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Making America great

Posted on July 11, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun


Rep. Mike Thompson presents Amelia Ceja with a Fifth Congressional District American Dream Award.

Ceja was one of 18 immigrants in Thompson’s district who he honored for making remarkable contributions in the areas of Arts and Culture, Professional Achievement, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, or Community Service

Ceja was born in Las Flores, Jalisco, an agricultural village in Mexico, and immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. She is a successful businessperson and an important member of our community.

“Ms. Ceja cares deeply about the family business and employees,” Thompson said. “Stories like hers make America great.”

Ms. Ceja moved to the area as a child. Her parents worked for a local vineyard management company, her father as a mechanic and her mother as a farm worker. She met her husband, Pedro Ceja, while picking grapes with their families.

In 1983, the Ceja family came together to purchase 15 acres and to plant their own grapes. The family later founded Ceja Vineyards, Inc. in 1999. Today they own 113 producing acres. Ms. Ceja is the first Mexican American woman to be the president of a California winery.

“Her vineyard and winery are famous for their quality grape harvests and production of premium Carneros wines,” Thompson said.

The California Legislature recognized her contributions to the community in 2005 by naming her “Woman of the Year.”

The awards were presented in a July 9 ceremony in Vallejo, where Thompson praised immigrants as proven job creators, philanthropists, and community leaders. “They make our district better through their hard work and perseverance,” he said. “Our district would not be nearly as vibrant or successful without their contributions.”

The full list of awardees:

  • Luisa Acosta – Lake County
  • Gustavo Brambila – Napa County
  • Amelia Ceja – Napa County
  • Evelyn Centeno – Contra Costa County
  •    Sonu Chandi – Sonoma County
  • Nataly Deherrera – Solano County
  • Mayor Myrna De Vera – Contra Costa County
  • Miljenko Grgich – Napa County
  • Art Ibleto, the “Pasta King – Sonoma County
  • William Kim – Solano County
  • Newton Luu and Jackie Truong – Contra Costa County
  • Manuel Mendoza – Lake County
  • Dr. Maryam Mohsenzadeh – Napa County
  • Dr. Marlene Quilala – Lake County
  • Carmela Sandoval and Maria Sanchez – Solano County
  • Suzanne Smith – Sonoma County


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