Written by Liz Castillo, Latinas Wine Club Ambassador
Okay so let’s be real – between work, family, friends, and real-world issues, it’s fair to say that most people have limited free time and, thanks to social media, somewhat limited attention spans. So, if you’re here spending some of your time reading my blog post, let me just say thank you and I’ll try to keep it short and sweet.
Why I joined Latinas Wine Club
As a Latinas Wine Club ambassador, I’m hoping to be a part of the change that I want to see in the wine industry. I want to help educate, empower, and elevate fellow Latinas not just in wine but also in the sciences and in agriculture. A successful wine/wine brand isn’t just about the wine itself. It’s also about the people working hard in the vineyards, the tech-savvy marketing gurus giving the brand an image, the bubbly sales reps, and everyone in between. And even though Latinas contribute to so many of those roles, we are still severely underrepresented in the wine industry as a whole. Latinas Wine Club seeks to change that, and as a Latina winemaker myself, I can say that I’M SERIOUSLY HERE FOR IT!
My wine journey
My name’s Lizzete Castillo Moreno, but most people just know me as Lizz. I was born and raised in Southern California as part of your typical large, loud Mexican family. As a kid, I was always fascinated by science so in 2009, I moved to the Northern California area to pursue a degree in Biology. After completing my Bachelor’s degree, I gave myself some time to do a bit of soul searching before jumping into a graduate program because I wanted to make sure it was something I was really passionate about.
Not surprisingly, one of the things I was most interested in during my early 20’s was having a nice, big glass of wine after a long day. And while I genuinely enjoyed wine and wine tasting as a hobby, it had never occurred to me that wine could also be a potential career option. That all changed one hot summer day in July 2017 when a few friends and I were wine tasting at Jessie’s Grove Winery in Lodi, CA. We were chatting it up with one of their awesome tasting room associates (Really wish I remembered her name!), and she mentioned that we were just a drive away from one of the most well- known winemaking graduate programs in the country – UC Davis Viticulture & Enology.
So, in true Lizz fashion, I started doing tons of research about the program, what I needed to do to get accepted into the program (spoiler alert: I did indeed get accepted), and what a career in the wine industry even looked like. The more I read, the more I fell in love. Wine manages to combine science, art, food, history and culture. There are wine regions all over the world, some old, some new, each with their own unique style and flair, but the one thing they all have in common is a passion for wine. And lucky for me, the fact that I was in Northern California meant that I had access to many of the state’s great wine regions so it really seemed like everything was lining up perfectly for me to pursue a career in wine.
From 2017 through now, I’ve made it a point to experience a little bit of everything that the wine industry has to offer. I’ve gone the “formal education” route with the UC Davis V&E graduate program and a WSET Level 2 certification, but I’ve also gained some invaluable hands-on experience in tasting rooms, labs, vineyards, cellars and events hosting. I’ve worked with smaller, boutique style wineries, but I’m currently working on the opposite end of that spectrum as an assistant winemaker for one of the largest wineries in the Lodi, CA wine region. I feel truly grateful to say that I love what I do and I especially love the industry that I’m in. My end goal is to one day have a wine brand of my own, a brand that with an emphasis on Mexican culture and that’s meant to be paired with carne asada tacos and L.A. style hot dogs.
Some of Liz’s Northern California Wine favorites:
Todd Taylor Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – Clarksburg, CA
Stags Leap 2019 Napa Valley Viognier – Napa, CA
Simi 2018 Sonoma County Dry Rose – Healdsburg, CA
Carboniste Sparkling Albarino – Napa, CA
McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut – Oakland, CA
Follow Liz on Instagram at @lizz_the_wine_wiz