At just sixteen years old, César Toxqui moved from Puebla, Mexico, to Ukiah, Mendocino, where he met distinguished winemaker Jesse Tidwell. Under his tutelage, Cesar gained a deep love for winemaking. Little did he know that it was the beginning of a very exciting journey, eventually leading him to create his own wine label. Finding his connection to winemaking was no coincidence, as Cesar later learned when reading about wine history that the very first vines planted in the 1500s by the Spanish were in Puebla, near where he grew up. This piece of history undoubtedly explains Cesar’s passion for winemaking. His first jobs in the wine industry included tying down grapevines and supervising bottling lines at Fetzer Vineyards.
Mexico to Mendocino
Cesar Toxqui (pronounced “ses-zar toe-ski”) Cellars is a small family-owned winery located in scenic Redwood Valley, Mendocino County. We are not “armchair” winemakers. Rather, we strive to be involved in all aspects of winemaking from growing grapes to bottling. We work very closely with our grape growers to maximize grape quality. Our fermentations are done in open-top fermenters and hand punched down twice a day with extended maceration to extract the ripe flavor and color. We recycled the old techniques of winemaking— resident yeast to start fermentation and no addition of fining agents. Thus, we stay true to the grape varietal, vintage, and appellation.
Taste the wines the way nature intended.
Why the name CESAR TOXQUI? We love what we do and feel that by using our personal name for our business, we convey our commitment to producing wines with character and finesse.
Cesar worked as the Cellar Master for Brutocao Cellars for the next decade. Simultaneously, Cesar began to study viticulture at Sonoma State University, with an emphasis on the art of organically grown grapes. Because of his education, Cesar places great importance on sourcing his grapes from local organically grown vineyards—which he believes is the key factor to exceptional wines. Though Cesar continued to work as the cellar master for other wineries, he still did not lose his dream of having his own wine brand. Instead, while working for others, he acquired experience and knowledge about the wine industry, preparing him to run his own business. Wanting to hone his winemaking skills, he then attended UC Davis to study enology. Finally, after years of crafting his own wine as a home winemaker, he entered his wines into the Lake County Home Winemakers Festival in Kelseyville, where he won Best of Show.
1st Tasting Room
In early 2010, Cesar Toxqui finally opened his first tasting room in Hopland, California, where he can now share his unique wines with the public. As a result, Cesar is becoming more recognized in the community as the new up-and-coming Mexican winemaker. In fact, recently, he was honored to be part of the “Ukiah Valley Past, Present & Future” Monumental Historical Mural (pictured below). With the help of the marketing efforts of his wife Ruth, Cesar also began selling his wines at grocery stores and restaurants not only locally but in surrounding areas as far north as the town of Mendocino and as far south as the Bay area. Though this was a significant milestone in Cesar’s winemaking career, he did not become complacent; he still endeavored to own a winery that would enable him to focus solely on creating and bettering his own wines.
Dream Come True
Yes, you guessed it, Cesar achieved his dream of owning a winery in Redwood Valley, California. Through tremendous work and support, Cesar transformed what was once a plot of land with many trees into a rustic-esque winery. However, his renovations of the property are still an ongoing project. He hopes to continue developing it into a destination where people can hold memorable events like weddings and even stay, as he plans to build tiny homes. Cesar’s desire to direct all his energy and attention to revamping the property led him to close his tasting room in Hopland in 2022.
Check out this interview from over 10 years ago!