They emigrated from the Philippines in 1978 and their families followed suit. Lawrence Cortez was originally from Buguey, Cagayan Valley, Nieves Cortez originally from Illocos, and Romel Rivera originally from Agoo, La Union. Although they arrived in different areas of California, the friendship began in the little town of Calistoga, the heart of the Napa Valley.
Their knowledge base of wine and vineyards started by working in a vineyard tending to the grapes. They were blessed with the opportunity to continue their wine education. Lawrence's hard work eventually earned him the position of Cellar Master at Clos Pegase. Romel along with Nieves, who are both cousins, started their career at Hans Kornell Champagne Cellars. Romel eventually landed a position at Pride Mountain Vineyards, under the tutelage of winemaker Bob Foley. Years later, Lawrence joined suit and worked alongside with Romel. All of these experiences offered more learning opportunities for wine appreciation commingled with business.
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