Bibiana González Rave
I grew up in a country where vineyards are virtually non-existent. My exposure to wine was limited only to rare occasions at the dinner table. A few sips occasionally stolen from my father’s wine glass were enough to inspire an all-consuming dream—to become a winemaker. So I packed my bags and left for France. And in that moment I set the course of my life, a never-ending journey pursuing inspirational wines. During the summer of 2001, I immersed myself in all things wine, ultimately earning a BTS degree in Viticulture and Enology from Cognac followed by a degree in Enology from the University of Bordeaux, graduating with honors.
Driven by the tenacity which first took me to France, I pruned vines during ice-cold winters, trimmed shoots in sweltering summers, and tended to the vines that cling to the sheer slopes of Côte-Rôtie—first at Domaine Stéphane Ogier, then at Domaine Clusel-Roch. At the famed estates of Château Haut-Brion & La Mission Haut-Brion, I completed research for my thesis. This hard work paid off – I had the privilege to work among other family-owned wine producers in Burgundy, Alsace, and Cognac. My passion for wine whisked me around the globe, sending me between California, South Africa, and France for several years before I decided to call California my home.
The birth of
By the end of 2011, after many harvests perfecting the craft of making wine, I set upon my own adventure—a label known today as CATTLEYA WINES. Meanwhile, I became a viticulturist and winemaker consultant; focused on vineyard optimization to produce exceptional wines from Sonoma and Napa Valley.
In 2015, I was awarded “Winemaker of the Year” by the San Francisco Chronicle, just over a year after being named one of Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Under 40 America’s Tastemakers”.
The icon for Cattleya wines is an embossed orchid representing the Cattleya Trinae.
This flower is a national symbol of my native country, Colombia.
I named my wine Cattleya to honor my native country, my family, and also the experiences from my upbringing. I grew up in the city of Medellin, known around the world on the 80s and 90s as the epicenter of drugs and cartels. Violence and kidnappings were part of an alternating reality we learned to live in. So, I decided to build upon the family principles or hard work, tenacity, honesty, and pursuit of excellence on my silent dream to make wine one day. My passion for wine took me finally to California when Cattleya wines are made, each detail being essential to the resulting wines.
Growing up in Colombia shaped who I am. My training in France defined the winemaker I became and California gives me the land and the opportunity to make exceptional wines.
It grows as an epiphytic orchid, with succulent leaves, endemic to Colombia where it was nominated as the national flower in November 1936. That year, the National Academy of History of Argentina asked the Latin American countries to participate in an exhibition with the representative flowers of each country. The Colombian government gave the botanist Emilio Robledo the task to designate the most representative flowering plant of the country.
To produce unique wines of extreme purity, power, and finesse.
These wines are literally handmade.
As I begin any winemaking journey, I instinctively go back to the farming itself. Looking back, I now appreciate the value of having been trained first as a viticulturist. It was surely the most valuable and humbling lesson I received in my years in France. Through rigorous training and endless days of physical work, I understood from very early on that unique wines can only come from vineyards where the growers will never compromise on how much or how hard they will work their vines.
Complexity in the aromatics and texture on the mouthfeel are my hallmarks. I craft my wines with a long finish that develops in the mid-palate with ample generosity. I pay no attention to “number” when it comes to making harvest decisions, but I do believe on precision with wines driven by acidity and tannins.