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MEET THE INDUSTRIOUS VINTNERS PIONEERING A BETTER TOMORROW
“It’s something that I never thought about when I was growing up, when I was working in the vineyards. I never thought that I’d come back and want to make my own wine. But I think it is a natural progression. Just like family businesses– whatever the business may be– if your father and mother had a business and you grew up in it, you kind of keep that going.” - Rafael Rios III, Owner, Justicia Wines
Everyone deserves freedom, equality and justice. Justicia Wines are designed to reflect these values, and the belief that everyone has the right to pursue dreams on their own terms. The Goddess Themis is depicted on the label to represent their first vintages as the protector of freedom, equality, and justice.
Owner and Winemaker Rafael Rios III emigrated to the U.S. as a child in 1969 from Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico and has built his legacy based on being bilingual, bi-cultural, and well educated. Rafael’s passion for wine is deeply rooted, as he grew up working in the vineyards and wineries in The Napa Valley. Upon graduating from St. Helena High School in 1985, he attended and received a B.S. degree in landscape architecture from the University of California at Davis and then headed off to Santa Clara University School of Law. He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1994 and immediately returned to the valley and started practicing law in Napa.
Before opening his own law firm, Rios was a partner at Napa Valley’s oldest law firm. Rios left the firm because he wanted to be able to dedicate more time to his wine business, Rios Wine Company, LLC, which he started with his brothers. He also finds that running his own business is far more rewarding.
Owning and operating multiple businesses in different fields seems quite the challenge, but Rios has found a way to manage them effectively, concentrating his practice into areas of wine industry business, immigration, and real estate.
Rafael is a altruistic and hard working man, taking pleasure in his ability to benefit the Latino community by providing important services in Spanish. He humbly credits much of his success to his family and friends, who have helped him establish a clientele for his law firm, and given him the support to start and develop his wine business.
Rafael has thrived on his values of honesty, trustworthiness, and being genuine. He believes no one should ever undersell their capability. He encourages future entrepreneurs to plan ahead, learn as much as possible about their industry of choice, assemble a good team of consultants, and expect a lot of hard work.
Justicia Wines produced a 2009 proprietary red blend, a 2011 Pinot Noir and a 2015 Chardonnay, all sourced from the Napa Valley. All fruit for the wines is sourced from select area vineyards which are under the control of Rafael’s brother-in-law or his older brother’s vineyard management company. With over 750 acres under his management, he has a rather large selection from which to pull high end grapes.
You can find their wine locally at Cook’s in St. Helena, the Sunshine Market in St. Helena, the General Store in Napa, and various restaurants in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Visit: www.justiciawines.com
Today, Rafael continues to practice as the Law Office of Rafael Rios III, and handles wine, business, real estate, and immigration law matters. Rafael is also one of the founding members of the Mexican-American Vintners Association and has served as the association’s president.
Running successful businesses seems to be in the family’s genes, as his older brother Manuel is the founder and owner of Rios Farming Company, LLC, his older sister, Ofelia and her husband Severiano, own and operate Severiano’s Kitchen, and one of his younger sisters, Lidia, owns Maldonado Family Vineyards and Winery with her husband Hugo.
“There has always been a feeling in our family that you have to work and provide for yourself and make your own way.” - Rafael Rios III, Owner, Justicia Wines