Home A Life in Wine Working La Uva 1: A Life in Wine, Meeting Fulgencio

Working La Uva 1: A Life in Wine, Meeting Fulgencio

Working La Uva 1: A Life in Wine, Meeting Fulgencio

Thank you to Eric Asimov for mentioning this write-up in the August 13, 2012 The New York Times Diner’s Journal “What We’re Reading”.


Meeting Fulgencio

For over fifteen years Fulgencio has worked vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Prior to starting their life in Oregon, he, and his wife, and their two young children traveled from Mexico to be near their family in the Western part of the state.

I ask Fulgencio to tell me about his family. His daughter has now finished her undergraduate degree, and is studying for her Medical School entrance exams. He is grateful, he says, that she will benefit from the Dream Act, if it passes. It is something he is very happy about, he explains, because the Dream Act would give his daughter an opportunity, and, knowing this, she has purposefully worked very hard to succeed in school. His son too has just finished high school, and is on his way to college this fall.

He tells me about his family coming to the United States. First, getting here was very hard, he explains. “But to arrive,” he says, then pauses, and shows me his forearm, telling me he gets goose bumps still when he thinks about it. The hairs on his arm really are raised and on his face he is smiling. He continues. When they arrived, he and his wife had big dreams but, several years ago now, his wife died. He was left with two children, not knowing even how to cook an egg. His eyes begin to fill with water and for a moment he is quiet. He continues. In such a time, he tells me, you can only have a lot of patience, to focus on your spiritual well being, have a lot of faith, and to know all is God willing. He tells me he is feeling better now, but adjusting to the move, and to his wife dying were a lot of work, and very trying.

We are both quiet for a while. I tell him it sounds like his patience has gotten him and his children a long way. He responds. “I have not reached all my dreams,” he says. “But I am feeling at peace because I have fulfilled my duties as a father and as a good human being. From this point it is up to them, my children, and to whatever it is left for me to do.” For a moment we are both silent. Then I thank him for telling me about his life here, and about his family. He smiles at me and nods. “It relieves me when I am able to express myself,” he answers. “Thank you. It was bottled up inside.”

Fulgencio drives a vineyard tractor and is a vineyard mechanic in the Willamette Valley.


Thank you to Fulgencio for taking the time to talk with me.

Thank you to Leda Garside for translating portions of our conversation.

I am deeply grateful.

Thank you to Sheila Nicholas.

I was able to meet Fulgencio via ¡Salud! Services. More on the program to follow.


Working La Uva 2: Majoring in Community Health, Talking to Estella http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2012/08/10/working-la-uva-2-majoring-in-community-health-talking-to-estella/

Working La Uva 3: Leda Garside and ¡Salud!: http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2012/08/11/working-la-uva-3-leda-garside-and-salud/

Copyright 2012 all rights reserved. When sharing or forwarding, please attribute to WakawakaWineReviews.com


  1. Bless you for this. I have been constantly amazed at the “ink” given to winery owners and vintners and so little devoted to the people who most often work the land. The graciousness and nobility of the farmworkers should not go unnoticed and this post was such a blessing and so poignant.

    Gracias a la vida.

    • Thank you for your comment here. It meant a lot to me to have had time with Fulgencio, and to write this post. It is hard to communicate the level of regard, and gratefulness for Fulgencio I hoped to convey through my writing. But hearing from you here means a lot to me. Thank you.

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