MARIA CRISTINA  ORTIZ

Forbidden Fruit: Exposing the Underbelly of Napa’s Wine Industry Through the Exploration of Latinx Immigrant Labor

 

This research is an exploration of immigrant labor, particularly Latinx immigrant labor and the growing second-generation Latinx population, who find themselves institutionally straddled between remaining trapped in the cyclical agricultural and service work sectors, and achieving their own “American Dream.” In focusing on how this community understands their own stratification based on their identity as it pertains to race, class, gender, and recognition, I seek to identify common threads illuminating what institutional and social holds tie them there, as well as possible exit points that allow them to transcend the holds previous generations reckoned with. Through conducting personal interviews with folks living this reality in both generations, examining existing statistics about Latinx immigrant labor in the Napa Valley, and drawing historical arcs between the two, I explore the relationship between this niche community which is hyper-invisibilized to the public world, and their own confrontations with identity, belonging, disposability, and equity. Identifying these newfound ruptures of the Valley’s fabric will allow me to disrupt and complicate existing public discourse, consciousness, and understanding as well as propose new frames through which to understand this seemingly growing, and changing population.