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Dalia Ceja had a decision to make. After graduating from San Francisco State University in 2008 with a degree in marketing and communications, living and working in San Francisco, and then traveling to South America, Ceja had to decide whether and when she would join the family business.  

Ceja has diverse passions and she is not afraid to revel in each and every one. On her blog, TheOleReport.com, Ceja covers food, beverages, fashion, travel and more. Photos on The Ole Report show Ceja jumping out of an airplane in Argentina, having fun stepping into fashion and shopping at the local farmers market.

When you sky-dive, smell produce for the freshest selections and still understand the importance of the little black dress, you are one well-rounded woman. Ceja has connections to fashion and could have built a career around that industry. She is not camera-shy, and you can imagine her with a travel or cooking show. Some people grab life and run with it, but Ceja seems to run ahead of it and pull it along. You can see her being successful at so many different things.

Born into a Napa Valley winegrowing family, Ceja is grounded in the lessons taught by her strong, tight-knit family: Get educated and work hard. 

If you have not heard the Ceja family story, it is a must. Dalia’s grandfather, Pablo Ceja, would return to his home in Mexico from working in the Napa Valley vineyards and tell his children about his love for a little Napa Valley town, St. Helena. His wish was that they would one day live there. His young son Pedro piped up that his wish was to own land and grow grapes in this beautiful land in Northern California. That dream started to materialize the day that Pablo and his wife, Juanita, decided to move their family to the U.S. in 1967. They eventually settled in St Helena and then Carneros.   

Pedro grew up in St Helena, going to the Robert Louis Stevenson middle school, where he met the girl who would later become his wife, Amelia Moran Fuentes. Amelia had the same dream that Pedro voiced so many years ago in Mexico. Together with Pedro’s brother, Armando, his wife Martha, and with Pablo and Juanita, the family pooled all of their resources and purchased a plot of 20 acres in Carneros.  The shared dream was taking root.    

From migrant farming to living and working in Napa Valley, the Ceja family would then take their knowledge, dedication and hard work and create Ceja Vineyards — wines and a winery experience that would reflect what they believed in:  family and community. 

The winery logo is a bell with a Latin inscription: vinum cantus amor, meaning: wine, song and love. In Mexico, bells are rung to announce community celebrations. Ceja uses the bell to invite everyone to be a part of Ceja Vineyards. This is not just a family affair, but a place for the community and every visitor who steps in the door. 

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Everything the winery does invites you in: from guests’ enjoyment of its approachable wines, its salsa dancing fun at the winery, its active involvement in social media, including cooking videos on YouTube.com and their website which share the family’s passion for authentic Mexican cuisine.  

Dalia, the daughter of Amelia and Pedro, now has her hands in all of this and more. She did eventually join the family business as director of sales and marketing for Ceja Vineyards. While there is no typical day for Ceja — she could be working with distributors, hosting winemaker dinners, or working in the tasting room — she does so with her own style and flair. Ceja’s outgoing personality makes her a very welcoming face for Ceja Vineyards. Her fashionable sense adds to winery events and videos; and her fearlessness in exploring opportunities and adventures brings fresh excitement to the Ceja brand. There is so much more to come; Dalia’s story is just beginning.    

Catherine Seda believes that wine is a million stories and she is set on telling them. Catherine holds the Diploma in Wine & Spirits from London’s WSET. If you have a wine story that begs telling, contact Catherine at catseda@gmail.com

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