Scarily great wines for your adult Halloween moments

I love good marketing and that’s primarily what this story is about… Some great marketing that recently came my way, in preparation for this Friday’s Halloween moments and memories.

I’m also one of those people who stays home to take care of the kids that come to my door on Halloween night.  Why? Because someone took care of me way back when. Payback isn’t the wench that it’s made out to be, when it involves children. I adore them.

When asked to taste wines that I’d recommend for that ghoulish day, I thought, “Why not?” Long ago, I began my wine PR and marketing career by going off the wall with my press releases. I gave them a seasonal flare, and I was pretty much alone with that concept. It got my clients a lot of publicity in the process. It was unique at the time, but it was a good concept… taking writers from “I tasted this wine, and here are my notes,” into having more fun with wine… I had fun with wine, why shouldn’t everyone else?

But admittedly, I never capitalized on Halloween, and so those queries now catch my attention. (I can’t mumble to myself, like I can with so many other things I see… “been there, done that.”)… I like the Halloween kitchieness.

I also like that I’ve been there with one particular brand that I find completely amusing. I love a great story, most especially one that delivers a bit of karma in the process, to some deserving soul.

[This mysterious image has been borrowed from the Casillero del Diablo Website. I recommend that you visit the site for some entertaining and fascinating flash.]

Casillero del Diablo

Don Melchor de Concha y Toro, and eminent Chilean Statesman, entrepreneur, and vineyard owner, discovered that his most treasured wines had been pilfered from the “Casillero” (cellar) beneath his ancestral home. To discourage further theft, the enterprising Don spread the rumor that his deepest, darkest cellars were haunted by el Diablo (the devil). Thus was born the Legend of Casillero del Diablo… (from marketing materials, but I added el Diablo, because not everyone everywhere knows Satan’s Spanish name).

I loved the wines. So much so that when I was in Puerto Rico this past March, Jose and I were in a grocery store with a great wine selection. When I spotted a Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc, I needed to go no further. We also purchased their Cab. If you’re not familiar, this winery has become Chile’s best selling one worldwide, through the Concha y Toro Wine Company. They talk about these wines being stored in hell and made in heaven… I love a good story that scares the pants off a thief in the making and taking, don’t you?

The wines tasted:

  • 2012 Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay, Chile
    • This Chardonnay just knocked me out with flavor, in a great way. It’s just classic Chardonnay in a stainless steel way: bright, crisp, and appley… Begging for something like a cheese appetizer, or just a good friend to have where you both enjoy clinking glasses. What a delight.
  • 2013 Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc, Chile
    • This is a classic Sauvignon Blanc that never disappoints me. It’s got a claw factor of 3… this means that it’s perfectly balanced, always refreshing, I don’t care what vintage it is, and delivers the Sauvignon Blanc goods. If you ever want a Sauvignon Blanc is a sea of Sauvignon Blancs on the shelf and you can’t make a decision, but spy this one on the shelf, don’t blink... Buy it… You won’t be disappointed, since it’s also got a stelvin closure.
  • 2013 Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile
    • A consistently great crowd pleaser, this Cabernet Sauvignon is as tasty as ever I’ve enjoyed it. We all know that Cab is king, and I’m not a fan of overly ripe, high alcohol Cabernet’s. I like my red wines softer than those created with big scores in mind. And for it to be in that category, the wines should retail between $40 to $100+. This wine falls into the $11 to $12 category. A great value wine, Casillero del Diablo Cab is a favorite, when I’m enjoying Cabernet.

These wines are very easy to enjoy, almost to the point of being scary… really, really… brahhhhhhhha!

Il Spritz

Il Spritz offered an Orange Spritz for Orange Pumpkin celebrations… As the company states, “Why should kids have all of the fun?”

I have to admit that I was actually game for this one. I’m not big on trendy wine machinations. Too much hard work and thought goes into the process, so removing alcohol for “the ladies,” making wine coolers for “the kids,” that sort of marketing just gets my goat. But, being queried about an Orange spritzer just before Halloween… And, again, being asked to taste something for this holiday… something that I hadn’t yet come up with… okay, I’m in.

The verdict? I loved it and so did Jose. We opened the bottle together, thinking it was possibly going to bomb, but we both went back for seconds. The following day, we had to decide who was going to have the last glass… He’s such a gentleman, he gave it up for me. I’ didn’t argue, I’m no lady.  The woman inside took over.

This Non Vintage, Il Spritz is very low in alcohol (8 percent). You’ll want to serve it cold. The Italians know how to enjoy aperitifs, while celebrating their lifestyle, and this is a great example of orange deliciousness. It’s a semi-sparkling wine with flavors of blood orange; and it will let you enjoy going to the door and not being tipsy with the kids… unnecessarily scaring them… really. The Mionetto company suggests that you serve it over ice with a slice of orange or a green olive. We skipped the ice part and just went for it. It’s an extremely flavorful and highly recommended for… well… any spirited occasion.


Alameda,Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah®,Dark & Delicious™,Petite Sirah,PS I Love You,Wne and Food

Off beat and darned happy to be… Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah

The premier tasting event for Petite Sirah lovers in-the-world continues to celebrate Petite, with its Ninth Annual Tasting, on February 20, 2015.

Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah® again features a varied selection of Petite Sirah styles, and delectable foods that pair well with Petite. As is the tradition, the wines will be shared by both celebrated producers and emerging wineries. Petite Sirah’s developed a true cult following with an enormous appetite for this obscure grape variety. D&D continues to give these followers the only annual opportunity to gather and enjoy three hours of Petite, palate pleasers, and pals.
For 2015, Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah® is located at Rock Wall Wine Company. Set in a classic location on the original Naval Air Station Alameda, Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah® overlooks the San Francisco Skyline. Prior to Rock Wall being located there, it was the famed Area 51 Event Center, which included film, video, and multimedia episodes. This is a really artsy location, with a twist of wine.

Each year there’s an exodus, as former Sergeant Honey Airborne will tell you, “to taste my Petite Sirah.” With the most diehard continuing to bring in their friends, at a slow and steady pace, there’s only one consensus repeated at the end of the evening… “I had so much fun!”

Dark & Delicious hosts fewer than 1,000 people in an enormous 250,000 square foot space. Enveloped in wine barrels, the hallmark of this event has become the “combination of a perfect cult gathering, craving wine fun!” Guests are all well educated about the wine they love; and they want to know who’s behind the brand. Much of the time, it’s the owner or winemaker, with many wine principals pouring their own wines, sharing their wine stories. People come from all parts of the US, to taste their favorite Petite Sirahs, while sampling exotic California fare. Food professionals from all regions close to the Bay Area provide the eclectic cuisine. Friends gather for another Petite party.

Friday February 20, 2015

Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah®

6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Rock Wall Wine Company


Jo's World,Wine,Wine app,Wine Business,Wine Education

Is living on principles a good thing, or am I holding myself back… from NoteStream?

As it turns out, I’m not holding my self back, when it comes to principles, and I may have helped the current writing condition take a teeny tiny step forward.

I have my principles, and I thought that I may just be stubbornly holding myself back… But then, I’m also not looking to conquer the world, the way my great grandfathers did (Charlemagne and the Kings of Scots… Yeah, that’s what happens when you go digging around in your genealogy).

Here’s the story, for the sake of posterity.

Chapter 1

So, I get this query from NoteStream, an emerging app company, which I ignore, as I mull it all over for a couple of weeks. Their purpose: Learning at Hand, Things like Nature, French wine, travel and modern art

Hi, Jo,

NoteStream, an innovative mobile learning app that encourages personal growth and exploration through the presentation of enriching content in snackable form, is now available for download in the Apple® App Store. NoteStream is seeking professional experts in all fields to contribute compelling and informative content to the platform. These expert contributors will have the opportunity to gain new followers and expand audience reach, and are invited to visit us and our authors to find out more.

NoteStream enables users to discover, learn about and share a wide range of topics, from wine and wildlife to travel and music. Each NoteStream includes an author profile to emphasize credibility and transparency. Once NoteStream Apps are downloaded, they are saved and can be read anywhere, including offline. In addition, when a reader is interrupted or the app is closed, their last place in each NoteStream is automatically saved so they don’t lose their spot.

CEO and co-founder of NoteStream: “Content contributors who join the NoteStream author network will gain a powerful tool to grow their audience, as well as actively engage with them via mobile.”

…and on and on and on….

I ignore it. There’s a call, I can’t bother to take it, Jose is courteous, and I just shake my head.

So, I get the next E-Mail.

Hi, Jo,

I wanted to follow up from a phone conversation I had with Mr. Diaz, a couple weeks ago. He said you may be interested in this opportunity, but that you were quite busy and didn’t have time to discuss.

The number of people using mobile apps vs. internet browsers continues to increase and I want to share a free opportunity for you to join NoteStream’s network of authors by contributing already written content. NoteStream wants to help you reach the rapidly growing mobile audience. We are currently building our catalog of content and are seeking experts to contribute their content to the platform.

Okay, here we go… Now, I’m going to tell it like it is:

Hi, Tiffany,

I’m struggling with this, and here’s why.

This also has no reflection on you, just on principles…

Three things going on:

  • To provide free content allows the app to launch with content, without any compensation to those proving the content… ever; and then, we become promoters, because it’s our content.
  • Yes, the content is already on the Internet; but the writing community is suffering, because writing has become “free” for the taking, if someone is willing to give it away. This is killing writers financially; and the good ones will find other jobs, because they can’t afford to live on air.
  • I don’t believe that I would serve your app well, either, because of my “non-traditional wine” content. My blog is a journal of my existence as a wine publicist, so it’s not just about wine. My topics are far reaching… from wine to wine business, to opinions, to stories I find amusing through living them, to my fears of GMO taking over in the wine grape growing process.

I don’t believe I’m a good fit.

Again, this is not about you, it’s about a process.

Is living on principles a good thing, or am I holding myself back? It’s a modern day dilemma…

Chapter 2

After writing my answer to Tiffany, I thought that that would send her packing. It usually does, when I’m just brutally honest.


I got the following response a few days later. First of all, she took the time to internalize it, and then to understand from my perspective.

Hi Jo,

I apologize for the delay in responding. Thank you for your email, we truly appreciate your feedback. Your points are valid and important to hear. In appreciating the time you took to respond and the similar belief of principles, I wanted to take the time to give a detailed response.

For your first point, the idea of the app to be an open source platform for information, all information accredited to the authors so there is full transparency of content. NoteStream does plan to provide some type of compensation plan for contributing authors. Although this program is not set up yet, I believe your feedback may help bring forth this compensation program much sooner.

For your second point, we believe your words are powerful and credible and this is why we reached out to you. The contributors for NoteStream are identified as experts and contributors limited to those only. This is part of the uniqueness of NoteStream compared to being another forum or search engine.

For the third point, there are several “non-traditional wine” content pieces on the app and this is one of the things that drew us to read deeper on your website. Although some of your content might be more personal, some are factual based and are interesting like the discussion of GMO’s in wine grape growing could be.

Again, we truly appreciate your feedback and your detailed communication in sharing your feedback.

Thank you,


Hum… I had to think about this response. She, too, took her time to respond thoughtfully. I don’t mind hanging out with people like this. In fact, these are the only people that are my associations. She answered each of my objections. In sales, an objection is always just a request for more information, regardless of how it’s framed and appears to be an out-and-out “no, TBNT.” (Thanks, but no thanks.) Still, I had to sleep on it. I woke up with the following answer:

Hi, Tiffany,

Let’s cut through the chase, I’m in.

Here’s why… Your principles, well explained.

  • You appreciated my time and candor.
  • There is a plan for future compensation.
    • SIDEBAR for you reading this: Although the amount that will come from my participation isn’t going to make or break me, it might for future generations, and that’s a great thing for my children and grandchildren.
  • You’re focused on uniqueness, and I know that I fit that category. I’m far from the mainstream; that’s just the way this lifetime is for me.
  • I cited GMO as a non-traditional wine subject that might turn off your readers, and you get it as something of worth.

These are all game changers.

Go for it.


Principles, and standing on them, makes us taller as a society, ultimately. I did my job, and Tiffany did hers…


Jo's World,Wine

Asteisms ~ Ingeniously Polite Insults

Asteisms… Yes, it’s a TGIF kinda day…

My own ignorance is totally eclipsed by own dumbfounded curiosity. Four years ago, I heard the word “asteism” defined, after hearing a great insult. I actually began this blog story at that time, so I could use this story one fine day, like today.

I’m sorry to tell you that I do have a sarcastic side, inherited from my witty, yet humorless father… His humor always stung like a piercing yellow jacket, hitting you on your shin bone. His “humor” was also missing any laugh lines, on his face or otherwise. Now, if I had just followed suit, my skin wouldn’t be so wrinkled… but, I’m really okay with all of my laugh lines.

Alas… My mother once said to me, “Only a fool laughs at her own jokes.” (Guilty as charged.)

Asteism, I was raised on it. I guess that’s why the word and concept rung so true for me.  I wanted to know all about it, and never understood why I couldn’t find it anywhere on the Web, a great mystery evolved. Recently, while looking again, I found the error of my ways.

For those four years, in my own finite knowledge world, I was trying to connect the dots between Asti, California and the word “astisms”… Yeah, I didn’t have the spelling down, nor did any search engines try to redirect me… So, for years I would drive through Asti, California and think, Astisms… Instead of Asteisms. Now, Asti, California will never be the same, but I’m new and improved, having just – finally – been redirected.

I need to make up my own ingeniously polite (equivocal language) insult for myself; meanwhile, when you grab your glass of wine today, here are a few chuckles to lighten the last day of your week…

I’ve been collecting these for the day that I got to the bottom of my own well’s ignorance…

My dog has a nice big head.

Yes, he does, and that’s where his brain would go.

Grocho Marx,

“I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.”

In Little Miss Sunshine,

“I’m glad you’re talking again. You’re not nearly as stupid as you look.”

Julippe? Is that your real name? I was just thinking it was like a nickname or something?

Nope, it’s on my driver’s license and everything. I don’t know what they were thinking at the orphanage at the trailer park.


Petite Sirah,Wine

Off the Beaten Path with Joe Roberts, Red Wine Varieties

I received an E-Mail from FIX that’s worth sharing, about red wine varieties that are off the beaten path, which includes Petite Sirah.

Hey, Jo, My name is Kat and I work for Fix.com. We recently published an article by Joe Roberts, creator of wine website 1WineDude about branching out, and discovering different varieties of red wine. The article explains that while the go-to Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlots are always delectable, sometimes we need to try something new.

Joe mentions the Petite Sirah grape in particular. He notes that it is a great variety to try if you usually go for a big, brash and bold red wine. I have been researching people that I believe would benefit from hosting this information and noticed that you have mentioned Petite Sirah wines in the past. I wanted to introduce myself and discuss the possibility of you using some (or all) of the content in our red wine guide on your site or resource section. We’d welcome the exposure to your readers, and I’m sure they would welcome the information, especially if they feel they are facing a wine rut.

I’ve mentioned Petite Sirah in the past… Ah, yeah… From 2002 to the present, I’ve been eating, drinking, and sleeping Petite Sirah. Someone who is outside of the wine business would never know that. Also, many people within the wine business have no clue, either; but I gave her some background and some endorsements from people in the know…

As I looked at this info graphic, I decided that I did like it a lot, for the sake of Petite Sirah and would share it with others, as suggested by Kat, because Petite Sirah is a growing phenomenon. I just read this in the Sacramento Bee, the other day, and thought… okay…

October 03, 2014
“Feast Q&A: Darrell Corti talks farm-to-fork and ‘Legends of Wine’ event”
Sacramento Bee
Chris Macias
How about a red grape varietal that signifies the Sacramento area? Petite sirah. How could this have happened? Petite sirah sells incredibly better than syrah and it wasn’t supposed to be like that. Petite sirah almost became extinct in California. It can be dense, inky and thick and unappealing. Curiously, in areas where people have (success) with it, like Clarksburg, the wine is not like that. There’s a certain lightness to the wine. I think the producers started looking at this wine, which was used primarily for blending, and it was terrific for giving color, and realized it needs a lighter hand in making it.

For those of you who don’t know Darrell Corti of Corti Brothers, he’s “Bacchus in a Blue Overcoat” and you’ll find him in Sacramento. When Darrell Corti speaks, everyone in the Sacramento area listens.

I would enjoy any of the following wines, for those of you who are adventurously daring individuals. I also like that Joe has suggested spicy foods to try with Petite. Chef and educator Joyce Goldstein feels the same way, and made a great presentation at one of the Petite Sirah Symposiums at Concannon Vineyard a couple of years ago. Great minds think alike.

Check it out. This is a fun image on Fix.com.

Source: Fix.com



Scandal continues to amuse in its wine Chateaux du Bolet ways

Chateaux du Bolet…

I have a wine friend who’s equally fascinated with the television show called Scandal. Her website is called  Grapefriend, and Jose just found her for me, in a very amusing way, as I was contemplating another blog about this show.

We were watching and enjoying Scandal. As the new Season 4 opens, the main character Olivia Pope is embroiled in a love affair on a far away island, 100 miles off the coast of Zanzibar and having also assumed a new name. Each segment of this program, wine is also involved. Olivia and her lover have just received a delivery of goods, which includes some Châteaux Du Bolet or Châteaux Dubolet. Who knows which way it’s spelled?” The bottom line is that the show has done a great job making up a french Châteaux and its wine.

The gist of the wine is that it’s a rare 1994, only 100 bottles exist as being bottled, and Olivia is now the proud owner of five of those bottles. It could be a Burgundy or a Rhône, because of the bottle shape.  Olivia has spent three former seasons always drinking from a Bordeaux bottle with her wine being in a Burgundy glass.

No wine consultant is on the set is the most logical conclusion… Someone making set decisions and loving the large globe, but never having experienced wine glasses 101.

Please don’t judge this as wine snobbery, it’s not. It’s just understanding the difference between one object and the next… Like a dinner and a salad fork. Most of us know that the small one is the salad fork, the large one is for entrees. It’s like that.

So, to have watched three seasons of someone enjoying wine with a miss matched continuum, and to see us getting closer to the real deal, is helping to solve that real (wine) Scandal.

My first story about this faux pas: The real wine scandal in the hit TV show “Scandal”

The real wine scandal in the hit TV show “Scandal” is the way Olivia Pope holds that Burgundy glass drinking her Bordeaux wine… and when it happens.

Just my observations… The glass has a super long stem, so I put this on Facebook on March 14. I had to go back to check, because I got a great answer from Mary Cressler.

I wrote:

Okay, I have a love/hate relationship with the show “Scandal.” The intrigue, I love. The fast talking is like a bad Seinfeld episode… Not to mention the way Olivia Pope holds her Burgundy glass, slugging down Bordeaux. Yeah, check out the red wine bottles she always pouring her wine from… To suggest that she’s a wine connoisseur, she missed wine components 101… No one holds the glass that way, girl friend, except me 25 years ago.

Mary Cressler, founder of Vindulge:

You mean THIS glass? Burgundy glass.

Yeah, that’s so it. I’d love to see a more positive reason for having wine on this program… They do occasionally portray this character dining with her father and she’s having wine. I’d prefer to not seeing wine primarily used at the end of each day to swig away her stress.

Just me and my humble opinion. We, as an industry, have spent so much time trying to elevate wine from something that M.A.D.D is furious about, to something that’s an everyday beverage to be enjoyed in a way that complements foods and/or with friends, family, good food, and great times.

I believe this show is doing wine a bit of an injustice; otherwise, I love the program.

UPDATE, October 28, 2014: Even Eric Asimov of the New York Times thinks so. I think we’ve discovered something here… We just all have to come together on the correct spelling of this imaginary wine. Is it Chateau Dubolet, Chateaux Du Bolet, or du Bellay?

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Movie,Video,Washington,Wine,Wine Hospitality,Wine tasting,Yakima

Cement Suitcase ~ A Wine Sojourn

Cement Suitcase is a comedy – tragedy about a character named Franklin. He works at a winery in Yakima Valley, and has to deal with life’s blows. It’s an award-winning, independent film about a tasting room manager and his humorous attempts to get control of his life. If you love independent films, and you love wine country, this one will make you feel like you’d enjoy going to this winery and spending time with Franklin. I can see why it’s won so many independent film awards. I also enjoy that it’s included the Latino culture as a lead character, instead of another person just behind the scenes.

As soon as I saw where the movie was filmed, I realized that I had been there… Both at the Airfield Wines company, where it was filmed; and on a separate trip in life, having also experienced a pretty good betrayal in love… Who hasn’t, those of us who have dared to love, and it’s ended up being with the wrong person?

BTW, the name of the winery has not been changed in the movie. It is what it is… Airfield Wines. It also has this splendid wine tasting room that you don’t see in this movie, because Franklin may have broken the wine glass chandelier (above) with his antics.

According to the producers: The best wine salesman in the Yakima Valley is headed for a breakdown, and only two people can help him. One just broke into his house. The other is having an affair with his girlfriend.

For any of my friends who have worked in a tasting room, you’ll be able to identify with many of Franklin’s insights; but also, you’ll think, “Why didn’t I ever think of that?” Franklin turns his tasting room upside down and backwards, reminding me of Bill Cadman (Tulocay Winery in Napa Valley).

I worked with Bill at Robert Mondavi Winery. We were both wine educators. He’d come in once or twice a week, and was actually the first wine tour that I experienced. New educators spent the first day “in the field” taking other educators’ tours. This way, we would witness how each educator had developed his or her own style of their basic wine ed program:

  1. Tour the vineyards for viticulture
  2. Tour the crush area for harvest techniques
  3. Tour the wine cellar to know how wines are made
  4. Attend a tasting, to put it all together

Bill had eyes rolling, having more than a few people asking themselves if they had landed on Mars. It was his description of the chemical process by which wine is made… how carbon dioxide and alcohol are exuded in the fermentation process. I can’t even say it here, because it’s a true Juicy Tale that won’t see the light of day for anyone on this blog. Off site, yeah; if I know you, I can tell you. Here? Nope…

The character in this movie also pulls pranks that are beyond anything I’ve seen in a tasting room, but the theatrics are well worth seeing.

Written and directed by J. Rick Castañeda, Cement Suitcase is a quirky comedy, filmed on location at the Airfield Wine company. Based in the rural wine country of Washington State in Yakima Valley, it’s won several festival awards for its story of someone who finds that it’s time to let go of some baggage. In the process, he can sell a lot of fantasies, along with the wine. It’s his own fantasy that must be rebuilt in the process, however.

If you’re looking for a movie that’s based in wine country and has the nuances of it as a subplot, perhaps you’ll enjoy this movie as much as I did.

Winner of the following awards:

  • Dances with Films Audience Award
  • Santa Cruz Film Festival 2013
  • Official Selection, Tacoma Film Festival 2013
  • Official Selection, Big Bear Lake International Film Festival 2013
  • Official Selection LALIFF 2013
  • Ellensburg Audience Award 2013
  • Director’s Choice Award Gig Harbor Film Festival 2013
  • Eugene International Film Festival Best Narrative Feature 2013
  • SLFF Seattle Latino Film Festival 2013
  • Orlando Film Festival Official Selection 2013

The movie is available on iTunes, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and a host of other cable and streaming platforms.

Here’s a trailer of Cement Suitcase.



Are Genetically Modified grape vines ever going to be good for wine?

Let’s consider if Genetically Modified grape vines are ever going to be good for us… In order to do that, we have to look at studies that are being done independently, many of which are happening outside of the United States, as regards other crops.

It’s also important to note that a study handed off to a university through a grant program by a corporation might as well read, “give us what we want to see, regardless of anything the research group finds.” That’s what has long kept money flowing into any university system.

Meanwhile, other countries are not vested in GMO crops, and they want to know all they can from the current US experiment of an all-age generational study, to protect their own citizens.

I can’t make it more clear… I shudder to think that somewhere in time, someone with vested interests in companies, like Monsanto or Dow Chemical, will come along and want to genetically modify wine grape vines. Look who’s presenting your GMO Answers, below. they’re not scientists, they’re major pharmaceutical/chemical companies.


  • Non-GMO project ~ Genetically modified organism: “plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.”
  • Science Daily ~  Cross breeding: Classical plant breeding uses deliberate interbreeding (crossing) of closely or distantly related individuals to produce new crop varieties or lines with desirable properties. Plants are crossbred to introduce traits/genes from one variety or line into a new genetic background.

Let me digress into some wondering, because it’s all in line with our most recent development with GMO foods and a government that is supposed to be protecting its citizens.:

Mother Nature has given everything to us that we need naturally. If we weren’t supposed to have wine grape vines, they wouldn’t exist. The same applies to medical marijuana. One has to ask oneself, “What was in those peace pipes ever so long ago?” And, why did marijuana become illegal shortly after Prohibition was repealed? Could it have been to continue to enslave men, since slavery had also become illegal, and prison populations began to decline after the Repeal… Just wondering here.

So, who’s writing what about GMO crops?

  • Collective evolution: 10 Scientific Studies Proving GMOs Can Be Harmful To Human Health = independent studies from around the globe.
  • GMO Answers: Founding Members GMO Answers is funded by the members of The Council for Biotechnology Information, which includes BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta. Our members are dedicated to the responsible development and application of plant biotechnology.

MIT, thankfully; but be assured, the GMO proponents will tell you that this MIT researcher has no credentials…

MIT Researcher’s New Warning: At Today’s Rate, Half of All U.S. Children Will Be Autistic (by 2025)

By Nick Meyer On June 11, 2014 ~ “Research scientist Stephanie Seneff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a widely published author on topics ranging from Azlheimer’s Disease to autism and cardiovascular disease, raised plenty of eyebrows recently with a bold proclamation on autism at a special panel in Massachusetts about genetically modified organisms and other topics.

“At today’s rate, by 2025, one in two children will be autistic,”  Seneff said last Thursday in Groton, MA at an event sponsored by the holistic-focused Groton Wellness organization.

Seneff presented slides showing a remarkably consistent correlation between the rising use of Roundup (with its active ingredient glyphosate) on crops and the rising rates of autism; while it doesn’t show a direct correlation it does give researchers plenty to think about, especially considering Seneff’s research into the side effects of autism that mimic glyphosate toxicity and deficiencies.

The rest of the world is more curious and less vested in genetically modified crops than Corporate US, it seems, than we are.

  • GROUNDBREAKING 2013 STUDY shows pigs were harmed by the consumption of feed containing genetically modified crops. A long-term toxicology study on pigs fed a combined genetically modified (GM) soy and GM corn maize diet, by Dr. Judy Carman, Howard Vlieger, Dr. Larry Ver Steeg, Veryln Sneller, Dr. Garth Robinson, Dr. Kate Clinch-Jones, Dr. Julie Haynes and Dr. John Edwards. Direct link to the study.

November 26, 2013 by True Activist, Geneticist David Suzuki Says Humans “Are Part Of A Massive Experiment, By Arjun Walia

  • DAVID SUZUKI: “It doesn’t seem to be much of a debate anymore, it’s clear that GMOs can indeed be harmful to human health. There is a reason why a majority of countries around the world have permanently banned GMOs, so what’s taking North America so long? One reason might be the fact that biotech corporations like Monsanto seem to be above the government and influence policy, but thankfully these things are changing. Big Island, Hawaii has recently banned all GMO products and bio-tech company products. Various bills calling for moratoria on GE food include Vermont, North Dakota, Boulder, Colorado, San Francisco and more.”

(24th August 2014): Ecologist ~ Cancer deaths double in Argentina’s GMO agribusiness areas

Cancer Deaths Double in Argentina’s GMO Agribusiness Areas: A report by the Ministry of Health in Córdoba, Argentina reveals that deaths from cancerous tumours are double the national average in areas where genetically engineered crops are grown and agro-chemicals are used.

This comprehensive report documented five years of information on cancer cases in the province.

Am I nuts? Those vested Monsanto would tell you, “Yes.”

Lorie from Massachusetts tells it differently, and she’s been observing my communications now for a few years: “Jo, I just [want] to say that while we don’t know each other terribly well you are one of my favorite Facebook friends because everything you post is either beautiful, informative, or thought-provoking. Thanks for never clogging up my wall with useless crap.”

Another view from someone who comments every time I write about genetically modified crops: “Judging from your last comment, you don’t appear to me to be very educated, or perhaps you are willfully blind, but whatever your problem is, cancer rates are declining as per the CDC. And if it were’t for smoking, obesity, sunbathing, lack of exercise and poor diets, cancer rates would be declining more rapidly. GMOs have no effect on cancer rates, except fear of GMO vegetables could result in fewer vegetables eaten and as a result your fearful lifestyle increases your cancer risk. Darwin might predict you are going to go extinct because you are [your] thinking is illogical.”

It’s interesting to note that this person privately told me he’d not be back to my website ever again, and the popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, as if he could “cure” me because – using his words, “don’t appear to me to be very educated.” (Thanks, buddy, my 3.894 GPA didn’t make it to 4.0, because I have philosophical differences with people like you, and I won’t bend just to be in a favorable light.)


Petite Sirah,PS I Love You,Wine

Petite Sirah, The John Wayne of Grapes, Is Our All-American Legend

As regards Petite Sirah being The John Wayne of Grapes… Imagine, if you will, being plucked from your homeland shortly after being born. (Some would argue that you were ostracized.) You’re brought to the Atlantic, where you board a steamship headed for America. You land in New York, are put onto the next train headed to California, and you never look back.

You’re Durif, about to morph into Petite Sirah,

and become an All-American variety

According to wine industry historian Charles Sullivan, Charles McIver of Linda Vista Vineyards (Mission San Jose) imported Durif to the U.S. in 1884, and coined it “Petite Sirah.”

  • Affection?
  • Size of the grape?
  • Couldn’t pronounce “Durif?”
  • Just didn’t want the father’s name to be dropped forever because it would make it harder to tell the story?

Who knows… That’s lost forever, and continues to be part of the mystery of ths legend.

What McIver is responsible for is that he brought the “Wild West” its greatest “Wild Child.” And, like so many others that have made the arduous, culture-shock journey, this is where it has ultimately flourished. Petite Sirah has been fully allowed to express all of its capabilities; not encumbered by what being of mixed lineage would have imposed upon its nature in France. Labeled in France as a misfit, Petite Sirah has solidly proven itself to be “The stuff that men are made of.” Its durable, strength of intensity, and the ability to weather any challenges makes it an all American hero.

Although its grapes are petite in size, don’t be fooled. This burly, manly wine has been able to completely express its concentration of color, flavors, textures, and tannins in ways that could only be imagined in its own homeland.

The American Legend… Petite Sirah

It takes true grit to get it, this Petite Sirah. It’s not for fainting ladies. It’s not for the White Zinfandel crowd. It’s for the cowboy or cowgirl in all of us. Fasten up your spurs, Partnah; we’re headed for a ride!

Did you know…

  • Petite Sirah survived Phylloxera.
  • During Prohibition, it was Petite Sirah that was the wine being used as sacramental.
  • It was the wine that home winemakers were being allowed to make and drink.
  • It was the dried grapes that were being shipped back east as raisins (for reconstituting).
  • And, it was the grape that Napa Valley was planted to by 60 percent in the 1960s.


Cabernet Sauvignon,Chardonnay,Diaz Communications,Mendocino County,Petite Sirah,Pinot Noir,PS I Love You,Wine,Winemaker,Winery

If you want a Moniker Wine, name it that… Moniker Wines

MONIKER WINE: it’s not brain surgery, people, but look how long it took someone to come up with the actual moniker as a wine brand. Now that it’s out there, the rest of us are all slapping our foreheads.

Leave it to the folks at Mendocino Wine Company, to branch out into the Moniker realm. I remember when I wrote about Petite Sirah being the John Wayne of wine varieties. I put it out to all of the members to use that as branding… And it was branded by the Mendocino Wine Company. (It’s so great when someone is actually paying attention and understands a good idea.)

Owner Tim Thornhill came to an event that I was holding in Orlando at Universal Studios, being put on by the National Pork Board. The members of PS I Love You were pouring their wines to go along with chef’s dishes. It was then that I learned of Tim’s sharp wit and great marketing savvy. Now, his next generation has joined his wine company… Chase Thornhill, his son, has been given Moniker Wines to market, among his other duties, and success will be his. According to Chase, “Moniker wines represent the best of our family, our desire to do right by our land and by our community.”

The Thornhills have really put their best foot forward with Moniker wine.

Moniker Estates winemaker is Mark Beaman. Mark has always had deep connections to land through his passion for agriculture. He grew up in Walla Walla, Washington, and his family members were wheat farmers. What I really like most about Mark is that the did something that I could only imagine (I didn’t have the guts). He joined the Peace Corps, and worked on soil conservation projects in Tanzania. That kind of dedication and empathy is what I’d like to know a winemaker has experienced… where he’s also worked outside of his comfort zone and wine disciplines.

This is a family affair, currently involving three generations of Thornhills… Ann and Tommy Thornhill, Jr. are the grandparent generation, bothers Tim and Tom (the III) are brothers, and their youngest generation involves Kate Thornhill-Beaman and Chase Thornhill. I can appreciate family working together, because my three daughters have all been helping Diaz Communications at one time or another, between mothering and launching other dream careers. When the Thornhills invested Parducci Wine Cellars, Tom will tell you, “We were looking for a community in which we could make a positive impact and bring our family together.”

Of Moniker, Tim is quoted as saying (and I can hear him saying it), “I learned young that when someone told me I should not do something, it did not mean I could not do it. This spirit lead me to do things like move giant trees, saving and preserving enormous living things. This same innovative spirit permeates the family and Moniker.”

These are very classy wines,

from a classic American family

2012 Moniker Chardonnay, Mendocino County ~ Ripe and resplendent, Golden Delicious apples with a bit of toasty almond on the finish… I’m thinking of the Cambodian Glass Noodle dish at Chinos Asian Bistro. Wine and food porn in your mouth… yeah, that delicious.

2012 Moniker Pinot Noir, Mendocino County ~ This is a hearty and rustic Pinot for me, destined for barbeques of the best kind… with Pulled Pork Sliders. The American oak is what gives it that rustic, American-style edge. Its spice is evident and part of its appeal. Still within the 13 percent alcohol, it’s a wine with great depth.

2011 Moniker Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino County ~ Lots of tannic backbone, so either lay it down for a while, or use an aerator to give yourself the most enjoyment for its big, opulent flavors of cassis, blackberries, and a hint of cigar box.This is a big, complex wine.

You could also do what a friend of ours used to always do, back in our rock and roll days. Roman Marcinkiewicz, then of MCA Records, who is now at Masciarelli Wine in Florida, would call a restaurant to make a reservation for that evening, and ask the wine steward to open the wine at 10:00 a.m. for our 7:00 p.m. dinner enjoyment. We’d chuckle at Roman at the time… We were all rockers, we didn’t get the “fine wine” thing. Now we’ve joined the ranks and are making the same recommendations, when a wine calls for it. (Thanks, Roman, for leading the way!)

Do yourself a favor and enjoy a little Moniker… Wines with lower alcohol are always pleasant to the palate and always very food friendly.