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Ceja Vineyards

Ceja Vineyards

”Vineyard Workers to Award-Winning Vintners” by Ceja Vineyards

We have been growers in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys for forty-seven years and we have a profound respect for farming. With Armando Ceja at the helm, we practice sustainable agriculture, use integrated pest management strategies and cover crops. We match vines to terroir, planting each variety where it grows best. We have a traditional and contemporary UC Davis understanding of the winegrowing process, and we know firsthand that wine is made in the vineyard. We have 115 producing acres that yield balanced and beautiful grapes consistently. Some of our prominent clients are: Acacia, Robert Craig, Rombauer, David Bruce, Mumm, ZD and La Crema. Previously, we have sold our grapes to Saintsbury, Signorello, Cosentino, Beringer, Domaine Chandon and Domaine Carneros.

Ceja Vineyards. Source:

Ceja Vineyards. Source:

Ceja Vineyards, our wine production company, was founded in 1999. The principals are: Amelia Morán Ceja, President; Martha Ceja, Vice President; Pedro Ceja, Secretary; and Armando Ceja, Treasurer. Ariel Ceja, Amelia and Pedro Ceja's son, was named General Manager in September 2006, and Dalia Ceja, Ariel’s sister, was appointed Director of Sales and Marketing in October 2008. Our mission is to produce world-renowned wines that reflect our vineyard sites, our farming practices, and our gentle approach to winemaking. They must be food friendly, true to varietal and must age well.

Amelia & Pedro Ceja: "Love on the Vine"

We released award-winning wines under the Ceja label in 2001, and our current vintages are: 2011 Carneros Pinot Noir, 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Carneros Merlot, 2012 Carneros Chardonnay, 2012 Sonoma Coast Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Sonoma Coast Syrah, 2010 Vino de Casa (a blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah), and 2009 Dulce Beso Late Harvest White Wine. 

Amelia Ceja. Source:

Amelia Ceja. Source:

President Amelia Morán Ceja – first Mexican-American woman to be president of a wine production company – studied history and literature at the University of California in San Diego. Amelia worked in the wine industry for eight years, and 16 years ago, she left her job to concentrate all her energy on Ceja Vineyards. Amelia wears many hats: she is the contact person, a wine salesperson, a public relations person, the executive chef, a compliance specialist, a bookkeeper, a wine delivery person, a wine shipping person, a grape picker, and whoever else she needs to be. Under her leadership, Inc. Magazine selected Ceja Vineyards “Entrepreneur of the Year 2004” (one of seven) in the January 2005 issue. In addition, Ceja Vineyards was named “Best New Winery” in 2002 by over 90 of the world’s most prestigious wine writers, case production has increased from 750 cases to 10,000 cases per year, Ceja wines have received numerous awards and extensive media coverage, and Ceja wines are offered at some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the United States such as the French Laundry. Her contributions to the wine industry were recognized on March 15, 2005, when she was named "Woman of the Year" by the California Legislature. 

Amelia is a great role model for the next generation of Latinos. She has not only broken the glass ceiling in a very competitive business but has earned respect throughout the wine industry.
— Senator Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata)
Armando Ceja. Source:

Armando Ceja. Source:

Celebrated winemaker and Treasurer Armando Ceja began his winegrowing career at seven years old, and he made his first Cabernet Sauvignon barrel at 18 years old. After high school, he studied enology and viticulture at UC Davis, and he is a respected vineyard manager in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Armando takes our wines from the vine to the bottle handling the fruit gently to create our limited collection of handcrafted wines that are complex, perfectly balanced and memorable. Our Ceja wines are a reflection of his talent as a winegrower – they speak of their birthplace – our vineyards.

Pedro Ceja. Source:

Pedro Ceja. Source:

Secretary Pedro Ceja is an engineer with a great sense of humor, and a fountain of artistic inspiration. Pedro's input during the Ceja label development defined us. His "vinum, cantus, amor," contribution is our common link to our commitment to produce wines that speak of the place where the grapes are grown. During the day, Pedro works as an engineer for ThermoFinnigan. At night and on weekends, Pedro assists Armando with wine production, and Amelia with sales and marketing to promote Ceja wines. During the harvest and pruning seasons, Pedro takes time off from his day job to help with these tasks

Ariel Ceja was born in Hayward, California, to Amelia and Pedro Ceja, and he spent his first 18 years in beautiful Carneros working and playing in the vineyards. After high school, he attended Occidental College in Pasadena, CA, where he majored in Film Production. He graduated in May 2005, and he worked for one year at Domaine Chandon. He joined Ceja in 2006 and his vision is to sell more wine direct-to-consumer other than the traditional three-tier-distribution system. Due to Ariel's input, Ceja Vineyards opened a second wine tasting salon in Sonoma.

Dalia Ceja. Source:

Dalia Ceja. Source:

Dalia Ceja was born in Hayward, California to Amelia and Pedro Ceja, and like Ariel, she spent her first 18 years in beautiful Carneros working and playing in the vineyards. After high school, she attended San Francisco State University in San Francisco, CA, where she majored in Communications with an emphasis in Marketing. She continued her education at Sonoma State University and she received her Executive MBA in 2012. She was appointed Sales and Marketing Director at Ceja Vineyards in October 2012.

We strongly believe in women being active participants and having leadership roles in the wine industry, although sadly, there are few Latina women in this business. At Ceja Vineyards we all have key roles and we work as a team to establish our place in this industry.

Go behind the scenes with the dynamic mother-daughter duo of Ceja Vineyards. Meet Dalia and Amelia Ceja as they share their passions of wine and food. Learn how to make Salmon Ceviche paired with Ceja Vineyards estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

We love to cook and our wines are a perfect complement to all types and styles of food. Our Pinot Noir is made from a minimally irrigated vineyard and it has a dense and silky palate with a long and lovely finish. Our Merlot is opulent with bright fruit flavors and a hint of black cherries and cassis overtones. The slow, cold barrel fermentation and extended contact with the yeast gives our Chardonnay a complex character. It has tropical fruit, lemon oil and mineral concentration aromas, with crisp and refreshing viscous mouthfeel on the palate. Ceja purposely inhibits malolactic fermentation, thus retaining the natural acidity and fruit character of the grapes. Our 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in 100% French barrels (15% new, 85% neutral) and the fruit comes from our vineyard near the Silverado Trail just south of the Stags Leap District. It is brilliant ruby, fruit balanced with a hint of currant and black cherries. It is youthful, yet silky and mature. Its palate is both powerful and delicate with velvety soft tannins that are tightly packed and long lasting.

The History

Amelia Morán Ceja was born in a small village in Jalisco, México. Her parents are Felipe Morán and Francisca Fuentes Morán. Her father visited the United States in 1947 for the first time and finally in September 1967, Felipe brought Francisca, Amelia and her sister Maria de la Luz to Rutherford, in the Napa Valley. Amelia's parents gave her unconditional support because they knew that women and men needed to be educated to succeed in this society. Her father was a mechanic at a local vineyard management company and her mother was a farm worker at the same company. During the summers and Christmas break, Amelia worked there as well.

Pedro and Armando Ceja are brothers and they were born in Aguililla, Michoacán. Their parents are Pablo Ceja and Juanita Castañeda Ceja. Pablo, after many years in the brasero work program, immigrated to the United States with his family in 1967. The family settled in St. Helena in the Napa Valley, and on weekends, the entire family worked in the vineyards. Juanita and Pablo worked at local wineries and they encouraged their children to go to college because they understood the importance of having an education. They taught their children to work hard and to love the land with the hope of having a parcel of their own someday.

Our children are the third generation. They have grown up amongst the vineyards working and playing together. We have emphasized, as our parents did, that education is empowering and will give them the freedom to follow their dreams.

We are grateful to our parents for having had the vision to bring us to this great land of opportunity to search for “our American dream.” Our history and our combined experiences have shaped our collective consciousness in that we have the passion and the tools to meet all future challenges. We are the new chapter of the California wine industry – we are the present and the future!

We'd love to see your Ceja wine experiences in the VAULT29 app. Use hashtag #Ceja or #CejaVineyards when posting! Cheers!



Cuvaison is an iconic brand in Napa Valley and producer of beautifully crafted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Lesser known about Cuvaison is its ties to Mt. Veeder's Brandlin family; its green initiatives and commitment to the environment; and state of the art tasting room in the heart of their Carneros vineyards. Discover two incredible wineries in one very cool story! 

For many years, Cuvaison has been regarded as an iconic winery and brand in Napa Valley, consistently producing beautifully balanced Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  Located in the Carneros AVA (American Viticultural Area), the winery was originally founded in 1969 and purchased ten years later by the Schmidheiny family of Switzerland.  At the time of purchase, the Carneros region was little known for grape growing and the newly acquired 400 acres was pastureland. Today, Cuvaison’s 250 acres “under vine” produce a portfolio of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah – all world class wines thanks to Carneros’ cool bay breezes and fog unique to the growing area.  The majority of the winery’s staff has held long tenures; Jay Schuppert, the President and CEO of the winery, has been with Cuvaison for 17 years.  The family itself reinvests all profits back into the business for its long term success – both testaments to the Schmidheiny family and its values. 

Two lesser known facts about Cuvaison are their ties to Napa Valley’s Brandlin family and commitment to sustaining the environment through various initiatives.

Family Ties 

In 1998, Cuvaison purchased a historic Mount Veeder property owned by Chester Brandlin. Located on a 1,200 foot ridgeline – this is one of Napa Valley’s most difficult but acclaimed mountain regions for grape growing. Dating back 140 years when the immigrant Swiss family first moved to Napa, they purchased various mountain properties instead of land on the Napa Valley floor; they began growing grapes as early as the 1870s.  In the 1920s, Henry Brandlin purchased this estate and started planting zinfandel which are still producing great wines almost 90 years later.  Cuvaison purchased the property from Henry’s son, Chester, who was very involved in grape growing until the age of 89 when he passed.  It’s hard to believe, but after so many years of growing grapes on Mt. Veeder, the Brandlin family never produced a bottle of wine with their family name on a label.  As a tribute and to pay homage to the family, the Mount Veeder wines – a Cabernet Sauvignon, a proprietary red Bordeaux style blend and two zinfandels – are marketed as an independent label called Brandlin Vineyards.   

Napa Green 

Both estate vineyards, Carneros and Brandlin, are certified Napa Green, meaning the company has been recognized for their work in reducing the impact on the environment.  Both estates are certified sustainable, practice Fish Friendly Farming and the winery/tasting room have Bay Area Green Business certification. The winery is solar powered producing 85% of their power use; they have invested in a very sophisticated water recirculation/conservation program; and they spearhead a cork recycling program where wine club members and neighboring wineries bring their popped corks to be grinded for repurposing. 

The staff at Cuvaison is dedicated to providing winelovers with a unique tasting experience at their recently built tasting room in the heart of their estate. Their original vision for the structure was to place their guests where they could get a true sense and appreciation for the vineyards and the picturesque, rolling hills of Carneros.  All visitors enjoy sweeping, 270 degree views with 22 feet floor to ceiling windows all while enjoying a 2-in-1 tasting experience with both Cuvaison and Brandlin wines.  Together, Cuvaison’s emphasis on lifestyle and celebration and Brandlin’s focus on exploration and discovery make for one unforgettable Napa Valley experience! 

Be sure to add your Cuvaison and Brandlin wine experiences using the VAULT29 app!

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