Argentina,Chile,Malbec,Wine,Wine Ed,Wine Education,Wine of the Week

Malbec ~ A Primal Variety ~ Wild and Sleek

Copyright : Kseniya Abramova

As I was inviting our friends Carole and Rob Rinne to share a tasting of four Malbecs, I had this brain poof… “I wondered what vines in South America had any phylloxera problems?”

I vaguely remembered that Chile hadn’t, or was it Argentina? What if it’s all vines in Chile and Argentina… All of South America?”

I needed a good refresher and I knew it, but I didn’t have the time at that moment. So we didn’t make this a comparative focus for Malbec from Argentina and Malbec from Chile.

As a joiner to this stream of thoughts, a couple of days ago… there it was, as I was reading James M. Gabler’s Passions ~ The Wines and Travels of Thomas Jefferson, and the answer appeared.

“Phylloxera, a root louse that attacks and kills the vines’ roots, was accidentally introduced into France in the early 1860s on vines originating in the eastern United States to replace diseased vines and for hybridization. Within 25 years phylloxera destroyed almost every vineyard in the world except those in Chile, Cyprus and a few other scattered areas.” p. 62

Head back to spinning, with what I thought could be a very unique comparative… Isn’t it marvelous to think of Chile and the country of Cyprus as having primal varieties; i.e., on their original rootstock, not having been grafted onto America’s phylloxera resistant rootstock? I just think this is so cool and primal. (Next time, South American comparative tasting… next time.)

So, anyway, a Malbec tasting was being organized… Right down to a grande finale of food to pair with the wines.

    • Four glasses for everyone
    • Arrange wine in an order of taste graduation that I imagined
      • Glasses proved right as rain
      • Two separate regions from South America
        • Argentina
        • Chile
    • Taste four separately and discuss
      • Carole brought olives to cleans our palates ~ Excellent
      • Tech notes were there so we could reference how each was made, etc.
      • Also, pretty much used our own palates
      • Decided on a favorite (empty glasses were worth a thousand words)
  •  Bring to food
    • Now taste with food
    • Discuss

Photo: Jo Diaz

The Magical Four South American Malbec 

Photo: Jo Diaz

  • Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina 2015
    • From the region of Luján de Cuyo: the Vineyards have stony, alluvial soil; and are Agrelo and Vistalba (Luján de Cuyo), in Mendoza, Argentina.
  • Reserva Casillero del Diablo Malbec Chile 2016
    • From the Central Valley of Chile, the Vineyards have Riverbench associated soils.

    Photo: Jo Diaz

  • Trivento Argentina Malbec Reserve, Mendoza 2016
    • Vineyards Mendoza, Argentina. Grapes primarily sourced from the Luján de Cuyo and surrounding areas. Alluvial soil.
  • Serie Riberas Gran Reserva, Ribera del Tinguiririca 2016
    • Vineyard ~ From the Central Valley of Chile, the Vineyards have Riverbench associated soils.
    • Riverbench soil: The soil is made up of particles that include clay, silt, sand, and gravel sediment. This soil was deposited by ancient flowing waters.


What each wine gave to me

  • Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina 2015
    • There’s still plenty of tannins left in this Malbec from Argentina; so it will continue to age well. How was it? It’s beautifully soft, like a silk scarf had just wrapped around my palate. A delicious experience, then enhanced with José’s marinated Tri-Tip, at the end of our tasting. Of my four wines, this became my empty glass.
  • Reserva Casillero del Diablo Malbec Chile 2016
    • With this one, we took a minor focus for flavors coming from Argentina and Chile and we did find a slight difference. The Chilean wines were a bit more powerful, like a seasoned thoroughbred stallion. “Perhaps it’s the Three Winds,” I thought out loud. Then I had to explain about the three winds (below).
    • Inspired by the Winds
      • EOLO is an Italian name for Homer’s Greek mythology. This wind’s behavior is given to sudden and unaccountable changes in behavior.
      • Polar Zonda is a foehn wind, which means that it’s a hot wind on the slopes of the Andes. It’s a dry, down-slope wind that occurs on the lee (downwind) side of a mountain range. Zonda is a term used for this type of wind, because it happens over those parts of western Argentina, which are tucked into the slopes of the Andes. This includes the wine region of Mendoza. The wind climbs over and swooshes downward.
      • Sudestada (southeast blown) wind. This wind is a fresh, summer breeze, which sometimes bring storms.
  • Trivento Argentina Malbec Reserve, Mendoza 2016
    • We all agreed on this Trivento Reserva Malbec’s deliciousness.  It was just like a race horse’s easy gallop… The strength was there, but nonchalantly rippling those muscles… Very food friendly, a touch of saddle leather on the nose, which turned to enveloping roundness on the palate. Almost Pinot Noir-ish.
  • Serie Riberas Gran Reserva, Ribera del Tinguiririca 2016
    • On the finish line… This head stallion is big, bold, and a muscular Malbec, the grand daddy from the group of four. The Riberas Gran Reserva was a natural complement with the bit of marbleized fat in the tri-tip. Plus the spices of both food and wine made this one slide down really smoothly, when we had Tri-Tip to go with it.

It’s a great day when we have lovely friends, delicious wines, and a fabulous tasting experience. Life is what you make of it, n’est ce pas?





AVA,Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance,Petaluma Wind Gap,Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB),Wine

Newest American Viticultural Area (AVA) ~ Petaluma Wind Gap

From the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance Newsletter

“Petaluma Gap Winegrowers celebrated the new AVA with Congressmen Thompson and Huffman on May 29, at Gap’s Crown Vineyard.”

Why is an AVA so meaningful to me? Because, Jose and I have been helping Suisun Valley since 2005, in one capacity or another. It’s been extremely rewarding to watch this region go from pretty much obscurity to one that is now officially on the map and doing quite well. (When Napa Valley decided to move into Napa, I’d say that’s arriving.)

[Photo of Bodega Bay by Yuval Helfman- Purchased image]

Meanwhile, in a research project, I did a good amount of research on Petaluma for another client and was delighted to understand the Petaluma Wind Gap, writing about it, called The Terroir of the Petaluma Wind Gap

Something that was a bit elusive for me was actually grasping exactly where the Petaluma Wind Gap originates. Everyone writes about it, but knowing exactly where it comes in is not as well pinpointed. At least, that’s what I thought until I finally fell unto the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance site. Their tag line is From Wind to Wine. I wanted to know as much about it as I could, because it helped me to define terroir for Green Valley; in my own words, though my own understandings.

From their Newsletter:

The Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance celebrated its recent approval by the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) as the newest American Viticultural Area (AVA) at a ceremony and wine tasting held on Tuesday, May 29. More than one hundred attended including winery and grower members, trade and media and were joined by United States Congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson, both of whom were personally involved in the granting of the AVA. The ceremony took place at Gap’s Crown Vineyard in Penngrove on one of the vineyard hilltops with expansive views of the Petaluma Gap and exposure to the persistent afternoon wind, the AVA’s primary defining attribute. More than 20 wineries participated, pouring more than sixty wines, all made from grapes grown in the Petaluma Gap.

From their press release:

“The first wines labeled with the Petaluma Gap AVA designation have begun to appear on store shelves and it’s very exciting” said newly-elected PGWA president Justin Seidenfeld, Director of Winemaking at Rodney Strong Vineyards. “Seeing the words ‘Petaluma Gap AVA’ on the label helps consumers better connect the dots between the unique character of our wines and the region in which our grapes are grown.”

All steps taken as I watched Suisun Valley grow into its skin, and now other people are having the same excitement.

Just a bit more:

About the Petaluma Gap Wine Alliance

Founded in 2005, the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance (PGWA) exists to educate the wine trade and consumers about the Petaluma Gap and to increase awareness of the region’s unique growing conditions and resulting wine quality. PGWA additionally supports member winegrowers and vintners within the region through ongoing programs and communications designed to help maximize their success within the industry. The group’s membership is made up of grape growers, wineries, associate business members, sponsors and local community members with a passion for the region and its wine. Throughout the year, the group conducts educational events and tastings independently and through the Sonoma County Vintners.


Event,Napa Valley Marriott,Symposium,Vineyard Economics Seminar,Vineyards,Wine Business,Wine Investments

2018 Vineyard Economics Seminar program on Monday, June 18, 2018

The 2018 Vineyard Economics Seminar: Register here…

An expert panel will be kicking off the first major discussion of the day, which is a focus on wine country agriculture, the latest in land acquisitions, and what that means for the future. In this panel, five industry experts will journey through a discussion about availability, demand, land prices, vineyard deals, institutional investing, game changers, and more.

A lot of organization has gone into this program. This is a very impressive line-up of authorities and topics, people. You have about two weeks to sign up for it… Make life more simple, by learning about your future in these complicated times.

Join fellow wine industry personnel in less than two weeks, to discuss the latest in economic and financial issues facing vineyards in Napa and the surrounding areas.

The event will be held at the Napa Valley Marriott
Monday June 18, 2018

See below for the full program – Register

From Their Website

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. REGISTRATION & COFFEE


  • Eric Jorgensen, president, Wine Business Monthly
  • Mark Greenspan, president and Viticulturist, Advanced Viticulture, Inc.


  • Mark Couchman, chief investment officer & CEO, Silverado Premium Properties – MODERATOR
  • Tony Correia, owner, the Correia Company
  • Matt Franklin, principal, Zepponi & Company
  • Jan Krupp, owner, Krupp Brothers
  • Dana Vivier, vice president of strategic planning, Far Niente

Availability, demand, land prices, vineyard deals, institutional investing and game changers, such as the Stagecoach Vineyards acquisition, have changed the market. Will land acquisitions and investments ever be the same? What is it that buyers are trying to accomplish? The impact on wine regions throughout California has created what some are describing as the “new normal.”

10:30 – 10:45 a.m. NAT DIBUDUO TRIBUTE

10:45 – 11:15 a.m. NETWORKING BREAK


  • Rachel Ashley, vice president wine production, Treasury Wine Estates – MODERATOR
  • Matt Johnson, chief winemaker, Treasury Wine Estates
  • Kirk Grace, director of california vineyard operations, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
  • Justin Leigon, viticulturist, Pina Vineyard Management
  • Zach Rasmuson, SVP / COO, Duckhorn

12:30 – 1:45 p.m. NETWORKING LUNCH


  • Richard Mendelson, Esq., of counsel, Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty
  • Terroir has an impact on vineyard values. Location is key. This provocative discussion will reveal how to bring added value to AVAs, the importance of conjunctive labeling, and the need for a register of vineyard designations.


  • David Pardes, tax partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Congress gave final approval on December 20, 2017, to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that would lower business and individual tax rates, modernize U.S. international tax rules and provide the most significant overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years. Therefore, it is important to begin analyzing the new tax: provisions to gain a full understanding as to whether or not you are a winner or a loser under this new tax regime.

3:00 – 3:45 p.m. GRAPE & BULK WINE MARKET

  • Marc Cuneo, bulk wine broker, Turrentine Wine Brokerage
  • Steve Fredricks, president, Turrentine Wine Brokerage

Understanding subtle market changes, and how they may influence the market cycles in the short and long term, is important for success. This session will provide an update of the current grape and bulk wine supply and demand, with a keen look at the impact of Cabernet Sauvignon, and take a closer look at the trends and strengths of the continuously evolving industry, from volume to price points to summaries by region and varietal.


To Register



Agricuture,California,Non Profit,RCD,Sonoma Resource Conservation District,Sustainablility,Wine

The Opportunities Continue from the RCD for Help in (Not Mentioned) California

Last week I shared information about the The Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District (RCD) Mostly connected to the Western portion of Sonoma County, I didn’t realize how wide spread this resource conversation effort is…  Like, ALL of California, for instance, with 102 districts available.

Let’s find out more

Right after the story was published, Gold Ridge RCD’s Project Coordinator Adriana Stagnaro contacted me. She told me that John Green had shared my blog story Goldridge RCD – Opportunity Waiting to Happen for You, Wine Grape Growers with his agency. Adriana, rightfully so, decided to take it a step further.

From Adriana, of the Gold Ridge RCD’s

We do work very hard to serve the community, with our shared natural resources at the center of our focus.

I wanted to… share some information on the programs we offer specifically to grape growers. It’s good to note that while Gold Ridge RCD serves the western corner of Sonoma County, the majority of the county is served by our sister organization, Sonoma RCD. Both RCDs offer these services, so all grape growers in the county have access to them…

The Sonoma County RCDs offer many programs to vineyards to plan for holistic management, improve their soil’s health, conserve water, increase habitat for wildlife and desirable pollinator species, comply with regulation, and recover from the 2017 fire storm. You can see a consolidated list of services for Sonoma County vineyards here.  [Great PDF, by the way.]

We also encourage vineyards to participate in the North Coast Soil Health Hub at www.soilhub.org. In 2017, RCDs from Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino County, NRCS, UCCE and other partners collaborated as the North Coast Soil Health Hub with funding from the CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant to create an information-sharing network that would support farmers in improving their soil health. The network is currently laying the groundwork for soil health demonstrations, workshops with industry specialists, farmer-to-farmer forum discussions, an online resource library, and more. Farmers are invited to sign up to receive quarterly e-newsletters with regional information on vineyard-focused events, research, and community updates.

After this Email, I went a step further; otherwise I could perhaps risk more areas contacting me. As it turns out, it would have been many.

 Natural Resources Conservation Service California

Here we go, boys and girls…  YOUR district! “Get cracking” as the nut guys like to say.

Reminder of why you’d be contacting the Resource Conservation District Assistance people:

  • Watershed planning and management
  • Water conservation
  • Water quality protection and enhancement
  • Agricultural land conservation
  • Soil and water management on non-agricultural lands
  • Wildlife habitat enhancement
  • Wetland conservation
  • Recreational land restoration
  • Irrigation management
  • Conservation education
  • Forest stewardship
  • Fuels management
  • Urban resource conservation

California is certainly an agricultural state. We’re in what’s called a Mediterranean climate; and, all of agriculture – with viticulture being a subset – contributes to the US’s well being with foods and wines. Everyone in the US is benefiting, when it comes to healthy options on a breakfast, lunch, or dinner table… As the fifth largest economy in the world, California feeds everyone, and we need the best resources to do it.

From the LA Times:

[“2 million jobs and grown its GDP by $700 billion.”]

“California’s economic output is now surpassed only by the total GDP of the United States, China, Japan and Germany. The state has 12% of the U.S. population but contributed 16% of the country’s job growth between 2012 and 2017. Its share of the national economy also grew to 14.2% from 12.8% over that five-year period, according to state economists.”

We take farming seriously in California, and so do our agencies that support all agricultural efforts. Now, if you need help, just make that call. They’re waiting for you.


Moscato,Piedmont,Pinot Grigio,Pinot Gris,Sicily,Veneto,Wine

La Fiera ~ The Carousel: Captivating Theme for the Child Within of The Fair Memories

LA FIERA ~ Abruzzo

La Fiera has a wonderful story… Especially if you’re a merry-go-round groupie. In the early 70s, I took my two-year old daughter to a fair, and we rode the merry-go-round for so long Katie fell asleep on it. I don’t even know how many revolutions are in 2-hours. Jim, the beloved carnival guy, never stopped the carousel. It was a slow day, no one else was there, and the world stood still. I got out my little carousel to take this picture. I chose black and white, because the labels are black and white. (Yes, a lively little carousel has survived the several moves in my life. They’re now in my blood.)

MESSAGE FROM WINERY: The origins of the carousel featured on the label originate from medieval riding fairs in the north of Italy. These elaborate equestrian ballets took place in royal courts and featured lavishly decorated horses and highly skilled riders performing synchronized formations. Popularity led builders to replicate them by designing rotating platforms with mounted wooden horses for children to ride. The carousel has been the centerpiece of La Fiera, The Fair, for centuries.

SAMPLE ~ Winesellers, Ltd.


La Fiera Pinot Grigio 2017 ~ Delle Venezie DOC

Piemonte, Sicily, and Veneto – ITALY 

HEART ~ Botter Family

THE WINERY: info is coming from the company’s own statements: Our Pinot Grigio, Montepulciano, Moscato, Soave and Primitivo originate from some of the most renowned winegrowing regions in Italy, from the Italian Alps to the seaside vineyards of Sicily. The La Fiera wines are the perfect partner to a wide range of foods, offering bright fruit flavors and a fresh, approachable style.Our Pinot Grigio, Montepulciano, Moscato, Soave and Primitivo originate from some of the most renowned winegrowing regions in Italy, from the Italian Alps to the seaside vineyards of Sicily.

Since 1928, the Botter family has been producing wines under environmentally friendly policies and with innovative production techniques and technologies. Today, the company is managed by the family’s third generation and specializes in wines of the Veneto.

SCIENCE ~ Terroir

[MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE]: Since 1928, the Botter family has been producing wines under environmentally friendly policies and with innovative production techniques and technologies. Today, the company is managed by the family’s third generation and specializes in wines of the Veneto. Veneto is a region in Italy which leads in the production and commerce of classified wine. Throughout the region the recent emphasis is on white wines and is ideally suited for the Pinot Grigio grape, where the particular composition of the hilly soil, the exposition to sun, the frequent rains and the constantly mild temperature between April and October combine to provide the best conditions.

La Fiera Moscato 2017 ~ The must is not left on the skins to avoid its acquiring their rust-red color. After soft-pressing the must is left to ferment at a temperature between 18-20°C in stainless steel vats. The wine is then stored at 17-18°C in special stainless-steel tanks until bottling. CELLARING ~ 2-3 years.

[Photo: Michael Paz on Unsplash]


SOUL ~ Inspiration*

La Fiera Pinot Grigio 2017 ~Abruzzo, Piemonte, Sicily and Veneto – ITALY The grapes are pressed cool and the must is immediately removed from the skins, to avoid acquiring their rust-red color. After this soft-pressing the must is left to ferment or about 15-20 days at a low temperature between 60-64°F, in stainless steel vats. The wine is then stored at 64-68°F, under a blanket of inert gas in special stainless-steel tanks until bottling.

Swirl… Light and breezy, lots of apples and pears wafted from the open bottle. When I pulled the cork, I was having a great day. I poured some of this wine into my glass, and my day was made even better.

Sniff… Green apples, tart and refreshing with this clean, stimulating La Fiera Pinot Grigio.

Sip… The first thing that popped into my mind, “This La Fiera Pinot Grigio would be great with so many simple, lighter foods, because it’s light, lively, and satisfying.” It had me wanting more, and made its way to our dining room table for dinner.


[Photo: Jo Diaz]

La Fiera Moscato 2017

Abruzzo, Piemonte, Sicily and Veneto – ITALY

APPELLATION: Terre Siciliane IGT ~ Winemaking in Sicily dates back several millennia. With consistently bright sunshine and reliably moderate rainfall, its classic Mediterranean climate is ideally suited to the needs of grape vines. Add to that the island’s poor soils and the hilly landscape, and the resulting terroir is almost perfect for growing vines. Today, Sicily is one of the largest wine-producing regions of Italy and, though it is the furthest southern region, it actually produces more white wine than red or dessert wine. Altitude is the key moderator for heat and the best whites tend to be made in higher altitudes from indigenous varieties, such as the Moscato grape.

The must is not left on the skins, to avoid its acquiring their rust-red color. After soft-pressing the must is left to ferment at a temperature between 64-68°F, in stainless steel vats. The wine is then stored at 62-64°C, in special stainless-steel tanks until bottling.

SOUL ~ Understanding*

Swirl… La Fiera Moscato 2017 Moscato has delicious aromas of peaches and really ripe pears.

Sniff… When “they” wrote about Nectar of the Gods, I believe they had this one in mind. And let’s remember, Bordeaux-style wines, that are dry and tannic aren’t the definition of nectar, for example, like honey, delicacy, and ambrosia.

Sip… I understand delicious flavors, like this flavorful, yet stimulating wine. Think foods with some heat. Heat and sweet are a natural complement. Heat is always tempered with something sweet. (Mexican food and beer, for instance. Asian foods are another great example.) This La Fiera Moscato is meant for scrumptious foods. If you haven’t had the experience yet, give it a whirl… swirl… and enjoy.

*As I write each blog, I pull an Angel Card to guide my waxing poetic… Gets me in the right frame of mind…



Russian River Valley,Sonoma County,Sustainablility,Wine

Goldridge RCD – Opportunity Waiting to Happen for You, Wine Grape Growers

The Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District (RCD) is an opportunity of a lifetime, for those on their toes. As defined by the Gold Ridge RCD ~ “The Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District in Sonoma County facilitates stewardship projects to address water quality, climate change, biodiversity, ecosystem health, and water quantity on private and public lands by providing technical assistance, outreach, education and project implementation. Gold Ridge RCD provides non-regulatory, confidential, free assistance to our community.”


  • Goldridge RCD is based in Western Sonoma County, and has a team of experts to help – in their own words, above.
  • WEBSITE: In 1941, the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District (Gold Ridge RCD) was established as one of the original Resource Conservation Districts, the first in Sonoma County and the 7th in California. The 134,000 acre district is located in West Sonoma County and is bordered by Marin County to the south, the Russian River to the north, the Pacific coastline to the west, and the Laguna de Santa Rosa to the east. The diverse resources of the region include rangeland, woodland, wildlife habitat, vineyards, dairies, orchards, cropland, streams, coastal areas, as well as rural and urban areas.

I attended a presentation, as part of a meeting the Russian River Valley Winegrowers Association held. I really wanted to know more about the Gold Ridge Resource Conservationists. I came away really impressed.

They’re willing to help with the following groups of people, for instance:

  • Residents
  • Farmers
  • Permits
  • Public Education
  • Technical Support
  • Financial Support

The operative words HERE, for now, are “help” and “farmers.” Having worked with viticulturists since 1993, I’m very clear on this farmers concept. They’ve taught me viticulture in wine grapes, I’ve taught them PR and marketing of wine in reciprocity. When I heard the presentation by John Green, he made it abundantly clear to the agriculturists who were present:

Sonoma County’s working lands produce not only foods, fiber, and fuels, but also can create widespread benefits to our environment and our economy. With a wide swath of local partnership and initiatives focused on sustainability, the RCD works to support Sonoma County’s agricultural industry as one of the most progressive in the world.

Their purpose is to support Sonoma County agricultural landowners, with the many natural resource concerns vineyardists have… and their services are free…

Did you “get” that? I certainly did, when attending the Russian River Valley Winegrowers Association meeting, which included guest speaker John Green.

John’s the lead scientist and project manager with Gold Ridge RCD. The company is located at 2776 Sullivan Rd, Sebastopol, CA 95472. John Green’s phone number (707) 823-5244, and he can also be contacted via Email: john@goldridgercd.org. Their Website is www.GoldRidgeRCD.org.

Check out their website for more details. Here is one example.

LandSmart® Planning:

LandSmart® is a regional collaborative program that helps land managers meet their natural resource management goals while supporting productive lands and thriving streams. LandSmart® Plans are prepared with you and are geared to meet your needs. LandSmart Plans describe the natural and agricultural resources of your property, document the practices that you use to protect natural resources, identify opportunities to maintain or improve the quality of natural resources on your property, and prioritize management practices according to your needs, goals, and timelines.

There’s so much more to know and offered by this non-profit.

  • Water Conservation
  • Erosion Control
  • Nutrient Management
  • Carbon Farm Planning
  • Attracting Pollinators

Looking for your own verdant Eco system, especially as Sonoma County has a deadline of 2019 as the year when wine grape growing and producing of wine is scheduled to be 100 percent sustainable? If you’re a farmer in Russian River Valley, you know that the rigors of sustainability is quite complex, and a partnership toward that goal, especially for small farmers, is a Godsend . Check out this video for more.


Argentina,Bubbly,Mendoza,Rosé,Sparkling,Sparkling wine,Wine

Argentina! Domaine Bousquet Brut Rosé ~ Wine of the Week


  1. HEART OF THE DEAL ~ THE WINERY: info is coming from the company’s own statements
    1. I can’t make up their history
    2. Nor am I to try

Fun and festive bubbles, is how this Domaine Bousquet Brut Rosé was described… Is it any wonder that my Angel Card* for this one is “Humor?” When it arrived, early in the year, I was so ready for this sparkling wine that I immediately popped the cork, forgetting all else, delighted and mindlessly, just mid-day, danced. (I’ve been dancing all of  my life, and I really know it releases happy endorphins. That, in itself, is pretty humorous (or ridiculous, for some. Combine humor and bubbles and you can just clear the dance floor, buddy. I own it…)

And, I took notes, below…

Domaine Bousquet Brut Rosé


Transformation + Sustainability: The Bousquet family hails from the city of Carcassonne, in the South of France and have four generations of history in the winemaking tradition. Our passion is to produce wines of superior quality and this is what lead us to Argentina to begin a new chapter in the tradition of our wine making.

In 1990, the Bousquet family arrived in Mendoza to investigate the vineyards and wineries. We discovered that the region had unique characteristics including the soil, altitude and terroir. Because of these characteristics and qualities, we knew we had found the ideal location for a winery.

In 1997, a parcel of land was purchased and we relocated from France to the foothills of the Andes. The 110 hectares parcel is located in the Gualtallary Valley in Tupungato, Mendoza, at an altitude of 1200 meters (4,000 feet), making it one of the higher altitude vineyards in Mendoza and the world. With cool nights and a near constant breeze, the vineyard is located in a region with the idyllic conditions to produce ripe grapes and extraordinary wines.


High-Altitude Terroir, organic fruit, French-Argentine Profile…

We are dedicated to farming organically while improving our land’s biodiversity. We believe that the healthier the vineyard, the better the fruit and of course the wine. In other words, by nourishing the land and treating it with respect, we know that the land will give us back its finest fruits.

Organically grown vine roots penetrate deep into the soil where they absorb the trace minerals that help to give our wines their authentic regional taste. For this reason, organically grown grapes can express the purity, intensity and varietal character of the local terroir.

[Photo by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash]


Little tiny, pick pearls… Delicate bubbles with strawberry-like flavors. It combined the freshness that this Domaine Bousquet Brut Rosé Pinot Noir brought. Its texture was silky and had a long, refreshing finish.

Pour and admire... Golden bubbles escaped the bottle and jumped into a sparkling flute.

Sniff... Yeasty… who spends a lot of time sniffing sparkling wine, really? We all know why we came to the bubble.

Sip... Ah… Just what was missing from my day, but didn’t even realize it, until I took that first sip and enjoyed the lengthening… moment. Delightful and delirious.

*As I write each blog, I pull an Angel Card to guide my waxing poetic… Gets me in the groove, so to speak.


Cabernet Sauvignon,Event,Food & Wine,Napa,Stags Leap District,Wine,Winery,Wines,Wne and Food

Stags Leap District ‘Vineyard to Vintner’ Annual Event Wrap-Up

For the past few years, I’ve really looked forward to attending the Stags Leap District ‘Vineyard to Vintner’ annual event . It’s really well planned, executed, and always rewarding for everyone in the process… a day really well spent in Napa Valley. This year of 2018 was no exception.


PRESS RELEASE: Each year, member wineries of the Stags Leap District Winegrowers open their doors for this one weekend, giving visitors exclusive access to the wines, vineyards and people behind this iconic wine region. Visitors enjoy unparalleled personal, backstage access to private homes and historic wineries alike. The weekend includes exclusive dinners, private tours, barrel tastings, food pairings, music, and experiences–all set amongst the glorious vineyards and towering Palisades of the Stags Leap District. Additionally, to further support relief efforts from the recent fires last year, five percent of the proceeds from this year’s Saturday Open House tickets will be donated to the Napa Valley Community Foundation.


I chose to attend the Vintner-Hosted Lunch and Appellation Collection Tasting. Hosted at Regusci Winery  along with District vintners. The Vineyard to Vintner weekend concludes Sunday with a vintner-hosted farm-to-table buffet lunch. Set among the sprawling ranch at Regusci Winery V2V guests also got a first “sneak peek” of the 2015 Stags Leap District Appellation Collection released in the fall. Wineries in attendance, pouring their Stags Leap District wines. (Subtitles are visits that I’ve been to in the past. Most of them are a result of this event. Those not yet visited I’m looking forward to as future visits.)

Baldacci Family Vineyards

Chimney Rock Winery

Cliff Lede Vineyards

Clos Du Val

Ilsley Vineyards 

Lindstrom Wines

  • Attended
  • Delicious salad table

Malk Family

  • Attended
  • Water station and white wine table

Odette Estate

  • Attended
  • Regusi’s gardens

Pine Ridge Vineyards

Quixote Winery

Regusci Winery 

  • Vintner-Hosted Lunch and Appellation Collection Tasting – This year
  • Sculpture at Regusci

Shafer Vineyards

Silverado Vineyards 

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars

Stags’ Leap Winery

Steltzner Vineyards

Taylor Family Vineyards 

This Stags Leap District ‘Vineyard to Vintner’ walk around tasting is undoubtedly one of the most delicious wine with food events I’ve attended in Napa.

Since a picture is still worth a thousand words, I’m sharing more images.

About Stags Leap District Winegrowers

The Stags Leap District Winegrowers is a non-profit association of vintners and growers united by the mission of enhancing the reputation of the appellation and its wines, and sharing its quality with the wine-loving world.

The SLDWA is comprised of 17 wineries and 10 grower members. Wineries include the following: Baldacci Family Vineyards, Chimney Rock Winery, Cliff Lede Vineyards, Clos Du Val, Ilsley Vineyards, Lindstrom Wines, Malk Family Vineyards, Odette Estate Winery, Pine Ridge Vineyards, Quixote Winery, Regusci Winery, Shafer Vineyards, Silverado Vineyards, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Stags’ Leap Winery, Steltzner Vineyards, and Taylor Family Vineyards. To learn more about the Stags Leap District, please visit stagsleapdistrict.com or find the Association on Facebook.com/StagsLeapDistrict, Instagram.com/StagsLeapAVA Twitter @StagsLeapAVA. #SLDV2V


PR 101,Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Business,Wine Writer

Business is Not a One-Way Street ~ PR 101

[Photo by Mahdis Mousavi on Unsplash]

Here’s how to think about the bigger picture:

So, you get someone onto the task of giving you a list of wine bloggers. The time is taken to build the list. Someone in your company writes glorious stories about how fabulous you are. It gets formatted into an email blast, and you send it to all bloggers.

Here’s the fail of this campaign. See if you can catch the PR blunders, before I reveal them to you.

Subject: SAVE 20 Percent on our…through June!

My response to this email:

My wine blog is my personal journal as a wine blogger. Every story holds some connection to something I have experienced, enjoyed, and then endorse.

As yet, I haven’t experienced [your product].

Their response to me:

I manage inviting micro influencers to … on us! In order to present to marketing I need to have some numbers and data to outline what kind of reach we will get.

Can you fwd some screen shots of your Google Analytics traffic? General referrals, time on site etc?

Thinking to myself about that word “micro,” and smiling to myself… I respond…

My footer has my social handles.

I’m very hard to measure, because of aggregations. I’ve been in the wine business since 1993 as a wine publicist.

I was the first female wine blogger in the world, beginning in 2005, when Web 2.0 began. I’m aggregated on:

  • deepwine.com
  • muckrack.com
  • Wine Advisor
  • Wine Business
  • Wine Industry Insights
  • Wine Industry Network
  • www.networkedblogs.com

I continued with credentials, then sent it with a smile, because… why would someone be querying me, if my credentials hadn’t yet been researched? It boggles bloggers’ minds, people.

The response of all responses arrived.

Thank you for reaching out Jo. At this time, our marketing department has chosen to pass on this opportunity.

Just in case you missed it…

They came to me asking for help to spread their good news. I responded by saying that my wine blog is my journal about my experiences in wine country, and I hadn’t experienced their product yet.

How it all happens

I write a typical blog, like this one would have been, for at least five hours. Multiply five hours by the average amount of money I receive for five hours of writing, as a publicist of wine for the last 26 years…

Tom Wark ~ Profiling the Wine Blog Award, in 2012:

Jo Diaz is one of the wine industry’s most respected publicists. She began her career in the wine industry in 1992 working with some of the industry’s largest and most progressive wineries. She opened Diaz Communications in 2001 and has since become a go-to publicist for numerous wineries, associations and wine industry services. Jo is also the founder of the Association of African American Vintners and PS I Love You (Petite Sirah advocacy). Finally, she pens one of the most important business-related wine blogs.

So, the catch is they came to me. Why? So I could spend five hours of my life writing about them, just because?

Then, I’m told,

“our marketing department has chosen to pass on this opportunity.”

They are passing on engagement, after they queried me? Do they not understand how this typically works?

Let me set this straight

If you send out emails to people, it’s because you’re asking for relational help. Relationships are give and take. A wine blog is NOT a public service announcement platform or free advertising. It’s business to business. When a wine blogger writes about his our her passions, it’s because something nice happened to that person, and then the story evolves.

What I did gain from this is an experience that I can write, because PR 101 is so important.

Build a list of your top dozen people, then work it and be ready to develop that relationship. Bury your old list of every blogger alive, because it wasn’t researched. Research is on you… those of you soliciting media… not on the person you write to and say:

I manage inviting micro influencers to … on us! In order to present to marketing I need to have some numbers and data to outline what kind of reach we will get.

Can you fwd some screen shots of your Google Analytics traffic? General referrals, time on site etc?

I didn’t ask for your email. I have also written this response before to this company. Had I not just seen a colleague of mine endorsing this group, it would have been another just “delete.” I decided to just end it, by sending the same message for the second time, to see what would happen.

Life is not a one-way street. Bloggers are NOT free advertising placements from micro bloggers. We’re writing about our passions.

Make a connection next time. Don’t go to someone, put them through interrogation, then tell them they don’t measure up.

While it may seem to boggle my mind, It doesn’t. Everyday someone is just starting out, and so the learning curve begins. I turn lemonade into a PR 101 learning curves. Education is the name of the game, when all else fails.

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