The Story of Cesar Toxqui by Becky Tyner Sandoval
Life takes many surprising twists and turns. Sometimes you start out on a life’s path, then tragedy hits, and not only does it take you off the path, but sometimes it can make you feel like giving up. Cesar’s story is a story of life’s twists and turns and how a spirit that never gives up can lead to your dreams, even if you didn’t know you had them.
Cesar was born in a pueblo outside of Mexico City. He is the fifth of nine children. When he was just 11 years old he began a business with his brother making bricks. They would take bricks to Mexico City every week. Even at this very young age they were finding success. Their lives and the lives of their family had a very bright future. But sadly, life had a tragic turn when his brother and business partner became very sick. The entire financial burden for his large family rested on Ceasar’s shoulders.
When Cesar was 15 his uncle, who lived in Ukiah, California, offered to let him come to the USA to live and work. Cesar took the offer and moved to Ukiah, expecting that work would come easily. However, it did not come easily for a 15 year old boy. After sometime, with no work, Cesar was ready to return to Mexico with a heavy weight on his shoulders of failing his family. That’s when he met the son of Jesse Tidwell, who then owned Parson’s Creek Winery. They needed help with the winery. Not only did they hire Cesar, but they invited him to live with them as well.
One thing we have learned, here at Vino Latino, is that it is virtually impossible to work in the wine industry and not eventually fall in love with wine, and Cesar was no exception. He went to Sonoma State to become an engineer, but Jesse Tidwell asked why he didn’t become a winemaker. After finishing nearly all the required math for engineering, Cesar decided that he should indeed pursue winemaking.
One of his early jobs was as The Cellar Master at Brutocao Cellars, which is also a custom crush facility. Watching all those small independent vintners develop their own wine labels inspired Cesar to start his own label. This was the catalyst to him leaving Brutocao Cellars and eventually starting Cesar Toxqui Cellars.
Cesar’s winemaking style is staying as close to nature as possible, from using as many organically grown grapes as possible to using wild yeast for fermentation. His respect for the terroir and nature’s expertise in making good grapes shows in his wine. His wines are full bodied, approachable, fruit forward, food friendly, and really just very very good. He has a label he named Immigrant to celebrate his American dream and the American dream of others.
Cesar makes chardonnay, viogner, zinfandel, a solara style blend, and pinot. Pinot is his favorite because it’s not only a challenge to grow, but a challenge to make as well.
You can visit Cesar at his tasting room in Hopland which is in Mendocino County. He’s personally at the tasting room every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.