It’s exciting to see more and more Latinas jumping into winemaking. Women long ago proved that they belong on the top rung of winemaking with the likes of Heidi Barrett, Merry Edwards, and Helen Turley. They broke down barriers and proved that a woman can do the hard labor and yet use their gentle palates and touch to make wine that appeals to a wide audience. We now have more and more Latinas joining the ranks and one of our personal favorites is Fausta Franco.
Fausta grew up in Sonoma in a family immersed in the wine industry with uncles who worked in the vineyards. Now, with help of her very loving and supportive husband, she owns her own vineyard. We are so proud of Fausta and all her accomplishments. Fausta’s brand is Fausta Family Vineyards a small boutique winery in the heart of Sonoma Valley.
SVL: Did you grow up with wine in the house?
Fausta: Yes I grew up with wine in our home. We would mostly collect bottles of wine and open one up on special occasions.
SVL: When did you know you wanted to be a winemaker?
Fausta: In the late 90’s when I started noticing that there were female wine makers in the industry. It gave me motivation to pursue my dream.
SVL: What are some challenges you face as a Latina winemaker?
FAUSTA: The major challenge I have faced as a latina winemaker is starting from the bottom financially and working my way to the top and getting my brand recognized and have it grow each day.
(Incidentally, her inaugural release reserve cab just earned a 90+ score from wine enthusiast. Talk about brand recognition!!)
SVL: Where did you learn to make wine?
FAUSTA: With the help of my uncle and the classes that I took at Napa Junior College
SVL: You make cab, moscato, and viognier. What is a varietal you enjoy that you do not make?
FAUSTA: I enjoy a Merlot and I don’t make it because I have not found a small lot that can sell me their grapes.
SVL: Viognier is not a common wine, why did you decide to make it?
FAUSTA: When we were making our portfolio of the different variety of wines we wanted to make, it was between Viognier and Chardonnay. We had both varietals on hand so I decided for Viognier. Just like a Chardonnay the Viognier has the potential to produce a full-bodied wine. So I decided to experiment with the grape where I could make a different wine that has more natural aromatics.
SVL: What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
FAUSTA: My favorite food paring is our Cabernet Sauvignon with lasagna that I make from scratch. Also our Viognier is wonderfully paired with grilled chicken and our garlic spicy shrimp.
SVL: When you aren’t making wine, running after kids, and taking care of your vineyard, what do you do for fun?
FAUSTA: What I do for fun is watch mystery or suspense movies and try to travel with the family as the children are growing really fast each day.
If you are looking at getting out to visit some or all of the Latino owned wineries remember to get in touch with Ramon or Becky at Vino Latino