different backgrounds, different parts of the world, are going to make our industry and our community richer.”

Rodriguez hopes area wineries will purchase tickets for their cellar and vineyard crews. She says these types of events are often the first time they’re trying wines, and yet, they know the wines quite well. “They can tell you everything about the year and that block because they work it day-in and day-out… Tastings like this provide a way to bring the wine back to them and show them what ended up happening to fruit they grew and picked.” 

Attending tastings allows workers to become more educated, and their bosses to build stronger relationships with their staff.

Tickets are available for $50 online. On the website, find other ways to follow the celebration and wineries. All state-mandated COVID-19 protocols will be followed. Wine packages listed online will be available for purchase on the individual winemaker’s website.

Wineries and Wines

Alumbra Cellars

Alumbra Cellars — the Spanish word means “shining light” — is the creation of Eléna and Leo Rodriguez. The owners’ vision remains celebrating both their Mexican roots and Oregon story; the siblings were born and raised in the Willamette Valley.

CHR Package: 2019 Pinot Noir Mezcla and 2019 Mitote, a red blend of Tempranillo/Pinot Noir. $54

Atticus Wine

Atticus Wine, a boutique winery outside Yamhill and founded in 2005, represents the ongoing journey of love and dedication of winemaker Ximena Orrego and husband Guy Insley. Born in Peru and raised in Venezuela, Panama and Guatemala, she says her Latin American roots run deep. “My background definitely permeates everything that I do; it’s inevitable.”

CHR Package: 2017, 2018 and 2019 Pinot Noir vertical made from estate fruit. $90

Beacon Hill Winery & Vineyard

Born and raised in the Northern Mexican city of Torreón in the state of Coahuila, Carla Rodriguez moved to the U.S. to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees, leading to a career in Oregon’s Silicon Forest, where she still works today. In 2011, she and her husband established Beacon Hill Winery & Vineyard outside Gaston. Previously, the couple planted two other vineyard properties, La Colina and La Sierra, in the Dundee Hills in 1999.

CHR Package: 2020 Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2020 Riesling and 2017 La Sierra Vineyard Pinot Noir. $99

Cramoisi Vineyard & Winery

Born in Mexico City, Sofía Torres is the co-owner of Cramoisi Vineyard & Winery and co-founder of AHIVOY (Asociación Hispana de la Industria del Vino en Oregon Y Comunidad), which provides education and professional development opportunities to vineyard workers in the Oregon wine industry. In 2011, Torres and her husband purchased 10 acres in the Dundee Hills; they started planting Pinot and Chardonnay vines in 2012 and making wine, too.

CHR Package: 2016 and 2018 Cramoisi Estate Pinot Noir Cuvée. $100

Parra Wine Co.

Sam Parra, whose Spanish-Portuguese surname translates to “grapevine” or “trellis,” established Parra Wine Co. in 2019. After 15 years in Napa and Sonoma’s wine industry, he moved to the Willamette Valley in 2016.

CHR Package: 2020 Zenith Vineyard Tempranillo, 2020 Havlin Vineyard Syrah and NV Postre Lujoso (a dessert white wine). $100

Valcan Cellars

Juan Pablo (JP) Valot, born in Mendoza, Argentina, descends from a multi-generational line of wine entrepreneurs. With a degree in agricultural sciences, and a focus on enology and viticulture at the National University of Cuyo in Mendoza, he set sail for Oregon’s growing wine industry in 2001. After working at a number of wineries, he is currently the head winemaker at Silvan Ridge and started his own brand, Valcan Cellars, in 2012. Additionally, he has acquired a couple vineyards along the way.

CHR Package: 2020 White Malbec “Bare,” 2020 Rosé of Malbec and 2020 Malbec Sparkling Carmín. $70

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