Celebrating Hispanic Culture, Food and Wine During Hispanic Heritage Month
In 1988 President Ronald Reagan established Hispanic Heritage Month to run every year from September 15 to October 15. The purpose is to celebrate the cultures, contributions, and history of American citizens whose predecessors came from Mexico, South and Central America, the Caribbean and Spain. The reason the dates span two months is because many of these countries celebrate their independence on different dates between Sept. 15 and October 15.
However, there are many more equally compelling reasons to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. One is the delicious food and wine heritage of these countries; while another is the recognition that Hispanics now make up 19% of all Americans and have a buying power of $2.7 trillion, according to Nielsen. Furthermore, Pew Research reports the Hispanic population will grow from 62.1 million in 2020 to 128 million by 2050, more than doubling in size, and making it the second largest ethnic/racial group in the U.S.
The problem (or opportunity) is that research shows that many Hispanics do not feel represented in the media and that they are often ignored by marketers. Or, that when brands try to be more inclusive, they do it in an artificial manner without taking the time to understand the nuances of different Hispanic communities.
Perhaps the answer is a strong partnership with Hispanic owned brands and showing authentic concern for community issues. That is what E&J Gallo has done in a three-way partnership between Alamos Winery in Argentina and Hispanic Star, a non-profit organization with a purpose to elevate Hispanic collaboration, perception and representation.
Jorge Espinosa, Director of Brand Public Relations at E. & J. Gallo Winery, stated, “As the sole distributor of Alamos wine in the U.S., we are honored to work with Hispanic Star to donate over 1,000 meals made by Hispanic-owned restaurants to families facing food insecurity in select cities.” These cities include Dallas, Houston, Austin, Miami, Los Angeles, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
This focus on Hispanic food and wine is a positive way to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and to assist in local communities. “It is also something that our wine retailers have been requesting,” reported Courtney O’Brien, Senior Marketing Director at E&J Gallo Winery. “Some of them have asked if they can help hand out meals in their local markets.”
The partnership also includes an invitation to consumers nationwide to share their personal heritage stories and be featured on the Alamos website as part of the ‘IAM100’ program. “As a Latino,” explains Espinosa, “I believe that I am 100% Hispanic and 100% American. Many Hispanic-Americans also believe this, and that is what the IAM100 program is about.”
Indeed E&J Gallo has long been a supporter of diversity and inclusion, having been one of the first wineries in the U.S. to establish employee resource groups to support diverse groups within the company. “In fact,” states O’Brien, “it was through our E&J Gallo La Casa Latino employee resource group that we learned about Hispanic Star and reached out to their director to discuss a collaboration to support local Hispanic communities.”
Alamos Malbec Wine Served with Grilled Hispanic Cuisine
The Alamos winery is located in the Uco Valley of Argentina, and is owned by the Catena family, who have been making wine there for more than 100 years. The winemaker is Lucia Vaieretti, and the brand is well-known globally for its award winning Malbec wines.
“We are super proud of Alamos being the most exported wine brand from Argentina around the world,” stated Laura Catena, in an online interview. Catena is co-owner, along with her father, Nicolás Catena, of Bodega Catena Zapata. This bodega is another one of their winery locations that produces luxury-priced wines in the Luján de Cuyo region, outside of Mendoza, Argentina.
“Alamos is the number one selling Malbec in the U.S. for over a decade now,” states O’Brien. “It has also achieved 91 points from James Suckling eight vintages in a row, and 91 points from Wine Advocate. The higher-end, Alamos Selección Malbec in the purple label, got 92 points from Suckling.” The suggested retail price for Alamos Malbec is $12.99 and the Selección label is $17.99. The Alamos winery also produces a cabernet sauvignon and a red blend.
The term ‘Hispanic,’ has been used for generations in the U.S., but more recently people have been switching to the term ‘LatinX,’ causing some confusion for people not in the know. Indeed, many people tend to use them interchangeably, but they actually have different meanings.
According to author, Arlin Cuncic, “Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish or are descended from Spanish-speaking populations, while Latino refers to people who are from or descended from people from Latin America.” In this case, Latin America refers to Mexico and Central America, as well as South America. This distinction is especially important to Spain and Brazil, because Spain can be considered Hispanic, but not Latino. Brazil, on the other hand, can be considered Latino, but not Hispanic, because the mother language of the country is Portuguese.
The term ‘LatinX’ has emerged as an alternative to the gender specific terms of ‘Latino’ and ‘Latina.’ LatinX is part of the LGBTQ+ community and is considered to be more inclusive. However, people are still allowed to use any of these three terms to refer to themselves as having descended from people of Latin America.
Personal Note: My grandfather was born in Mexico and came to California as a teenager. He completed high-school in San Francisco where he met my grandmother. They moved to the Salinas Valley where he worked as a Human Resource representative and negotiator in the Bracero program, helping migrant farmworkers from Mexico. He returned to Mexico many times in his life, and passed on his love of Mexican food, music, and wine to me.

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