MOUNTAIN WINEMAKING: Vineyard Manager
Mariano Navarro has been tending vineyards for 24 years. His father, a Mexican immigrant who grew sweet potatoes and citrus fruit in San Diego County, introduced Mariano to vineyard work at the San Pasqual Winery the summer after he graduated from high school.
Mariano continued working at the San Pasqual Winery as cellar master and vineyard manager while he attended classes at the nearby community college. He went on to receive his B.S. in viticulture at Fresno State University in 1992, with an internship in Spain near Barcelona. Mariano furthered his viticultural career in California's Central Valley and then moved north to Sonoma County. In 1999, he was hired to manage a prestigious farmer's Knights Valley estate in Sonoma County and, later, his Napa County vineyards. In 2005, Mariano became vineyard manager for the La Jota estate.
Mariano's passion for grape growing is intertwined with his compassion for the vineyard workers he supervises. "My Mexican roots are very important to me. I appreciate being able to talk to my workers in Spanish and I can relate to the details of their lives."