TODAY   |  June 09, 2013

Ex-migrant worker becomes a vineyard owner

Amelia Ceja talks with NBC's Kristen Dahlgren about her journey from toiling in the fields to owning a multi-million dollar Napa wine business. "To understand the entire process you have to actually lived it," Ceja said.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> >>> we talked so much about america being the land of opportunity. the place where dreams can come true. kristen dahlgren found that in california. one woman went from migrant worker to the owner of a multimillion dollar vineyard.

>> wine more than any other beverage tells a story.

>> what a story it is. as amelia walks throughout vineyard she now owns, she can't help but think back to the days when she picked these grapes for someone else.

>> i was so excited to come to he will norte. to have an adventure.

>> she moved here as a child in from mexico.

>> i didn't speak the language. then i had left this nurturing extended family that i missed so much.

>> her first day on the job, she met another young mexican immigrant named pedro who would one day become her husband. she found a second love also, wine.

>> to really be in love and to understand the entire process, you have to actually have lived it. you have to have dirt under your nails.

>> she begins every day with that knowledge.

>> every time i come out here, it takes my breath away.

>> this is the first plot of land she and her husband pedro bought in 1983 .

>> we had no idea what we were doing.

>> but they knew grapes. as long as they were growing, their business seemed to grow as well. life in the wine business isn't easy. it's a 24/7 operation. in the fall, hundreds of employees work through the night harvesting knaus of acres of grapes.

>> how hard is the work?

>> you get paid depending upon how many you pick. imagine picking a couple of tons of grapes.

>> the grapes are all important. she and her family closely monitor their growth.

>> this is so beautiful.

>> they're formed perfectly.

>> the soil, the root stock , even the amount of sun can change the taste. they start a week before harvest.

>> this is a refractometer. it makes sure the amount of sugar -- you want to capture all of the juice. then we get to taste it.

>> all right.

>> oh, my gosh, that's amazing.

>> stnt?

>> so sweet.

>> winemaking comes down to chemistry.

>> it's quite a bit of science.

>> it's not a speedy process. in many cases the wine ages for several years.

>> a vessel that allows the wine to mature to clarify.

>> the environment it's in slowly influencing the final product.

>> blossoms and flowers and violets. just really, really pretty and soft and seductive on the nose. you immediately want to taste it.

>> a chance they finally get at the downtown napa tasting room with friends and visitors taste the fruits of amelia's labors. she has quite a following. back in 2008 , her wine was served at one of president obama 's inaugural events.

>> i get goose bumps . it was such an exciting time and to be able to share sort of our journey.

>> what thrilled ceja most is this. a chance to share her wine with the people who helped shaped them and most days she makes a big lunch for the vineyard staff and family. sharing her spicy cooking with the perfect wine and sharing her good fortune.

>> i know that there is a proverb, if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. i'm living that.

>> salud.

>>> for "today," kristen dahlgren.