Interview with Pedro Rodriguez of Fathia Wines
Located in Kenwood, California, Fathia Wines is a family-owned, micro-winery that produces single-variety wines from the Sonoma and Napa Valleys.
Proprietor and winemaker, Pedro Rodriguez was born in Mexico and raised in Napa amongst a family of winemakers. Through the winemaking stories of his father and older siblings, Pedro became inspired to become a vintner himself.
With Fathia Wines, he aims to produce wines that express the uniqueness of the vineyard’s terroir but more importantly, produce wines that are symbolic of his appreciation for all the hard work and years his family has put into the wine industry.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Pedro to learn more about his journey into wine, his approach to winemaking and his aspirations for the future of Fathia Wines.
To learn more, read our interview below.
Know your winemaker, know your wine
The Vintner Project (TVP): What inspired you to pursue a career in winemaking?
Pedro Rodriguez (PR): I have worked in wine production for nearly a decade and I really enjoy the winemaking process. Working and caring for the grape juice until it’s turned into fine wine is really fulfilling. I simply enjoy the science and art of making wine with a touch of one’s own personality.
In addition, my father worked in the vineyards and ultimately dedicated 30 years to this line of work. Four of my older siblings have also racked more than two decades and continue working in wine production. After listening to my family’s stories of dedication, pride and efforts I became hooked and I knew I needed to do something. I wanted to become a winemaker and be able to craft wines that show my appreciation for all the hard work and years my family has put into this industry.
TVP: Who have been some of the most influential individuals on your approach to winemaking?
PR: My family has been the most influential. They believe in my winemaking vision and have always supported me, regardless of the challenges and obstacles I had to overcome.
Secondary, during my time in wine production, I was able to work alongside a highly respected winemaker, founder and winemaker of Patz & Hall where I worked for over three years. He showed me to never compromise quality and to establish good relationships with farmers and viticulturists who have a deep connection with the land.
TVP: How would you describe your winemaking philosophy in 5 words or less?
PR: 100% varietal. Native fermentation.
TVP: What’s the significance of the name ‘Fathia’?
PR: Fathia mean victorious. There will always be difficulties but hope and determination is what will make me prevail. The time always arrives when we want to give up, but one must learn to adapt, overcome and succeed.
Fathia began in 2011, but I have become the proprietor and winemaker as the previous owners shifted their attention elsewhere. I adopted the hummingbird as Fathia’s new logo because of their endurance, ability and spirit and I see myself as one.
TVP: What makings Fathia Wines special?
PR: Fathia Wines is a family-owned, micro-winery that produces very-limited quantities of 100% single-varietal wines. I don’t blend any other grape varietals to enhance the color, structure or flavor. I want consumers and purists to savor, enjoy and appreciate wines that are made with pride and a lot of attention to detail. In addition, I let my grapes ferment with natural (native) yeast which gives the wine better aromatics and flavors. Lastly, being a small-producer allows me to stay atop of quality and craft wine that consumers will appreciate.
TVP: What has been the most challenging aspect of establishing Fathia Wines?
PR: The toughest aspect will be to continue working with grape growers that focus on quality without sacrificing the soil and the environment.
TVP: What are your hopes for the future of Fathia Wines?
PR: I hope to continue making small batches of wines that show elegance and balance. Wines that are uniquely Sonoma. I want to extract character from Sonoma County’s most recognized AVA’s and be able to extend the great reputation of this excellent wine region.
TVP: What’s on your horizon that you’re most excited about?
I just finished my first harvest as winemaker for Fathia Wines and I’m super excited to see the outcome of the wine! I will bottle my Russian River Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma Valley Rose of Pinot and Russian River Moscato very early next year and will be released as soon as February 2020! The other two varietals of 2019 Pinot Noir and 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon will need time to age, but the nose and structure are showcasing wonderfully!
TVP: What advice would you give the younger Pedro just embarking on his career in wine?
I would tell him to travel the world and learn other winemaking practices, even if the techniques are outdated. I want to have as much knowledge of styles and procedures from other wine regions as possible.
Carneros Pinot Noir