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From Finance to Grapes: Young Entrepreneur Has Big Dreams for Winery

Cecilia Enriquez is the 25-year-old owner Enriquez Estate Wines on the city's Eastside. Her vision? Build a sophisticated and exclusive brand using high quality grapes. And, of course, have a lot of fun in the process.

 

Two years ago, Cecilia Enriquez, was working in the financial industry and hating it.

“I was a credit manager, selling people high-interest car and credit card loans,” the 25-year-old Boston University grad recalls. “It was something I didn’t believe in.”

Today Enriquez runs Enriquez Estate Wines, located on 33 acres off Old Adobe Road. She's also quite possibly the youngest winery owner in Sonoma County.

“Wine is something you share with people, you sit down with family, friends and you end up meeting people from all over the world,” says Enriquez. “And yes, waking up in a vineyard is gorgeous.”

The Enriquez family, which hails from New Jersey, wound up in Petaluma on a fluke. They were headed to Napa, but took a wrong turn and ended up in Sonoma County. Instead of backtracking, they decided to book a wine tour and fell in love with a vineyard on Petaluma’s Eastside.

“My dad had a sparkle in his eye, I could just tell he liked it, so in 2011 we closed on the property,” says Cecilia.

The winery is open by appointment only, but it’s getting attention at local stores and wine bars. They recently hosted a tasting at La Dolce Vita and is sold at Wilibees.

Because some of the grapes were allocated right away, Enriquez Estates sells three 2009 wines, including Sonoma Coast Tempranillo, a Pinot Noir and something they call “Brisa,” a blend of Sauvignonn Blanc, Muscat and Chardonnay.

The Tempranillo has been described as “a mouthful of black cherry fruit,” sells for $32, while the Pinot has hints of cherry, rose, orange rind and boasts a sweet, cherry flavor. It sells for $38.

Enriquez admits that she is still learning the wine business and relying on contacts in the industry to understand everything from pH balances to pricing.

“I’m trying to absorb everything and people have been more than helpful,” she says. “That’s the difference between here and the East Coast.”

She’s also working on opening a tasting room in the near future.

“I want to keep the brand exclusive and build a wine club, a place where people know each other and can grow together over the years.”

Enriquez Estate Winery is located at 3062 Old Adobe Road. (707) 347-9719. Tastings are by appointment only.

Bradford A Morris December 07, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Follow your dreams. Good Job. You will meet a lot of mean people but seek the nice one's and drive hard and you will do what you set out to do!!! I wish you lot's of luck and good returns from your hard work! Brad
A.A.Nagy December 07, 2012 at 06:35 PM
With a growing homeless population due to lack of jobs, bank foreclosures and mental stress, all of which is ignored by local governments in Sonoma County, and with empty shelves in food pantries, what is needed is agriculture which provides locally grown nutritional food not more high-priced alcohol for the privileged. Hubert Humphrey on the measure of a society: "The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped."
Rebeccca G. Kagin December 07, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Come taste Enriquez Estate Wines and support a good cause. The winery is pouring at the PACC Women in Business Spirit of the Season Holiday Party next Thursday, December 13 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at the Petaluma Women's Club 518 B Street - tickets available through the chamber. All proceeds from the event go to support women reentering the workforce with special support to Petaluma People Services Center. The winery is donating wine for the evening. Elece Hemple and graduates of the program will be speaking. Live guitar music and acapella singing! Thank you Cecelia for your generous support of this event. Hope to see many members of the community there to mix, mingle and raise much needed funds.
AmericanSmallBusinesses December 07, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Small business owners need to use the skills they have, and apply it to what they are passionate about. This will lead to ingenuity, and a more prosperous market place. Who's to say that the club at Enriquez Estate Wines won't provide a platform for raising awareness of social issues within the local community that otherwise would go unnoticed or provide networking for future projects thereby providing jobs for county citizens? I applaud Cecilia for leaving the life of credit manager to pursue a dream, something most people will never be able to say for themselves. Furthermore in reference to A.A.Nagy's comment, American citizens have to right to do whatever they please on their privately owned land, so I find a quote regarding the moral quality of the government completely irrelevant.
Daren Holliday December 08, 2012 at 04:28 PM
On behalf of Holliday Weddings, we congratulate you on following your dream. We look forward to sharing a glass with you soon. Good Luck!
A.A.Nagy December 09, 2012 at 04:12 AM
To Small Business person -- Hubert Humphrey's quote was a comment on society. Theoretically, a democratic government is of, by, and for the people (society) -- of course that is no longer true since we live in an oligarchy. You say, "American citizens have the right to do whatever they please on their privately owned land..." That is not quite true. We have seen how land has been misused, abused, clearcut and polluted with pesticides and herbacides. In a caring society one has a responsibilitiy to steward the land for future generations. We belong to the land/Earth, the land/Earth does not belong to us. Perhaps that is not a concept easily understood in this age of I got mine, to hell with those less fortunate.
Rayne Wolfe December 09, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Does she have a wine club yet? Let us know when she does. I hope she combines it with a fun activity like film or music...

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