The grandchild of immigrants from Sonora and Jalisco, Mexico, Jess Romero was born in Alameda, California in 1960, and grew up here in Napa. Romero’s mother, having grown up in Oakland, didn’t like the rural lifestyle in the Napa Valley, so his…

David Reynoso grew up in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and moved to Napa from East Los Angeles in 2009. Later that year, he opened Taquería María, named after the Virgin Mary and also his mother Maria. Having grown up in Mexico, he found life as an…

Maria Olvera grew up in a traditional family in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and came to the United States in 1983, after her husband had moved here to work. In 1989, Olvera and her fellow hairstylist Rosa Morales opened up Rosemery’s Haircuts,…

Rosa Morales was born in Zitacuaro, Michoacán, in Mexico and first came to the United States in 1973. “The experience I had where I grew up is that in my country, there were not many opportunities for success,” Morales explains. “I always had…

Francisco Matias was born in Tecomán, Colima, Mexico and moved to Napa in 1990, when he was five years old. At that age, he was already developing an affinity for martial arts by watching Bruce Lee movies and other action films. After practicing…

Ernesto Martinez left his home in Mexico City for the Napa Valley at age 16. After spending a few nights sleeping on park benches, he found work as a dishwasher at Brava Terrace. By 2003, he was working as a sous chef at the Culinary Institute of…

After first working as a migrant farmworker in 1962, Jose Guadalupe Maldonado made a permanent home for his family in the Napa Valley in 1980, where he and his son Hugo would later found Maldonado Family Vineyards in 2002. Hugo spent his early…

Pablo Chávez was born in El Capricho near La Piedad, Michoacán, Mexico. After the second grade, he began to work in the fields, entering the United States in 1961 to work as a bracero. He later moved to Napa in 1966 and worked for a waste…

Eduardo Balbuena was born in Acapulco, Mexico and moved to New York in 1999 at the age of 20. He later moved to Napa to be near his father. Balbuena first worked odd jobs, then took a position in Napa in a warehouse which allowed him to learn about…

Bernardo Ayala came to Napa in 1988 from Indaparapeo, a small farming town in Michoacán, Mexico. Realizing how difficult life could be, Ayala jumped upon the opportunities available here and worked his way up from a disastrous but brief time as a…

For Rafael Rios, running businesses seems to be in the family’s genes. His older brother Manuel is the founder and owner of Rios Farming Company, LLC, his older sister, Ofelia and her husband Severiano, own and operate Severiano’s Kitchen, and…

Patricia Martinez arrived in Napa in 1986, with her husband and young children. “We came to visit Disneyland and stayed here forever,” she jokes. Having studied business administration in her hometown of Mexico City, she decided she wanted to…

Pedro DeLuna and his oldest son Jesus DeLuna came to the United States from Colonia Modelo, Fresnillo, Zacatecas in Mexico as a part of the Bracero program in the 1940’s. They brought their families here in 1960’s, after which Pedro DeLuna,…

Estela Navarro Cortez was born in Jocotepec, Jalisco, Mexico and first came to the United States at the age of five. Later, in 2003, Navarro moved to Napa and opened Joey’s Bakery with her husband Salvador Cortez, who is also a baker, one year…

Imelda Contreras had been running her own alterations business in Texas for 32 years before she opened Imelda’s Designer Alterations in Napa seven years ago. “I came (to the United States) for vacation in 1976 then I stayed because I got…

Born in Valle de Santiago in Guanajuato, Mexico, Javier Garcia established Garcia’s Auto Service in 2002, with the help and support of his family. Garcia is passionate about his profession and he takes great pleasure in “being his own…

Having gone back and forth between the U.S. and her hometown in Jalisco, Mexico, Emma Peña first arrived in the United States in 1976, opened El Vaquero Western Wear in 2003, and has now lived here for 40 years. Peña first encountered the…

Before moving to Napa in 1970, Anita Alfaro grew up in San Antonio, a small rural town in Michoacán, Mexico. To make ends meet, her mother sold chicken eggs so she could buy a pig, then sold the pig so she could buy a sewing machine, in the…

Joel Ramos came from Mexico in 1985, and has dedicated his career to providing the best services to anyone and everyone who’s ever been in an automobile accident. Ever since Joel came from Mexico and started learning about cars it became his dream…

Alex Sotelo was born in Jerez, Zacatecas, Mexico, and came to the United States in 1991, when he was 18 years old. The move from Mexico to the U.S. was a very stark transition for Sotelo. “The experience that I had adapting to this new and…

“People did not ask, ‘Where are you going this summer?’ It was White Sulphur Springs or nowhere.” Once Northern California’s premier resort, White Sulphur Springs was where San Francisco’s elite went to relax and escape the City’s…

After the discovery of gold, 27 springs of mineral rich cold water about seven miles north of Napa City were claimed by Amos Buckman in 1855. By then, the indigenous residents of Napa had been exterminated by epidemics or displaced to Sonoma or Lake…

What would eventually become Walters Springs was discovered in the fall of 1871 by J. J. Walters. The land was purchased by a joint stock company but, a few years later, Walters was able to purchase the land he discovered in a joint venture with…

In its heyday the resort at Aetna Springs was called an “Edenic Mecca,” a little slice of heaven on earth where the sick were healed and generations of Northern Californian’s came to while away long summer days in beautiful landscape.  The…

Spared from fire and redevelopment, the 1888 Winship Building now stands as one of the finest remaining examples of Victorian commercial architecture in Napa County. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Edward H.…

The Uptown Theatre opened in an era of glimmering movie houses and served as one of Napa’s premier venues for the silver screen. It hosted lavish Hollywood style premiers, but by the 1980s it had the unfortunate reputation of being one of Napa’s…

The 1888 Semorile Building has long been considered one of Napa’s finest examples of Victorian era commercial architecture as well as being one of the most notable structures designed by famed Napa architect Luther Turton. While the building has…

Downtown Napa’s oldest commercial building, locally known as the Sam Kee Laundry, has long been a site into which immigrants have pitched their dream of a better life. Built by the German immigrant Phillip Pfieffer in 1875 from hand-cut local…

The Franklin Postal Station on the corner of Second and Randolph St. was built in an Art Deco style known as WPA Moderne. The architectural style was named for the Works Progress Administration, the agency created by the Franklin D. Roosevelt…

For the Plaza Hotel it is safe to say, it has seen the best of times and the worst of times. It went from being one of the jewels of Napa's social scene to a condemned low-rent residential hotel only to be returned to splendor by a $1.5 million…