Thursday, 18 June 2015 00:00

Latino Winemakers | Rolando Herrera - Mi Sueño

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Rolando's life in the wine business began humbly as a dishwasher at Auberge du Soleil. Several years later he would move onto Mustards Grill as a line cook. While neither job would ever be mistaken as the foundation for a career in winemaking, it was during these early years that Rolando learned to appreciate the magic that is created when you pair beautiful cuisine with exceptional wine.

In 1985, at the age of 17, He accepted a summer job working for Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Ironically his first job had little to do with wine; He was hired as a laborer to help build a stone wall around the home of Warren Winiarski. Not long after, he would offer Rolando a job working harvest under the condition that he would attend school in the morning.

Over the next 20+ years Rolando's journey through the ranks of winemaking would lead to:

- 10 years at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, the last 7 years as Cellar Master
- Assistant Winemaker at Chateau Potelle
- Winemaker at Vine Cliff Winery
- Director of Winemaking at Paul Hobbs Consulting

Each stop played a significant role in refining my style of winemaking.

Stag’s Leap was the foundation. It was here that he learned to appreciate the smell of the grape must and the feeling of being surrounded by barrels of fermenting wine. In addition, Warren taught Rolando the value of attention to detail as well as to respect and enjoy the product they were making.

At Chateau Potelle he was introduced to French winemaking techniques, including all-natural fermentation.  he also learned that while anyone can make wine, to craft a truly unique and special wine, winemaking becomes more of an art form.  His tenure at Vine Cliff provided Rolando, for the first time in his career, a chance to be in complete control of the final product.

At Paul Hobbs he had the pleasure of contributing to the development and nurturing of several ultra-premium, boutique wine programs.  It was also during his time with Paul Hobbs that he fully committed to building Mi Sueño into a world class wine program.  Who would have guessed that a “side project” of 200 cases of Chardonnay would one day grow into what Mi Sueño is today?!


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