While in NYC for the 2018 Doc NYC Film Festival, we met up with Bernardo Ruiz, Andrea, and Vanessa Robledo from the documentary Harvest Season.
Bernardo Ruiz: First of all thank you to CineVino. We are really happy to be here. We are the cast and crew of Harvest Season, a documentary that just premiered at Doc NYC. And we’ve got a beautiful bottle of something that I have never had before. So Andrea has much better pronunciation than I do so she is going to tell us what we are drinking.
Andrea Cordoba: So we are drinking a bottle of Chateau le Payral which is a mix of merlot and cabernet. And we will try it out, Let’s see.
Bernardo: Yeah, so let’s see. So I am gonna pour them a little. It’s early afternoon and we typically don’t drink this early in the afternoon especially when we are working but..
Andrea: We will make an exception.
Bernardo: While we are poring I feel like Orson Wells. Like late stage Orson Wells here. I’ll start off by explaining a little bit about the film. The film Harvest Season is basically a story about all of the people who make wine in California, but who you never normally hear about. And that means really the immigrant workers, the small producers, and the small growers like Vanessa Robledo. So, Vanessa comes from a really prominent winemaking family, the Robledos that have been in Napa and Sonoma for generations. And so when I first met her and her mother, I was really intrigued by there story. In part because there are so many great stories out there about wine but I have never seen a film about wine that talks about the contributions and participations of Mexicans, Mexician American makers. So for me it felt like a really unique opportunity. So many of the films that I have made have been about the US and Mexico, so I felt like wow, Vanessa’s story, her mother’s story, the story of the other winemakers. This is an opportunity to share this really unique history with audiences. So for me it was a real pleasure to be able to work with Vanessa and Andrea our associate producer with the excelllent French pronunciation.
Bernardo: To start off by explaining a little bit about the film. The film Harvest Season is basically a story about all of the people who make wine in California, but who you normally hear about. And that means really the immigrant workers, the small producers, and the small growers. Like Vanessa Robledo. So, Vanessa for generations and so when I first met her and her mother, I was really intrigued by there story. In part because there are so many great stories out there about wine but I have never seen a Mexicans, Mexician American makers so for me it felt like a really about the US and Mexico, and so I felt like wow, Vanessa’s story, her mother’s story, this is a real opportunity to share this really unique history with audiences so for me it was a real pleasure to be able to work with Vanessa and Andrea our associate producer with the excelllent French pronunciation.
Bernardo: So let’s do a little cheers to the film here and thank you to CineVino for the invitation.
Bernardo: Vanessa, what is one of the more popular Reds in the Robledo Family of wines? I have had a bunch of them. I really like the Los Braceros blend. There is actually a bottle with your photograph on it, right.? Would you tell us about that one?
Vanessa Robledo: Sure that is a series that we have at the family winery and it is Cabernet from Napa Valley. So there are nine children in the family and all of us are honored on a label. 2007 happened to be my vintage and so they had a photo of me on the label. And about a hundred cases of this wine are produced of this wine so they are a very rare production and the family keeps a library of those wines and then sells the rest of it.
And so, it really expresses not only the story for each child but it expresses the characteristics of what was produced because even though it was harvested from the same vineyards, it doesn’t mean the characteristics are the same. Every vintage is different. Makes that wine special. just like all the nine children are different, so is each vintage.
Bernardo: Your family is known for making these really beautiful chardonnays. In the film there is this sequence that I love of you and your mother making Chili Rellenos and .. it is really your mom doing it.
Vanessa: Yeah my mom, but she is making these really incredible Chili Rellenos your mom doing it. I think that is one of the think alot of wine people don’t really understand that traditional Mexican cuisine pairs so beautifully with wine, you just need to have the right type of wine to pair with Mexican food.
Vanessa: Yeah I think that is why I am really so proud to be here in New York. Because this was the first market that embraced that. A lot of the Latin restaurants in California were not open to pairing Latin food and wine. They were telling me, “no, tequilla or beer.” But here in New York they really embraced our brand and begin pairing like for the example you gave with the chili relllenos and the chardonnay, because of the chardonnays acidity and I it just balances that spice and even though it is pretty mild spice in the chili relleno it still really creates a beautiful mouth feel and also balances Because that is what wine is, it is food and it can pair with any dish in the world. Wine can be paired with any dish in the world. so it should be treated as that and it came be paired with any dish in the world. Wines can be paired with being able to balance the food flavors.