Seeing a value come to fruition ~ Suisun Valley

One of my greatest gifts in the wine business was to have the Suisun Valley Vintners and Grape Growers Association come to my doorstep, in September of 2003. We were told that the group had some government funds for the next seven years, and they wanted help to get Suisun onto the wine maps.

Finding any written history of the area took a great deal of time, because very little of it existed. Also, I even had to ask, “Where are you?” in all innocence. When I looked at a map, though, I had one of the “Aha!” moments. What an easy story to tell. I you look at your left hand, imagine that it’s Napa Valley. Now imagine that the very lower right hand corner is Suisun Valley, with all else being Napa. That one little chunk is separated by a small mountain range that sliced off the connection of anyone in Napa Valley laying claim to that piece. Years passed, the wine industry in Napa was well marketed, and tiny Suisun Valley was left to its won bucolic devices… All the while, the grape growing farmers kept their noses to the grindstone.

What did it for me was being taken to a vineyard that sat on the county lines. The same contiguous vineyard had this circumstance:

  • On the Napa side, the grapes sold for $3,000 a ton.
  • On the Suisun side, the grapes sold for $300 a ton.

Champion of the underdog that I am, I knew that I could improve this situation by simply pointing out the geography and the injustice suffered by this grape grower. Imagine having to argue price every single year that the contract for grapes come up? Well, I couldn’t, so I got to work.

As I went along and realized the grapes grown in this area, and who was buying those grapes, I realized that Suisun Valley was offering its “neighbors” (yeah, that was who was buying their grapes), a spice rack. Being in Suisun meant that they didn’t have to be growing Cabernet to prove their pedigree. They were growing some pretty eclectic varieties, and it was these varieties that winemakers were using to spice up their wines… The Aha moment was the “spice rack” element. That moment came in 2006…

Wine Blog (for full article):

Growers in Suisun Valley are breaking away from historical sustainable demands, due to diminished pricing at this new commodity level. That’s creating non sustainable operations, and thus reconfiguring small on quality, in order to customized their ultra premium ‘spice rack’ demand.

As Suisun Valley growers wonder if this entrepreneurial spirit and far-to-the-left strategy will work, they may be losing precious moments in their ability for future success. A few early adopters, like the Frisbie family of Ledgewood Creek Winery, Roger King, Ron Lanza of Wooden Valley Winery, and Stephen Tenbrink are proving to be fearless leaders. Some growers have already begun to pull up familiar vines, and are planting in this new approach. Others have pulled out vines and have left town.

And there is is… “spice rack…”

Fast forward to April 28, 2015. I received the following Email from our friend Roger King – who was in the beginning and still is to this date – the president with the Suisun Valley Vintners and Grape Growers:

Hi Jo

Years ago you grabbed the “Spice Box for the North Coast” or something to that effect.  It was good strategy and good communication, and it has proven very correct.

In working on a new Associate Membership Appreciation  BBQ (for our such members who only get the annual meeting and dinner as access, invite attached), started to talking with Chad Clark the Allied Grape Growers north coast director.  We realized 42% (250tn of 600tn) of all the North Coast Alternative Variety (Odd Ball) grapes they contract are in Suisun Valley.  A great point of differentiation and proven diversification for the AVA, now we have folks who can do wonderful things with good fruit.  Hopefully more will and then more will plant even more diverse things.  Will be doing a tasting of what he collects from accounts plus what I know, just for fun and experience of the members.

Good call my old friend, it is gratifying to see a project of future be realized when you get there.


I call it like I see it. It’s wonderful to have soomeone acknowledge that I nailed it. Thanks, Roger King of Suisun Valley Vintners and Grape Growers Associaiton!


Education,Napa,Organization,Sonoma County,Wine

Women for WineSense needs you as a lecturer

A new Lecture Series has been introduced by Women for WineSense. This is a new addition to the Napa | Sonoma WWS suite of member benefits.

  • Are you an expert in the wine industry?
  • Do you have unique knowledge?
  • Would you like to teach others something they need to know?

If so, please do the following by reaching out to Women for WineSense at this E-Mail address: Communications@WWSNapaSonoma.com

  • Share your passion
  • Engage your community
  • Inspire others to succeed

Women for WineSense Members

If you’re not a member yet, please consider the group, if you see yourself in any of the profiles below:

  • You have a passion for wine and WWS has great fun-filled wine education programs
  • You connect with others who share your passion for wine and the wine industry
  • You receive member discounts on all Women for WineSense events
  • You receive member discounts from wineries and local merchants
  • You become part of our roots in the wine industry, which run very deep

This is an especially important group for those who have just entered the wine business. It was perhaps the first group that I joined, when I started my wine career in 1993. It was welcoming and some of the initial relationships still exist today for me.

New to wine? What are you waiting for?

A seasoned pro? You have so much to offer, if you can make time for this lecture series.

From Press Release

Chapter President, Christine L. Mueller, explained, “For years we’ve heard presenters speak at our events and thought, ‘If only we could hear about that one topic for another hour or two!’” She continued, “At last we’re able to bring this dream to fruition with this new series of events, allowing our members and guests to showcase their expertise in a highly specific area of the wine world. It could be a career development seminar on leadership, or a tasting and olfactory class, learning to identify specific aromas.” She outlined that the Lecture Series’ topics could range the history and breadth of knowledge among its members and the wine community at large. “We already have one ‘master class’ on Bordeaux scheduled for late summer, given by an expert educator from the region. But most importantly, we’d like to share our members’ and guests’ expertise with the local wine community. I am always amazed at the knowledge and expertise among our members, and to be able to tap into that—and share it with the community—is a part of our mission.”

Professional Development Director, Susan Kornblatt Idell, explained the chapter’s strategy: “The Lecture Series allows members to delve deeply into a single wine-oriented topic. In the past, I’ve heard members say they wished we had the time to go into ‘XYZ’ topic much further, whether or not it’s been at a big event or at one of our 40-plus roundtable meetings throughout the year.” She continued, “Our move in this direction began two years ago when we added our Tasting Series, with each event focused upon a single topic. Our most recent event in that series, ‘Wines of the Loire Valley,’ overflowed with attendees to the point we turned away a few last minute guests. Now we can take it further and showcase member and industry expertise. If you have unique knowledge, from tasting to finance or career development (and much more), you should apply.”

Ms. Mueller mapped out the overall strategy: “Our objective is to make membership in the chapter much more valuable to our members by offering greater participation opportunities, which began with our highly successful Volunteer Corps earlier this year. These activities will strengthen relationships and contribute to achieving the chapter’s goals of providing career development tools and wine education.”




Looking for a little romance ~ Try Rosé Rendezvous at Simi Winery

My friend Bob Ecker has found his groove, and it has to do with Rosé. Bob is a wine writer, an aerial photographer, a wine judge, and now a wine event organizer.

If you’re a lover of Rosé, and you’re going to be in the Sonoma County area, this event of delicate rosé wines is for you…

Rosé Rendezvous

at Simi Winery

On Saturday, May 30th, from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., in Healdsburg, CA, you should join fellow rosé lovers for their sumptuous Rosé Rendezvous. The group will be celebrating the Gold Medal winning wines from the Rosé Wine Competition.

Taking place on May 30, from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 PM, this will be an afternoon of fun, food, and delicious Gold Medal winning Rosé wines.  Guests can enjoy bottomless Gold Medal winning Rose wines, meet some winemakers and celebrate all things Rosé on the glorious Simi Winery patio.  Simi’s Executive Chef  Kolin Vazzoler will be cooking up tasty noshes, while music will be provided by the eclectic band Full Chizel.

It’s $35.00 per person, which includes all sips and bites, plus a custom souvenir Rosé glass to take home.

To register, the link is roserendezvous.bpt.me

Simi is located at 16275 Healdsburg Avenue, a few miles north of downtown Healdsburg.


VIT 101,Viticulture,Wine

VIT 101 ~ 7 Cover Crops

WARNING: If you’re in the wine business, this is only VIT 101. This blog story has been created for people just learning about vineyards. Please judge accordingly.

VIT 101: Cover Crops in a Vineyard

Cover crops benefit a vineyard in a few ways. They begin by repelling harmful pests. By having a cover crop of wild flowers, for instance, beneficial insects follow. Along with blooming flowers, honey bees to ladybugs, butterflies, lacewings, ground beetles and other insects all feed on the pests found in these vineyards.

By planting flowers, it’s making that vineyard more sustainable, while also having the ability to eliminate the many poisons that non-sustainable vineyards use to kill those pests that exist locally. Rather than simply repelling these pests and keeping the vineyard more in balance with nature, these harmful chemicals don’t serve the planet’s health in beneficial ways.

Once these plants are tilled back into the soil, they return important nitrogen to Mother Earth, decomposition happens, and that nitrogen is delivered to the surrounding grape vines.

Besides wild flowers, these plants may also include legumes and bell beans, rye grasses, oats, and/or clover, which are all rich in nitrogen. All of these plants create the all-important symbiotic relationship for nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

This picture was taken at the Floodgate Vineyard in Russian River Valley.

Cheers to the Vignerons Who Weigh In

Marty Johnson of Ruby-Magdalena-Vineyards (Co-Owner and Co-Founder), and winemaker/cellar master at Eaton Hill Winery.

Just cut my cover crop down low and left it on the surface (as opposed to tilling it in, which I normally do). We are in a drought situation here as well [situated just North of Zillah WA], and the cover crop clippings should act as a mulch to help prevent evaporation of precious moisture.

Dan Kleck of Silver Stone Wine Gallery

Note this is “every other row” cover cropped. Many vineyards will alternate these each year, to spread the effects.

Jo Diaz question of Dan Kleck:

Another great point, Dan. I always wondered why it was every other row. So, too much nitrogen would give the vines more vigor, and you’d have to be cutting them back more?

Dan Kleck answer:

Too much cover crop (every row) on these hillside vineyards would compete too much with the vines’ water needs and growth, as hillside soils are thin. Hence, every other row is usually a good compromise, and these are often alternated every few years, or so, to equalize the effects.

Dennis R. Grimes of Eagles Nest Winery:

We use Olde English Southdown Baby Doll Sheep for vineyard and estate weeding and just avoid the whole issue of herbicides/chemicals.

We also use organics like stylet oil (AKA mineral oil) and aqueous sulfur for White Powdery Mildew – the bane of roses and wine grapes. These break down quickly in the environment which is the whole point, and require reapplication which makes organic method ops more costly and labor intensive but overall it’s better for the environment, the vineyards, and the wine. We don’t use pesticides either. We avoid protein/mineral fining agents and use (gravity) racking only which is positive from the vegan and no-arsenic/ pesticide residue (think France) standpoint. Wife Julie got some Muscovy ducks to help with insect control. Two new lambs arrived last weekend. You know (human) mom’s use mineral oil on baby’s bottoms to prevent diaper rash.



Wine,Wine Business

Tea from wine grape skins: The Republic of Tea and Whole Vine Products

There has been a bridge crossed, from tea to wine tea…

Two very innovative companies have joined forces: The Republic of Tea has a finished product, with Whole Vine Products supplying the necessary grape products to put into these unusually unique teas.

A word about WholeVine Products in the mix: Sonoma Teas utilizes fine wine grape skins sourced from WholeVine, which offers products made with all-natural ingredients from fine wine vineyards.  Founded by Barbara Banke of Kendall Jackson Family Estates and business partner Peggy Furth, WholeVine shares The Republic of Tea’s commitment to sustainability and is dedicated to helping the fine wine industry reduce its environmental footprint by generating new uses for vineyard byproducts.

 I need to segue, just for a bit:

There are very few times in life that the universe hands you the ticket to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. At least, that’s what it feels like. I was asked if I would work with Ron Rubin of The Rubin Family of Wines, who also owns The Republic of Tea. This was two years ago, and that job that I said “yes” to has become one remarkable moment after another. Every single person who works with and for Ron is someone extraordinary. With this client – there’s something very magical going on. Ron’s motto of “a beautiful experience” is how he sees life, and delivers it to those around him. He’s very charismatic and also very fair. And now we have a new marvel. I thought I’d share, because it’s life enriching.

When Ron told Jose and I that he was going to be putting out a tea with grape skins, we just said, “Okay.” I wasn’t able to conceptualize it, but if anyone could make it happen, I knew that it would be Ron Rubin. It also needs to be mentioned that Ron has just stepped aside with The Republic of Tea, to be sitting on the board of directors. Ron’s son Todd has been a very powerful leader at TRoT (as they call it). Todd Rubin has been given the reins…. Just at this point, as the Sonoma Iced Teas are launched.

Sonoma Teas let you experience the world-class wine region of Sonoma County, California from the comforts of home! Like a fine wine, they are full of fruity flavors and bursting with body. Blends include fine wine grape skins, fruit and herbs. Alcohol and caffeine free, these exclusive infusions offer an enchanting sipping experience. Each pouch steeps a quart of premium tea.

Tea from wine grape skins


SONOMA Chardonnay ICED TEA:  Wine grape skins, apple bits, organic lemongrass, natural white wine flavor, organic orange peel, natural pineapple and peach flavors, sweet blackberry leaves, and natural peach juice.

STRAW YELLOW: Color is so inviting.

PALATE: When I tasted this first “Sonoma Chardonnay Iced Tea,” I actually cheated. I didn’t wait for it to get cold enough to put in my fridge to chill, because the hot tea smelled so inviting. I have a new afternoon beverage… It was a perfect pick-up my afternoon flavor…

FINISH: Lemon sunshine… and a hint of nutmeg. It’s a complete palate cleanser. I can see having these teas on a picnic… and I’m wishing that they had been created sooner. My grandmother’s tea was the good old fashioned tea bags offered in the 50s and 60s. This tea rival the best I’ve had throughout life. There’s just enough tea to it… and lots of jazz running through it… making it a very fun afternoon.

SONOMA Rose ICED TEA: Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir Fine Wine grape skins, apple bits, natural strawberry flavor, natural white wine flavor, organic hibiscus, sweet blackberry leaves, organic orange peel and natural strawberry juice.

PINK: old fashioned pick roses in color.

PALATE: rose hips, blueberries, tangerine. This one was my favorite, with definite strawberry flavors…

FINISH: Lingering, naturally sweet flavors, with the hibiscus dominating.

SONOMA Cabernet ICED TEA: Cabernet Sauvignon fine wine grape skins, organic hibiscus, sweet blackberry leaves, natural Cabernet flavor, apple bits, black currant juice, organic orange peel, and organic  elderberries.

After the Rose, I segue to the Sonoma Cabernet Iced Tea. This is the serious one… Brooding and austere of the three.

PINOT NOIR: I let this one steep a bit more, so the color did remind me of a lighter Pinot Noir.

NOSE: Black currant and moroccan spices. So nice, lots of spice… So loving it.

PALATE: Rich, black currant was the dominant flavor, deliciously so.

FINISH: Long and lingering with hints of orange remaining.

This teas far exceeded my expectations, and are now going to be a staple in our household. What fun innovation and use of grape skins, after they’ve had the juice squeezed from them during the winemaking process.

If you love tea, these teas are going to really delight your palate.



Variety versus varietal – Oh, this is so perfect

Variety versus varietal…I think I finally understand it all. This might even be the last time I bring this one up, ever again. The meme below, in this blog post, will just say it all for me, from now on.

The Big Picture

I’m sick to death of wine writers who are constantly defending the use of  “varietal” for “variety.” They’re given ink or digital space, which used to be an authority position. But, now they’re style-based over substance.

Variety versus varietal

University of California at Davis, if you care about precious credential:

  • Variety is a noun.
  • Varietal is an adjective.
  • Example, I love the varietal characteristic of this variety.

It’s that simple.

Instead, these anti write from wrong (no, I didn’t misspell that one) people love to defend the eroding of the English language. Their defense? The English language is constantly evolving and I (and other dinosaurs like me) should get with the program..

Yeah, okay… this list below, I might as well start using all of these errors, too, based on your evolution comments about those of us who choose pedantry over style with this one’s grammar differences.

Supposably, for all intensive purposes and irregardless of past correct English language, I could care less while having my expresso and reading right from wrong any more; pacifically when it comes to the difference between variety and varietal. If continual usage of all constant mistakes means that they’ll eventually become acceptable, you just can’t judge my writing anymore. It’s my new “style,” and style over substance is what you’ve told me is the new norm..  Well, it will, therefore, supposably come around. Then all of these errors below and in this paragraph will be errors no more, so no more correcting. Sooner than later (not on the list, correct would be “sooner rather than later”), all mistakes will no longer exist, and noone (yeah, I always liked it as one word, and love being a trend setter, too) will give a poop.



How a Soil Monolith Is Constructed

How a soil monolith is constructed by Paul Anamosa and his crew from Vineyard Soil Technologies is a very labor intensive job. So much so that Paul isn’t really looking to mass produce these works of art. He prefers the pace that he currently has, which is about one a month. Once the following pictorial steps are done (below), Paul then has many stages of glue applications to encase these layers of soil remain in a perfect condition, which makes them display worthy.

Honestly, his collection would be a great art exhibit, in my humble opinion. To see how our layers of soil go deep into the earth and what they contain on the way down is fascinating. The American Museum of Natural History in New York City would be a great place for an exhibit on geology, since the earth supports all things above and below ground, to see what we’re standing on – really standing on, not just a drawing rendering – is part of who we all are and what we depend upon for support, in so many ways.

Our client The Rubin Family of Wines has had two soil monoliths completed from his Green Valley of Russian River Valley vineyard. What you’re seeing here is the first one. On the day of the second dig, once that was completed, Paul and his crew hung this one; the winery’s project.

Paul told me that he’s very excited to have had the opportunity to slice into the earth in this vineyard, because he’s yet to have a Goldridge soil sampling. For a geologist, this is akin to having an unexpected birthday present delivered to his doorstep. Until a tractor digs this deeply, one can only imagine, based on all scientific evidence… But to see it, to actually grasp it… it’s a rare gift seen by only a few.

This is why I believe this would make both a great artistic and a geological exhibit. Anyone with any scientific curiosity about our earth’s layers would welcome the opportunity to see a slice of Mother Earth, based on the progression of differing soil types. Visually, it helps us to better understand how our earth was formed. Also, to see how our grape vines grow in these earth types is a wonder that they can grow at all.

Seeing this Monolith on the wall, and then looking at this second dig site, tells the real story of the enormity of the work involved. This is a huge commitment to slice away a piece of work, which then demonstrates the soil’s composition in minerality.

I once had an old farmer friend Mr. Dumont (in his early 90s, who had been farming all of his life) tell me not to water in Maine garden. He told me that without water, roots naturally go deep into the earth, searching for a water supply. To water my plants, he said, would cause a shallow root system and plants that wouldn’t be strong. I took his advice, which worked in Maine. It’s tougher in California to do that, based on our soil types out here… Not the same as Maine at all. I’ve yet to grow any decent tomatoes out here, when I could put up 36 quarts in Maine in one summer alone.

Paul and I talked about the fact that Goldridge soil is very loose and sandy, which makes any water just filter right down through the earth. It has great drainage, so how much can the roots of these plants gather? Some irrigation is required.

Lori Knapp, Ron Rubin’s operations manager, was there to witness this first Monolith process and she documented it photographically. I asked her for her thoughts:

“The concept of a soils monolith is fabulous because it embodies art, nature and science all in one, as does the process of making wine.   Now we can use our soils monolith to show the unique character of Goldridge soil found in the Green Valley while we share the distinctive flavors and terroir of our Green Valley wines.”

Understanding soils does help, in my opinion to understand flavors. I once had viticulturist Hector Bedolla of Crop Production Services tell me, while on a vineyard tour on Bradford Mountain, “See this red soil? It’s filled with iron oxide. This is what makes zinfandel so spicy.” It was then that I first connected soil’s minerals to a crop’s flavors. It was the beginning of my understanding terroir.

The Process of a Soil Monolith

We visit the winery property, and dig a hole 6 feet deep, by 3 feet wide, and about 8 feet long (a typical evaluation pit). We then smooth one side of the pit and press a frame into the side. We then dig out the soil on the other side of the frame while wrapping the frame and soil in shrink-wrap. We finally get all 5 feet of frame and soil isolated, and then bundle it, and truck it out. It goes back to our work shop where it is hardened with a non-toxic glue and then glued onto a piece of plexiglass. We have used tempered glass on the first few, but feel that with the ever present threat of earthquakes, we did not want to have glass shards flying though tasting rooms if they shattered.

For a winery owner, to see one’s own soil is this side of miraculous, in my humble opinion. You see what you have, and it’s very easily explained to others. Some of us are visual learners, and in many instances I am. With this monolith I get it. For me, being there for the second digging really drove a lot home. Once schist was hit… to the depth of this slicing, that was it… Schist is a metamorphic rock. If you were a tiny hair-like root, do you think you’d make it through the rock, or would you believe that a certain amount of irrigation is necessary for this particular vineyard?


VIT 101,Viticulture,Wine

VIT 101 – 6

WARNING: If you’re in the wine business, this is only viticulture 101.  This blog story has been created for people just learning about vineyards. Please judge accordingly.

VIT 101

Jo Diaz: Volunteer grapevines. This grapevine just popped up about five years ago. Last year was the first year we actually had any grapes on the vine. If vines begin from seed, they take about five years to bear fruit. If they’re grafted from another root stock, it takes three years. It’s now beginning to be out of control with growth, and I’ll have to cut it back soon. Otherwise, if you came to visit, its tendrils might attach themselves to you and you’d become a trellis for the rest of the season. “Grapes on the House” is what we call it.

Gypsy Canyon Winery: Walking through the vineyard, there are always a few vines reaching out to the aware passerby. Nature’s way of reminding one to be in the moment. So, yes I welcome a few new tendrils.

VIT 101

The Perfection of a vineyard… I’ve been wanting to share this one with you, even though it’s a month old. Most vineyard images that you see are mature in the season process, not one just emerging like this one. It’s just not as glorious.

Or… isn’t it?

Look very closely at all the juxtapositions, in one 10 acre plot, as this one found at The Rubin Family of Wines. The viticulturist has planted every single vine, which began 25 years ago. The precision is impeccable. This man loves his garden and each vine as his own child… And every season, it brings forth remarkable fruit. His name is Alvaro Zamora.

FROM: Patricia… Beautiful! I love images of vineyards at all stages of life. Orchards, too. I remember driving through the early ’70s when a lot of nut groves were being planted. Now they’re mature! Lovely to follow the life span gazing out of the car and then stopping to buy and taste the results.

[Photo: provided by Marty Johnson]

Marty Johnson, co-owner/co-founder at Ruby Magdalena Vineyards:

Lovely. The precision is commendable. Makes our ramshackle little vineyard look pretty shoddy. But then again, we did ours by hand as well. Hole by hole and plant by plant. Probably helped bind my wife and I together as tightly as anything could. Here it is in the first spring after planting. (March 2009)

Jo Diaz:I am betting, Marty, that I could have shot the same image of your vineyard. It’s all about how I shot this one. From above, you can get these angles. It’s all about how to angle the shot.

I just looked at your image in larger scale. Good job! This will be a fun one to watch.

Marty Johnson: Baby steps Jo, baby steps. My wife and I are patient and we have each other to lean on. Just trying to keep the hand crafted in hand crafted wines.

VIT 101

Jo Diaz; Just as a follow-up, I thought I’d share this image with you, since the earlier image was of a vineyard just starting out in the season. This is from a small family vineyard called Orentano Wines, from the Ron Buonchristiani family. It’s located in Russian River Valley, and they’re one of our artisan clients. I took this picture the first day I saw their vineyard. They handcraft a few hundred cases of their own Pinot Noir each year. The rest of their Russian River Valley Pinot Noir grapes have contracts from buyers, eager to have their grapes. This location is as romantic as a vineyard ever gets, right?



Happy Mothers Day

If my mother had any proclivity toward alcoholism, I would have driven her there by the time I was five. But, I never saw her have more than one glass of Manischewitz on Easter, year after year. That tells me that she was never going to be an alcoholic. I was a spirited child, born on a lunar eclipse, who didn’t take no for an answer, even from my parents, ever. Her nickname for me was Persistence Personified.

Oh, wait, I do have another alcohol memory of her.  It was when I got married the first time; she got totally wasted on Manhattans. I can’t blame her for that.

To my mother, Dear Mom,

I offer you this tribute. You did, after all was said and done, drill some trite sayings into my head that I still find useful. And, believe it or not, most of them gave me my PR backbone. You were my most influential public relations teacher, and I didn’t even know that until today… Miss you…

~ Happy Mothers Day ~

Famous Last Words that have stuck with me

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
A leopard doesn’t change its spots.
A word to the wise is sufficient.
Actions speak louder than words.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Beauty is only skin deep.
Beggars can’t be choosers.
Birds of a feather flock together.
Can you believe she’s wearing white after Labor Day?
Curiosity killed the cat.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
Don’t come out until you have a smile on your face.
Don’t cross any bridges until you come to them.
Don’t cut off your own nose to spite your own face.
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
Flattery will get you nowhere.
Go to your room:
Great minds think alike.
Haste makes waste.
He’s three sheets to the wind.
If you make your bed, you’ll have to lie in it.
If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
It’s better to have loved & lost, than to have never loved at all. Knock on wood…
Misery loves company.
No news is good news.
Only a fool laughs at her own jokes.
Out of sight; out of mind.
Pardon my French!
Patience is a virtue.
People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
Remember the golden rule.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Sing before you eat; cry before you sleep.
Slow down before somebody gets hurt.
That behavior isn’t becoming of a young lady.
That’s killing two birds with one stone.
There’s more than one way to skin a cat.
Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Waste not, want not.
What you don’t know doesn’t hurt you.
Why add insult to injury?
You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your relatives.
You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.
You can’t judge a book by its cover.
You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip.
You mark my words…
You have a Champagne appetite and a beer pocketbook.
You wait until your father gets home!
Your eyes were bigger than your stomach.



Women for WineSense Offers New Scholarships

When I lived in Maine, I produced a community issues talk program on WBLM radio that aired on Sunday mornings.  I learned a lot about the Portland, Maine area’s community. I interviewed Bart Weyand, from the English as Second Language Program at the University of Southern Maine. The program was about immigrants and refugees that were coming into Portland as a port of entry. Because they didn’t have the language skills, they couldn’t apply for grants, scholarships. or loans. If we could be get these citizens into the program, they could then apply.

What did it for me was finding out that an immigrant surgeon was processing meat at a food processing plant. That kind of skill was being wasted on a job where his skills weren’t being used?  I couldn’t fathom it. Bart also mentioned that the immigrant’s language skills were also not to progress, based on the fact that typical language skills in this setting are marginally intelligent. (I’m sorry if this seems insensitive for who is working in this plant. By and large, this is the mainstream reality.)

I had to do something about it, so I went on a bender with my Portland Maine Rotary Club. My argument wasn’t about immigrants and/or refugees and whether or not Portland should be a port of entry. This was already happening. My argument was about a waste of talent. I had to lobby each member, before I felt that the board was ready for my proposal. I got it passed… Not only for one scholarship, but two of them. It passed just before I moved to CA in 1992. When I left, I asked someone I trusted with my passion to carry it forward. Returning years later, I saw an ad on TV, calling for applications for the scholarship.

Today, there are SIX college scholarships. Done!

I believe in helping our population to progress. I also believe in helping our wine industry in the same way, when possible.

From their press release…

Three new scholarships to the Professional Members

of Women for WineSense

In honor of Women for WineSense’s 25th anniversary, the Napa|Sonoma chapter (WWS) will offer three new scholarships to its Professional Members. Eligible WWS members who are seeking to progress their careers with additional education may apply online or by mail for the scholarship awards totaling $1,750 through May 31, 2015.

Eligible education programs for the awards include, but are not limited to, WSET, Court of Sommeliers, online wine business management certificates, wine finance and accounting, viticulture and oenology courses. Winners will be chosen on merit by a blue-ribbon panel of seasoned WWS Professional Members. The Grand Cru ($750) and Premier Cru ($500) Scholarship winners will be announced at WWS’ “Bubbles, Brix & Buzz IV” event on July 22nd at Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma.

These new scholarships, awarded directly by the WWS chapter, will supplement the four chapter scholarships previously announced totaling $10,000, which will be awarded to students this year in wine business or viticulture and oenology degree programs at Sonoma State University, Santa Rosa Junior College, Napa Valley College and U.C. Davis. “Many of our members supplement their formal education with courses and programs related to the wine industry and specific to their discipline,” explained chapter president, Christine L. Mueller. “These scholarships will help our Professional Members attain their career development goals of progressing in the industry.”

The first of its kind, WWS scholarship fund was started more than a decade ago in 2002 by the Napa|Sonoma chapter of WWS to help students with financial challenges pursue a career in the wine industry. This furthers WWS’s goals to foster passion and education for wine making, business, marketing and enjoyment, and allows students that may not otherwise have access to the higher education institutions in Northern California. To learn more or apply for these new scholarships, visit: www.wwsnapasonoma.com/wws-scholarships.

Throughout the year the chapter hosts events and fundraisers for this cause, including their upcoming “Summertime Rosé” event at Sonoma’s Best on June 11th and “Bubbles, Brix & Buzz IV” on July 22nd at Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma.

Women for WineSense is a not-for-profit organization 501(c)6 formed in 1990 to help promote women working in the wine industry. WWS offers outstanding education programs, member benefits, and networking opportunities to industry professionals and wine enthusiasts. The Napa/Sonoma Chapter currently has more than 325 members of which nearly 80% are professionals in the wine industry. To join or learn more about membership, please contact Ellen Reich Luchtel at Membership@WWSNapaSonoma.com or visit the WWS chapter’s website: WWSNapaSonoma.com.