The Hot Seat – Featuring: Bodega del Sur Winery

Welcome to another Hot Seat Interview. The Hot Seat is our community spotlight! Are you a creative type? Want us to feature you? We’d love to learn about your creative business or hobby.

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This week we feature Evelyn Reyes-Umana of Bodega del Sur Winery:

Bodega del Sur Winery offers wine with a Latin flair! The tasting room is located in the quaint town of Murphys California. The wine is excellent and the Bodega del Sur family is friendly and welcoming, providing a true experience to everyone who walks through their door! Evelyn is very active in her community and passionate about all she does. She donates a portion of the proceeds from the wine to local non-profits supporting women and children in need and hosts events in support of local art. Read the interview below to learn more about this amazing woman!


Tell us about yourself / background: I was born in San Salvador, El Salvador Central America. Came to the USA as a child , I have been in California most of my life. Got Married in the 70’s, I am a mother of two great guys Victor Manuel and Luis Edgardo…worked as Spanish teacher for 15 years before becoming a business owner.

Evelyn Reyes-Umana

In a nutshell, tell us about your business, art or craft: Bodega del Sur is owned and managed by my husband, Victor and I . We are focused on putting together the best possible team in order to provide a totally memorable experience. Our vision is quite simple. It is to make the Bodega del Sur experience a truly memorable one for our customers — through the quality of our wines and the professionalism of our staff.

The Bodega del Sur Family

How long have you been in business or doing this? If this is your business, is it a full-time gig? Do you have another job or hobby you’d like to share? We have been in Business for four years…this is our full-time job.

What or who inspires your work? This is my husband dream, it has been my nightmare…but after 33 years with the same guy, why not! He does not inspires me, the inspiration comes from all the wonderful people I meet.
 What is your biggest challenge? In this economy everything is a challenge, but life is good…with a passion and good attitude we move forward.

What do you love most about your work/art? Meeting wonderful people, that enjoy the wine.
What tool(s) can you not live without? We need great grapes!!! All the time…

Great wine starts with LOTS of sweet, juicy grapes!

Evelyn and her grapes!

Evelyn working the grapes

Can you tell us a little bit about the Carmesi Label? Carmesi is a Spanish word that literally means “crimson,

The First Carmesi Label

bright red, somewhat darkened with blue; purple”. Its use in naming our wine goes back to the imagination and dreams of a 10-year-old girl in El Salvador. To me it meant wonder, delight, fantastic mystery. It was a word I heard in music and read in poetry. It was a word I fell in love with. So, when the time came to name our new red wine, the “word” and a fantastic idea came to life.The word “Carmesi” not only described this mysteriously, romantic, red wine with just a hint of blue, it was a perfect word to use in honoring the memories of my mother and mother-in-law – two very important women in my life. Thus, the first vintage of Carmesi carried a composite image of these two women and was named for them – Maria Alicia. But why limit it to these two women? Why not honor all those strong women who have inspired and made an impression on all of us? Just as poets and song writers have been honoring noble women with their poems and music over the centuries, Bodega del Sur wants to honor them with their wine.The era I chose to depict on the labels is approximately 1900 to the 1930s; a time when women were asserting themselves and making their strengths known. As the blend changes, different women will adorn the Carmesi label.With our most recent vintage of Carmesi we have a new figure adorning our label. Her name is Amparo?


A Wine Label Honoring Strong Women

Who is Amparo and why is she on the label? With the huge success of our first bottling of Carmesi, my husband, Victor and I searched long and hard for an image of another Latin woman who would convey both strength and beauty. The search ended in a family album of a friend and neighbor. There she was – Amparo Ramos. She was 15 years old when the photo was taken in 1894 in Sonora, Mexico, but her inner confidence and strength was already apparent. She went on to marry and have children, but after that the trail is lost. It wasn’t until long after the figure of Amparo had been chosen that it became apparent how appropriate the choice really was. The Spanish name “Amparo” translates to “protection or shelter”. While showing strong women on a wine label fulfilled part of my dream, it did not satisfy my desire to help women – and children – in need. Prior to opening Bodega del Sur, I worked as a schoolteacher where I witnessed women and children in trouble. I did what I could then, but it was limited. Now I have a chance to provide direct assistance.

Portions of the sale of each bottle of Carmesi are donated to charitable organizations that assist needy women and their children. The Resource Connection has been chosen to receive the donations from the sale of this 2008 vintage of the Carmesi.

Bodega del Sur has accomplished so much in 4 short years and won so many awards, can you elaborate on some of your most proud moments or awards you’ve excepted? Yes, I have to agree with you in 4 short years we have accomplished a lot. For the most part the past four years have been difficult but good. But actually this May has been a really big month for us! Probably the most proud moment for me was on May 4th, 2011 when I excepted The Soroptimist Ruby Award; This award is given to women helping women, it honors women who have worked to improve the lives of women and girls through their professional and /or volunteer work.  I guess it was a big deal awarded to me for the help I give the  Woman’s Shelter. In May we also received an award from the Board of Supervisors from the City and County of San Francisco for the great example of how a united family can create excellent wine, manage a winemaking business, and contribute greatly to the Hispanic community with social work.  Also in May, we hosted the Latin American Arts and Cultural Festival, a huge accomplishment for me…it was a really great event!

Awarded by the Board of Supervisors from the City and County of San Francisco

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Award, 2011

Bodega del Sur's Award Winning Wine

Thank you Evelyn for sharing with us!

You can visit Evelyn and the Bodega del Sur Family at their tasting room located at 457 Algiers St., Murphys, CA  95247.

To Learn more about Bodega del Sur visit:


A peak inside the beautiful Bodega del Sur Tasting Room

Tasting Room Exterior

Thanks for reading, we will be back soon with another Hot Seat Interview!

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