Mi Sueño Winery
Russian River Valley AVA
“Great wine is made in the vineyard" - Rolando Herrera
When Rolando Herrera started working in the wine industry, he never imagined one day he would be running his own winery.
Growing up in Michoacan, Mexico, Rolando was in search of greater opportunity and moved to Napa Valley where he eventually found work at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars as a cellar worker. He was perfectly happy working production, but Warren Winiarski (Stag Leap’s founder and former owner) encouraged him to develop his palate further and had him sit in on wine-tasting panels and join local tasting groups. Before Rolando knew it, wine, and the art of winemaking, became a very important aspect of his life.
Today, Rolando Herrera is the founder and sole proprietor of Mi Sueño Winery (My Dream, in Spanish), an ultra boutique artisan winery that focuses on small lots of handcrafted wines from vineyards throughout Sonoma, Napa, and Carneros. Mi Sueño is one of the few Latino owned wineries in Napa Valley and Rolando’s wines are now poured in top restaurants throughout the United States - including being served on three separate occasions at The White House, which is an incredible honor.
Mi Sueño was founded in 1997 with the first release of just 250 cases of Chardonnay. Today, the winery produces somewhere around 5,000 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, and a Red Blend named after Rolando’s hometown, “El Llano.”
As an extension to Mi Sueño, he introduced a Reserve portfolio of wines under the name “Herrera,” in 2003. These wines are single vineyard, barrel selected, and extremely limited in production (under 100 cases). Each wine is named after one of Rolando’s children, thus holding a very special place in his heart.
All of Mi Sueño’s award-winning wines are produced at Rolando’s winery facility near downtown Napa Valley. Located in an industrial park, it may lack the fairy tale view of rolling vineyards, but the entire building has been renovated and reconstructed with one thing in mind - making world-class wines! The Mi Sueño team moved to this 12,000 square foot facility in 2006 and it has served as a wonderful home for the growing winery. Rolando hopes to one day own his dream estate winery and has his eyes open for a near-perfect location on which to build it.
Rolando Herrera is a firm believer in the old saying that “great wine is made in the vineyard,” and makes every effort to ensure he has the best fruit possible for the Mi Sueño brand. He has explained that wineries of his size typically contract to purchase fruit on a tonnage basis from an almost endless supply of grape growers. However, wanting to gain even greater control over the grape growing and winemaking process, Rolando takes a slightly different approach. Over the last several years, he has moved towards long-term leases where he actually manages and farms the vineyard land himself. Rolando believes this level of involvement will result in wines of an even higher quality level, since he will have control of the process from start to finish.
It’s this mentality that ultimately lead Rolando to establish his own vineyard management company, Herrera Vineyard Management. Now he has the ability to continue raising the quality of the wines he’s producing, This relatively new business venture will certainly play an integral role in the long-term success and growth of Mi Sueño Winery.
“I am living my dream,” Rolando Herrera finalized. “And I consider myself a truly fortunate person.”
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
I am much honored and quite humbled that Mi Sueño Cabernet has been chosen to be put into your wine shipment. Never did I imagine that we’d be where we are today, let alone my wine being featured in great Wine Clubs. The road has been very long, challenging and it certainly has never been easy. However, if you find a job that you love, you will never have to work another day in your life and that is what Mi Sueño means to me.
Since my days at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, I never took anything for granted, not even washing the cellar drains during harvest or even shoveling grapes out of tanks. For that reason, I certainly do not take this opportunity any less lightly. Wine is made to be enjoyed and shared with good friends, so please help continue our tradition.
I hope you enjoy our 2009 Mi Sueño Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which we grow in the Coombsville appellation. The Coombsville appellation is a very magical part of Napa and I encourage you to visit it the next time you’re in town. We look forward to having you over for a glass of wine on your next trip to the beautiful Napa Valley.
Russian River Valley
The Russian River Valley is located in the heart of Sonoma County, just 55 miles north of San Francisco. The seasonal fog and cool marine influences give this region an uncommonly long growing season, which creates ideal conditions for cool-climate loving grape varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These growing conditions often result in wines with incredible depth and richness that still maintain their bright natural acidity.
The Russian River Valley’s winegrowing history dates back well before the Gold Rush of 1849, and after being severely limited during Prohibition from 1920 to 1933, the next major winegrowing era began in the 1960’s.
In 1983, the Russian River Valley became an approved AVA, American Viticultural Area. In 2005, an expansion of the AVA was approved to include some previously overlooked portions of the fog regions, which included land to the east and south. Presently, the AVA is over 150 square miles, including over 15,000 total acres planted to premium wine grape varietals.
Rolando Herrera - One of California's most respected winemakers
From humble beginnings to owner and winemaker of a world-class winery, Rolando Herrera’s journey has been nothing less than the realization of the “American Dream.”
Rolando grew up in El Llano, Michoacan, and it was here, working alongside his grandparents that he received his early lessons in agriculture. While farming corn, wheat, and strawberries, Rolando discovered the unique qualities of mountain grown fruits and vegetables and learned valuable lessons about the relationship of crops to the land. Little did he know, this was an early lesson in the concept of “terroir.”
Upon reaching his fifteenth birthday, Rolando left Michoacan and moved north to Napa Valley to finish high school and to receive a better education. While in school, Rolando went to work for fabled Napa icon Warren Winiarski at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars as a cellar worker. The job there would last ten years and would provide the momentum for the remainder of Rolando Herrera’s tenure in the wine industry. Herrera was named cellar master at the youthful age of twenty-one.
“Warren was one of the most generous people you could ever imagine,” commented Herrera. “He prompted me to go to college and provided me the means to take the wine industry seminars at UC Davis. Each year, we would have a UC Davis grad come to the winery. They would teach me the theory and I would show them the practical approach to winemaking.”
In 1995, Rolando Herrera made the most difficult decision of his life and left Stag’s Leap for nearby Château Potelle and French owner-winemaker Marquetta Fourmeaux. Here, Rolando believes, was the place where he learned the art of winemaking.
“This was the first time I was actually exposed to natural winemaking as the French prefer to do it,” he explained. “In the end, it was all quite artistic and really changed my attitude toward my craft. I was extremely happy with everything and my life was pretty secure, but in the back of my mind something was missing.”
It had started during the difficult harvest of 1996 when Herrera realized he was always making wines for other people and at someone else’s direction. He knew he would never be able to prove himself and his abilities unless he did it on his own.
Rolando decided to purchase some Chardonnay grapes and make some wine that he could eventually sell on the bulk market and recapture his investment. His purchase came from the incredible 1997 vintage, and the 250 cases he produced became the start of Mi Sueño (My Dream). It was so good that his friends urged him to label it and sell it rather than put it on the bulk market. The wine sold out immediately to rave reviews and Rolando hasn’t looked back since.
Today, Rolando Herrera stands as one of California’s most respected winemakers and offers consulting to a number of the state’s top producers. We are extremely pleased to offer our Gold Wine Club members this incredible wine at this price.
Rolando Herrera - Owner & Winemaker
Rolando Herrera may have started as a dishwasher at Auberge du Soleil and a line cook at Napa’s Mustards Grill, but it is his time in the restaurant business that formed his appreciation for pairing beautiful cuisine with exceptional wine. Today, Herrera is one of California’s most notable winemakers and his humble beginnings only make him more admired for his talent and dedication.
In a little less than fifteen years, Herrera has built a network of several businesses including vineyard management, consulting, custom crush, and vineyard leasing. Through all of his ventures, Herrera keeps his focus on Mi Sueño wines, with the goal of making better wines with each vintage. Herrera credits his consulting business as making him an even better winemaker. He has had the pleasure of producing wines for a number of boutique labels including Baldacci Family Vineyards, Longfellow Wine Company, Spotted Owl Vineyards, Noemi Vineyards, Hughes Family Vineyards, and Sharp Cellars.
About the Vineyard
Pinot Noir is notoriously a difficult grape to grow, and it only achieves greatness in a handful of places in the world - the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County is one of those places. The Pinot-perfect cool climate combined with incredibly diverse soils (and some of the best winemakers in the world) results in beautifully expressive wines that are equally bright and rich with a distinct sense of place.
Mi Sueño’s 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir comes from carefully selected vineyards within the appellation sites that are under long-term contracts with the winery so they have the ability to manage the grapes year round, throughout the entire growing process. This allows Mi Sueño the hands-on approach they desire to ensure only ultra-premium grapes make it into their esteemed wine portfolio.