As Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S. ends, we share some intriguing and noteworthy news we came across during the month, not all related to wine. Grab a bottle of Mexican wine and enjoy the read!
A Celebration of Latin Culture in the U.S.
The U.S. decided to honor Hispanic and Latin cultures and contributions to American life with a special designation. Originally only a week, Hispanic Heritage Month was expanded in 1968, running from September 15 to October 15.
For perspective on Mexicans’ contributions to the U.S., read The Making of America by Neil Foley (free download).
Know the TermsIf you are confused or unaware of the differences in terms, here’s a primer.
- Hispanic = someone from or who has ancestors from any Spanish-speaking country: Mexico, Central America, South America, Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands, the U.S., and Spain.
- Of course, Mexicans are born in Mexico or have Mexican heritage. Can be native (Indian) mestizo (mixed native and Spanish) or Spanish.
- Latino/Latina/Latinx = someone from Latin America or the U.S. with Latin American descent. Includes Brazil but not Portugal or Spain. Latino = male, Latina = female, and Latinx = gender-neutral (mostly in the U.S.)
- Chicano/Chicana/Chicanx = first-generation U.S. citizen with parents born in Mexico. May or may not speak Spanish. Can be derogatory.
- Spanish applies only to people from Spain or with Spanish heritage.
People often use the terms Hispanic and Latino interchangeably. They are umbrella terms. Most people use their country of origin as an identifier: Mexican, Cuban, Venezuelan, etc.
Offbeat Hispanic Celebrations
- In Glendale, Arizona, the local hockey team, the Arizona Coyotes, reached out to Latino children. In a street hockey clinic, the kids learned the game’s fundamentals. Though not many Hispanics play professional hockey, Xavier Gutierrez became the first Latino to head the league. He used Hispanic Heritage month to promote hockey to the Latin community.
- Instagram added new Hispanic and Latinx stickers. When you choose one, it adds a yellow and green ring around your story.
- The International Space Station highlighted their fellow astronauts with Latin backgrounds. The first astronaut, Cuban Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, spent eight days on a Soviet Union station in 1980. The Space Shuttle Columbia’s STS-61C mission sent up Costa Rican Franklin R. Chang-Díaz in 1986. He participated in five more space missions.
Highlight Hispanic Contributions to Wine
- From Los Angeles, Gil de Cardenas, CEO of food company Cacique, Inc., created the annual food event, What’s Next in Mexican Cuisine. The event celebrates Mexican influence on the food and beverage culture of the U.S. Among the top Latin food and beverage trends in 2020 is Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe will become the new trend in wine.
- Mexican film director, Bernardo Ruiz from Guanajuato, debuted the independent film, Harvest Season. This film features the lives of generations of Latins in the wine business in Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. He explores winemakers of Latin background and the migrant and permanent resident field workers who underlie the billion-dollar California wine industry.
- The vast majority of grape farm workers in the U.S. are Mexican, and their children grow up in the business. Many of these children have grown up to own vineyards and wineries. The Mexican-American Vintners Association (MAVA), in partnership with Mexico, supports Mexican-American winemakers.
- Ramon Sandoval started Vino Latino to encourage Latins to get involved with wine. His business includes wine tours and an online wine club. A unique in-home wine tasting program, “Vino With Amigos,” provides four Latino-owned wines for dinner.
- In the Willamette Valley, a new event, Celebrating Hispanic Roots/Raíces Unidas, featured six Latin winemakers from around Oregon.
- An Oregon non-profit, AHIVOY, was founded by Latin winemakers. AHIVOY stands for the Asociación Hispana de la Industria del Vino en Oregon y Comunidad. Working with Chemeketa Community College, they promote wine education for Latins working in the industry.
- Celebrating Latin Winemakers in Washington:
- Argentinian Juan Muñoz-Oca: executive vice-president of winemaking and vineyards at Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
- Victor de la Luz: graduated from the Walla Walla Community College in Enology and Viticulture; owns De la Luz Wine
- Mexican Victor Palencia: grew up in the Yakima Valley (his father worked as a vineyard laborer); Palencia Wine Co. received the 2019 Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year.
- Amy Alvarez-Wampfler (with husband Dan): winemaker at Abeja Wines in Walla Walla. Her Mexican parents worked the strawberry harvests around Yakima.
Big Hammer Wines and Hispanic Heritage Month
Big Hammer Wines encourages you to celebrate the growing influence of Hispanic winegrowers, winemakers, winery and vineyard owners, and field laborers. Drink LatinX!
You don’t have to spend big bucks to enjoy great wine. Our deep connections in the wine profession help us find the best wines at the best values.