Rolando and Lorena Herrera Make the Move to Share Their Dream with a Wider Audience
NAPA, California (January 21, 2016)—Rolando and Lorena Herrera, owners of Mi Sueño Winery, announced that Vanessa Robledo has been named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the winery. Robledo will oversee business management, marketing, and wine sales, both direct to consumer as well as wholesale and national wine distribution. “We have had the good fortune to operate a very successful wine business for 19 years,” said Herrera. “From day one, Mi Sueño has been about our passion and dedication to producing great wine. It is a dream to which we are still committed. In Vanessa Robledo, we have found the perfect person to help us expand our dream.”
Robledo is a fourth-generation grape grower whose life in the wine business began in her family’s vineyard as a child. Serving as President of Robledo Family Winery, she grew the business from a tiny 100-case producer in 1997 to a very healthy and thriving business producing 20,000 cases a year in 2007. She got the inspiration to target an educated and affluent Hispanic middle class, something that had never been attempted before. She taught about wine by pairing her mother’s traditional Mexican dishes with Robledo wines at winery events, another first for the wine industry.
In October of 2008, Robledo joined Black Coyote Chateau, a small producer of award-winning Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. She established Black Coyote as a multicultural brand with national distribution in 18 states, and increased direct consumer sales and wine club membership 100 fold. Vanessa Robledo and her innovative ideas have been the subject of dozens of feature stories and several radio and television appearances on everything from Univision to the Food Network. In 2015 Vanessa was awarded “Woman of the Year” by the Napa County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Marin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Author Rhoann Ponseti wrote, “She is not only the American dream personified, she is reinventing that dream as she goes along, serving as a bridge over cultures, gender, wine industry, age and family stereotypes.”
“Rolando Herrera is one of the great winemakers in all of Napa Valley,” said Robledo. “He has 31 vintages of winemaking experience, working with some of the finest people and vineyards in the wine business. His dream project, Mi Sueño Winery, has been a hit since day one. I will use my brand-building experience to support the growth of this extraordinary family winery.”
Rolando Herrera, Proprietor/Winemaker at Mi Sueño Winery comes to the wine business from humble beginnings. After working in Napa Valley as a dishwasher, a line cook and a stone mason, Herrera’s first winemaking job was as harvest labor for Warren Winiarski at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. He worked at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars for ten years, the last seven as Cellar Master. From there his was a steady progression up the ranks of elite winemaking. He was Assistant Winemaker at Chateau Potelle, Winemaker at Vine Cliff Winery, and Director of Winemaking at Paul Hobbs Consulting.
In 1997, Rolando and Lorena Herrera began a small project of 200 cases of Chardonnay that has successfully developed and grown into today’s 10,000 case Mi Sueño Winery. In 2001, seeking greater challenges and looking to diversify his approach to winemaking, Rolando launched his consulting business, R.H. Consulting, attracting clients like Baldacci Family Vineyards, Hughes Family Vineyards, Leon Rosa Wines, Longfellow Wines, Red Stitch Wines, Calcagno Cellars and Noemi Wines.
Working with different clients allowed Herrera to make wines from several different appellations including Stag’s Leap District, Coombsville, Los Carneros, Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Coast and Sonoma Mountain. Over time, Rolando and Lorena have developed vineyard land in their favorite appellations. With their own vineyard farming company, Herrera Vineyard Management, they have assembled and trained a team of highly skilled employees who understand that great wines start in the vineyards. Today, 95 percent of Mi Sueño wines are estate grown and bottled from the Herreras’ own 40 acres of vines in Napa and Sonoma counties.
“We are still committed to our dream,” explained Rolando Herrera. “For all of our Mi Sueño wines, including our limited Herrera wines, we now have total control of everything from the field to the bottle. We have some of the finest vineyards and have developed our own distinctive style of winemaking. Now, we feel the time is right to continue our success by reaching an even wider audience. Vanessa is the perfect combination of experience, savvy, and creativity to help us do that.”
Rolando and Lorena’s family has grown to include six children since they founded Mi Sueño Winery in 1997, so family is an important component of their dream. In Vanessa Robledo, they have found the ideal person to be CEO of their company. She has the experience, vitality and understanding to be the ideal partner in this venture. She also happens to be the aunt of the Herrera children. With a winemaker as talented as Rolando Herrera, a family as committed as the Herreras, and a leader as experienced as Vanessa Robledo, Mi Sueño is the dream winery to watch.