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.)

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