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MEET THE INDUSTRIOUS VINTNERS PIONEERING A BETTER TOMORROW
“There is an element of pride one feels about the Napa Valley when one sees a number of new Latino producers over the past 5-10 years. For decades Latino workers have been the backbone of the Napa vineyards, possessing highly specific knowledge about the vines. But until more recently there have been few Latino wineries/producers in the valley who have made the jump to producing wine commercially. Today, these producers are typically founded by the second generation, children of hard working parents who immigrated to the Napa Valley often several decades ago.” - Miriam Puentas, Sales and Marketing, Honrama Cellars
Miriam Puentes along with her husband, Juan Jose Puentes, created their winery Honrama Cellars for her hard-working immigrant father who fought against all odds to make a better life for himself and his family. Honorio Ramirez-Mata came to the United States from Mexico as a young man with hope in his heart and a dream that his family would find opportunities to work and thrive. He and his wife worked in The Napa Valley vineyards for many years. A very loyal and determined man, Honorio eventually worked his way out of the fields and into the cellar as foreman for the famous Caymus Vineyards. He held that position passionately until his untimely death at the age of 38, leaving his dream of owning a winery unfulfilled. Miriam continued to build upon her father’s legacy, and on February 14, 2011 she and her husband opened Honrama Cellars in honor of her father.
The name Honrama was created in honor of Honorio and in fact combines the first few letters of his full name – Honorio Ramirez Mata. Miriam holds the memory of her father in every sip of their wine. As boutique producers and husband-and-wife team, Juan and Miriam Puentas focus on two varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
"The journey of every wine begins in the vineyard, with the grape. The beauty of every wine is crafted from the souls and hands of those who tend the vineyards, pick the grapes, and cultivate the nectar. Just as every family is crafted from the souls and hands of those who recognize opportunity, take risks, work from dawn to dusk, and share their wisdom.” - The Puentas Family
The Honrama Cellar story begins decades ago in Mexico. The Ramirez-Mata family immigrated to the United States from Guanajuato, Mexico when Miriam was just two years old. For 16 years her family worked in The Napa Valley, and when he passed away while working for Caymus Vineyards, the Wagner Family at Caymus stepped up and helped Miriam - ultimately supporting her through college. It was Miriam’s father that encouraged her to take wine and business classes, rather than psychology as she initially intended. Today, Miriam manages the sales and marketing for Honrama Cellars.
When Juan first met Miriam, he had no experience in the wine industry. Love changed his lifestyle, and Juan found himself work installing mobile filtration systems for wineries and doing cellar work. Today, Juan is winemaker for Honrama, and part of a winemaking team that graciously lets him use their production facility. Through networking, Jean was able to gain access to vineyard resources, and was unfathomably so lucky that he sourced their first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon from the famous Rutherford region.
The label represents their family – the image of the two horses representing their two sons and is also an homage to Juan’s passion for horses. He uses his initials ‘JP’ as the brand on his own horses, and this also is displayed on their label.
Production is small, but not so limited that wine lovers can’t get their hands on bottles. Annually, Honrama Cellars produces about 1000 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon and 250 case of Sauvignon Blanc.
If you visit St. Helena Wine Center in St. Helena or Celadon Restaurant in Downtown Napa, you may just be able to grab a bottle! You can also request their wines via their website.