While Napa Valley has grown, there is still an interesting fact that remains true: 95% of Napa Valley wineries are family-owned. This is an amazing fact when considering that the number of wineries in the valley is over 400. In an even smaller number of wineries, the owner and winemaker are one and the same. Such is true for Mi Sueño: Rolando Herrera is both proprietor and winemaker.
I first drank Rolando’s wine when visiting Vintner’s Collective – a small boutique tasting room in the heart of the city of Napa. It is here where I was impressed with the richness, lushness, and balance of his big cabernets. The cabernet, though, is only one of the excellent wines that Rolando crafts. The line-up of Mi Sueño includes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. All are well-structured and a pleasure to drink.
While Rolando’s wines are impressive, his story is inspiring. Rolando moved to the Napa Valley with his family from Michoacan, Mexico. As a young boy, he grew to love the valley; and, even when the family returned to Mexico when his father retired, Rolando committed to return to Napa Valley for a better education and future. Upon his return to the Napa (yes, he made that happen), he started as a dishwasher and then moved up to a line cook at Mustard’s Grill. At the age of 17, he went to work at Stags Leap Wine Cellars, building a stone fence. The owner of the winery was so impressed with his work ethic that he took Rolando under his wing to work in the winery.
Here is where the real dream takes shape. To own a winery and craft great wine – that became Rolando’s commitment. After Stags Leap, he spent many years mastering his craft while working at Vine Cliff, Chateau Potelle, and with Paul Hobbs. Each experience contributed to the knowledge, skills, and expertise that have led to the wines of Mi Sueño. It is through hard work and great effort that, today, Rolando owns his own winery, consults for several other wineries, and delivers excellent wine every vintage. The Dream is alive.
Visits to Mi Sueño are by appointment only, and the winery is located in the southern part of the valley. Here, they are set in an industrial park, yet the feeling and experience are quite warm and welcoming. This is truly a working winery, and the visit will leave you well informed and much wiser on how wine is made. This is the chance to sit, explore, and learn. The wine is well-crafted, and the experience warm and inviting. I do recommend a visit and encourage you to experience the Dream.