mcloudy.png
Wednesday September 18th, 2019 9:57AM

PBS film tackles Mexican Americans' role in winemaking

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — For generations, Mexican-born Gustavo Brambila's family has worked in the wine industry of California's Napa Valley in some form. He went to college on a baseball scholarship but the passion of flowery aromas and crisp peach flavor remained in his soul and he eventually got a degree in fermentation sciences.

His dream: His own vineyard.

Brambila's story and others are the focus of "Harvest Season," a new PBS documentary examining the contributions of Mexican Americans in the wine industry of California's Napa Valley.

The film, scheduled to begin airing Monday on most PBS stations as part of the Independent Lens series, shows how the Mexican Americans have shaped the industry as farmworkers and later vineyard owners in one of the richest wine regions in the world.

Through the eyes of winemaker Gustavo Brambila, Mexican migrant worker Rene Reyes and wine entrepreneur Vanessa Robledo, the documentary shows how the California wine industry's most silent figures battle weather, climate change and wildfires. They speak of their families' deep roots with vineyards and how it shapes their dreams for the future.

Director Bernardo Ruiz said he wanted his project to show that people of Mexican descent have been a part of U.S. history since its founding and winemaker is just one industry where this is evident.

"From the outside, winemaking is very glamorous and it's very romanticized," Ruiz said. "What really drives it is really hard work."

In California, those workers tend to be immigrants and Mexican Americans, he said.

To be sure, Mexican Americans has played vital roles in the creation and development of vineyards in California, New Mexico and Arizona. But Lilia Soto, an American Studies professor at the University of Wyoming, who grew up in Napa, California, said Mexican Americans especially have been instrumental in the played formation of the Napa Valley as a tourist site by providing the labor and its family connections that go back generations.

Those connections help tell the story of the U.S., Ruiz said.

More where this is evident is with Vanessa Robledo. She's the granddaughter of a Mexican migrant worker who came to the U.S. through the Bracero Program — a World War II-era program that sought to give temporary guest contracts to work in the fields. Her grandfather and father ended up in the vineyards.

"My dad would always tell us, 'This is how our family will survive and it's our future,'" Robledo said.

In the documentary, Robledo talks about being pushed out of the family vineyard business because she was female, then finding her own path in the industry. She guides workers harvesting grapes in the cool of night and walking through the vineyard during the day with a stunning background of rolling hills and distant mountains.

Soto, who went to high school with Robledo, said such stories captured the essence of Mexican Napa as opposed to the tourism mecca Napa. "The film highlights a Napa that is often invisible to most visitors," Soto said. "These invisible people have always been here."

___

Russell Contreras is a member of The Associated Press' race and ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News, AP Online Movies News, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Agriculture
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Shanahan wants secure border without continuous military aid
On a trip to a border city in Texas, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says he intends to accelerate planning to secure the border and bolster the government's ability to accomplish that without the Pentagon's continuous help
11:35AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Trump's tweeting about Russia probe, China trade
In a 46-minute flurry of retweeting, President Donald Trump took jabs at Democrats' pursuit of the Russia probe
11:30AM ( 18 minutes ago )
PBS film tackles Mexican Americans' role in winemaking
A new PBS documentary is examining the contribution of Mexican Americans in the wine industry of California's Napa Valley
11:27AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Spears appears in cleared court to speak on her legal status
Britney Spears appeared in court at her own request to speak to a judge who oversees the conservatorship that has controlled her affairs for 11 years
4:08AM ( 7 hours ago )
Orchestra finds child who charmed crowd with 'wow!'
A performing arts group has found the child who was literally wowed by a recent classical music concert
9:49PM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: Spears, parents talk in court; evaluation sought
After listening to Britney Spears and both of her parents speak in an unusual court appearance, a judge has ordered an expert evaluation of the 37-year-old singer's situation
8:47PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Judge transferring decision on Smollett special prosecutor
A Cook County judge says another judge will decide if a special prosecutor is needed to investigate why the prosecutor's office dropped charges accusing actor Jussie Smollett of staging a racist, anti-gay attack
1:14PM ( 22 hours ago )
'Game of Thrones' is a family affair for Priyanka Chopra
Priyanka Chopra finds watching 'Game of Thrones' a family affair
12:01PM ( 23 hours ago )
Conan O'Brien settles joke-theft lawsuit weeks before trial
Conan O'Brien has agreed to settle a lawsuit with a writer who says the talk-show host stole jokes from his Twitter feed and blog for O'Brien's monologue on "Conan."
5:33PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online TV News
Trump has long seen previous US trade agreements as losers
President Donald Trump's combative approach to trade has been one of the main constants among his often-shifting political views
10:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
North Carolina 'bathroom bill' sponsor bidding for US House
A North Carolina legislator best known as the architect of the state's so-called bathroom bill three years ago is racking up contributions and endorsements as he runs in the repeat of a congressional race marred by a ballot fraud scandal
9:45AM ( 2 hours ago )
Chinese envoy says trade talks with US have not broken down
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He says trade talks with the U.S. have not broken down
7:29AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
Cuba launches widespread rationing in face of crisis
The Cuban government says it will begin rationing chicken, eggs, rice, beans, soap and other basic products in the face of a grave economic crisis
10:41PM ( 13 hours ago )
The Latest: Auto association: Tariffs will hurt US exports
The Latest: Global auto association says China tariffs will hurt exports American vehicles
4:48PM ( 18 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump says US, China held 'constructive' talks
The Latest: Trump says US, China held 'candid and constructive' talks
3:51PM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Trump's tariff hike menaces strong economy
Trump's tariff hike threatens strong economy, creates uncertainty for business
5:16PM ( 2 days ago )
California to ban pesticide it says hurts babies' brains
The nation's most productive agricultural state is moving to ban a pesticide widely used to control a range of insects but blamed for harming brain development in babies
4:07PM ( 2 days ago )
California to ban pesticide said to harm child development
California plans to ban a widely used pesticide shown to harm the brains of babies
2:28PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Agriculture
Shanahan wants secure border without continuous military aid
On a trip to a border city in Texas, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says he intends to accelerate planning to secure the border and bolster the government's ability to accomplish that without the Pentagon's continuous help
11:35AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Trump's tweeting about Russia probe, China trade
In a 46-minute flurry of retweeting, President Donald Trump took jabs at Democrats' pursuit of the Russia probe
11:30AM ( 18 minutes ago )
The Latest: Acting defense secretary seeing border firsthand
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan says he intends to accelerate planning to secure the U.S.-Mexican border and bolster the Homeland Security Department's ability to do its mission without continuous military help
11:06AM ( 42 minutes ago )
Houthi rebels begin withdrawal from key ports in Yemen
Yemen's Houthi rebels have begun a long-delayed withdrawal of their forces from the port facility in the key city of Hodeida
11:00AM ( 48 minutes ago )
Michigan on verge of showdown over high car insurance rates
Michigan is on the verge of a political showdown over long-running efforts to cut car insurance rates by reining in generous medical benefits
10:12AM ( 1 hour ago )