Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ceja Vineyards | Vinum, Cantus, Amor

Vinum, Cantus, Amor (Wine, Song, Love) are not only the words that guide Ceja Vineyards, but you can practically taste them in every bottle of Ceja wine.

After decades of growing grapes in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, the Ceja family founded Ceja Vineyards in 1999. Their first vintage was released in 2001 consisting of 750 cases. Over the next decade, that number would grow to 10,000 cases per year. With 113 producing acres of vineyards overseen by Armando Ceja in the Carneros, Silverado Trail and four other regions in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, the focus on matching vine to terrior is evident in the quality of fruit produced. This quality is not only recognized in the premium wines produced by Ceja, but by the prominent list of clients who purchase or have purchased grapes from the Ceja's. That list includes Mumm, Signorello, Domaine Chandon and any others.

President Amelia Moran Ceja is the first Mexican-American woman to be president of a wine production company and has been recognized by numerous organizations for her contribution to the wine industry and also for leading Ceja Vineyards to become an Award-Winning Vintner. As Amelia says, she wears many hats, including: she is the contact person, a wine salesperson, a public relations person, the executive chef, a compliance specialist, a bookkeeper, a wine delivery person, a wine shipping person, a grape picker, and whoever else she needs to be. She also leads the company's social media presence. Ceja is leading the industry with their involvement in and use of social media, including blogging, facebook and twitter.

Helping Amelia maintain and grow that online presence are her son Ariel and daughter Dalia. Ariel joined the family business as General Manager and has instrumental in the growth through the opening of the tasting room in downtown Napa. Dalia was brought on as Director of Sales & Marketing and has been a driving force in the growth of Ceja through establishing relationships with retailers and restaurants.

Not only are the Ceja's producing quality wine, but also amazing food at Bistro Sabor in downtown Napa, just a block from their tasting room. When you're in Napa, you must stop by Bistro Sabor and if you're lucky enough to be there on a Saturday night, join in the salsa dancing from 10:00pm to 1:30am.

As for the wine, check back throughout this week as I do tastings of three of Ceja Vineyards quality wines. First I will be tasting the 2008 Napa Carneros Chardonnay, followed by their 2007 Carneros Pinot Nior, and ending with the 2007 Vino de Casa Red Blend.

(Full disclosure - Ceja Vineyards very generously provided me with samples of the Chardonnay and Pinot Nior, but I picked up the Vino de Casa at my local wine store.)

Welcome to WinePHX

So what is WinePHX? Well the answer to that question will be ever changing I am sure. For starters, the name started as "Wine Fix", but being that I live in Phoenix, AZ, I thought I would add a little local flair to the blog and call it "WinePHX".

Why start another wine blog? Aren't there enough already? Well, I love drinking, sharing and learning about wine, so I figured what better way to do that, then to start a wine blog. Over the course of the next few months I will be trying out different things on this blog including, featuring wineries that I like, not only talking about the wine they produce, but also the story and the people behind that wine, starting with one of my favorites, Ceja Vineyards. I will also be talking about different wine events, including the very first Gay Wine Weekend in Sonoma, called "Out in the Vineyard".

So what should you know about me? I am certainly NOT a professional, I just have a passion for wine and love to share that with others. I love meeting new people with that same passion and learning from them. So feel free to contact me, share your thoughts, share your knowledge and share the wines you love as well. You can follow me on twitter, or feel free to contact me at the email address listed on the blog.

Interested in being featured and sharing your wines or events? I would love to hear from you.

In the meantime - let's raise a glass to the launch of WinePHX! Cheers!