Food & Drink

The Summit Wine and Food Festival Presents “California’s Undiscovered Cult Wines”

Credits: Jason Cohen
Credits: Jason Cohen

SUMMIT, NJ - On Saturday morning at the Summit Wine and Food Festival two winemakers from Napa Valley, California presented “California’s Undiscovered Cult Wines." Alex Sotelo of Sotelo Cellars and Luis Robeldo of Robeldo Family Vineyards showed the challenges and rewards of producing wines of a high caliber.

Some of California’s best wines are actually produced by smaller, lesser known wineries that put quality above marketing. During their presentation, each guest was invited to sample four different vintages of red wine.

Robeldo told the audience that several years ago, his grandfather migrated from Mexico to work on the vineyards in the United States and Robeldo’s father followed in his footsteps. In 1968, Robeldo's father got a job in Napa Valley making only $1.15 an hour and in his second year there he became manager.  He then returned to Mexico, married his wife, migrated to California and the Robeldos had nine children, seven boys and two girls.

Sign Up for E-News

In 1984, Robeldo's family bought their first property, 13 acres of land.

“After school, weekends and vacation from school we knew what we were going to do so we didn’t make any plans,” Robeldo said. “Growing grapes was our sport.”

They started the vineyard in 1992 and today, his parents own 400 acres in Napa and Sonoma.  All of the children work or assist with the vineyards.

“I love my job,” he said. Robeldo primarily sells wine and represents his family's business.

Sotelo, who has been in the wine business for 20 years, came to America in 1991. He has had his company for a decade and is quite pleased with where it is today. He and the Robeldos both produce a high quality wine and only aim to give the public the best product, he said. Sotelo said he and his staff manage the properties where they havest the fruit.

“The focus of what we do is we come develop it and we hope that Mother Nature will do the job,” Sotelo said.

Sotelo told the audience there are three key things when growing grapes on a vineyard: dirt, weather and cultural practices. He said dirt, the composition of the soil, sun exposure and weather are all vital in creating a proficient vineyard. Cultural practices are what people do related to the weather and the dirt, he said.   

“If you think about it, [winemaking] is very complex,” Sotelo said.

To succeed in the business, people must possess an extensive knowledge about vineyards and wine, he said. Furthermore, if an individual were to develop a new vineyard, the first thing they need to know is what kind of wine they are going to make, he added.  

The audience was also shown a map of Napa Valley, which surprised many people because of how small Napa actually is. While many presume it to be several hundred miles of vineyards, it is only a quaint 27 miles. Many people were shocked to learn this, but were impressed with the history of both men’s businesses.

“It was good to kind of learn about what’s going on in Napa Valley,” said Ashley Jackson of East Orange.

Jackson, who is just starting to get into wine, said she really enjoyed the presentation. Robeldo’s backstory was fascinating, she said.

Summit resident Maria Zazzera echoed Jackson’s sentiment about Robeldo. "It’s really a true American success story," she said. She enjoyed tasting the wine and had a great time learning about it as well, Zazzera told  

“I liked his story. I thought it was great,” she said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Mon, February 19, 11:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

All Ages Storytime Squad

Arts & Entertainment Education


Mon, February 19, 4:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

All Ages Storytime Squad

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education


Mon, February 19, 4:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

All Ages Storytime Squad

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar Education

Summit Fire Department Blotter

12/16/17 7:42 am     FD dispatched to DE FOREST AVENUE and MAPLE STREET for a strong odor of natural gas in area. On arrival found an outside odor of natural gas. PSEG was requested and responded to the scene. Readings of 7% natural gas were found in the manholes in the center of the intersection. CVS was checked and zero readings for natural gas were found. Summit FD was released ...

Summit Police Blotter

February 12, 2018

2/1 - At 0955 hours a report was taken for a theft of a street sign. The unlawful incident occurred between an unknown time frame on Pine Grove Avenue. Value of the street sign was not immediately available at the time of the report.

2/5 - Roberto C. Noel-Berman, 23, of Summit was arrested and charged with possession of CDS. Mr. Noel-Berman was released with a pending court date.

2/5 - ...

Assistance Programs Available for JCP&L Customers to Help with Winter Heating Bills

February 16, 2018

As the cold weather continues, financial assistance programs are available for Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) customers who need help with winter heating bills.

Assistance to qualifying JCP&L customers is available through the Lifeline, Universal Service Fund (USF), Weatherization, Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE) and New Jersey SHARES programs.

Lifeline ...

Video: Point View's Deitze Tell CNBC Fed is 'On Track' for March Rate Hike

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, live on CNBC on how to position your portfolio despite more volatility:

For nearly 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive ...

Doing Well While Doing Good

The new tax law is predicted to reduce significantly the number of taxpayers who itemize deductions.  That has some concerned about charitable giving. There are ways for taxpayers who do not itemize deductions to give to charity and still receive some tax benefits.

Give from your IRA. Those aged 70-1/2 or older, who must take required minimum distributions from retirement accounts, can ...


AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  


The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...

Movies! Movies! Movies! - Three Ways to Enjoy Movies

Most people who use the Summit Free Public Library are familiar with our video collection: thousands of DVDs and nearly 800 BluRays -- and growing!

In addition to recent box-office hits and Hollywood classics, we have foreign films, anime, and musical performances from Aida to ZZ Top. Binge-watch a must-see TV series, discover a new one, or introduce your kids to your childhood ...