Books,PR 101,Wine

A Mentor for Success ~ Everyone Needs One

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket –Chinese Proverb p. 154

We all need mentors, whether employed or self employed. I can list every single one of mine, who are related to the wine business. and from previous life incarnation. And I’m betting that you can, too. The need for expert counsel never stops. In Harvey Mackay’s book, Swim With The Sharks Without Getting Eaten Alive, Harvey gives us advice that whenever possible, never cold call; if you know someone who knows someone, pick up the phone and ask for an introduction.

This is how success works.

Have you ever actively thought about pursuing mentors? I haven’t, until I read the following book. Having mentors is one thing, for me. Targeting people? What an interesting concept. I’m really independent, so I haven’t ever pursued actually targeting people. I have this thing about Karma; but, I’ve never set about trying to set up my own Damara. I now think differently. Why not propel some projects, I came away thinking? This is how Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold will make you think in their book.

Cover of "Success at Life: A Zentrepreneu...

Cover via Amazon book.

Finding Your Mentor

Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold have co-authored many books. They’re all great reading, as each one carefully guides people to achieve their greatest potential.

  • A Zentrepreneur’s Guide ~ success at life: How to Catch and Live Your Dream (2001)
  • Tea Chings: The Tea and Herb Companion (2002)
  • A Zentrepreneur’s Guide ~dragon spirit: How to Self-Market Your Dream (2003)
  • Wowisms: Words of Wisdom for Dreamers and Doers (Zentrepreneur Guides, 2003)
  • A Zentrepreneur’s Guide ~tiger heart, tiger mind: How to Empower Your Dream (2004)

It’s in the success at life: How to Catch and Live Your Dream, the authors take you through a process of what will have you succeeding.

Excerpts from Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold’s A Zentrepreneur’s Guide: success at life. If you take these nuggets to heart, your world will greatly expand in positive ways… and get a coy for a lot more inspiration, turning 2016 in 2000 and sweet 16.

  • Years wrinkle the skin, but to live without passion, well, that wrinkles the soul. p.29
  • The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white.–Lao Tzu  p.38
  • Regarding finding a mentor:
    • …when you were a kid… You knew that when your parents finally took the training wheels off your bike and you went wobbly down the walk for the first time on two wheels, fell off, and scraped your knees, you knew that it meant nothing. You knew that the deal was that you got back up on the thing and tried again and again, and in time you were out riding with your friends like the wind. And the same applies here. Failing to catch and live your dream doesn’t result from falling down, but rather from staying down. p.65, 66
  • We’ve got secrets. Secrets that we’ve shared with you these many pages, with the impassioned hope that you will share what you’ve learned with others who seek an inward light through a shadow of change. p. 142

When people, as gifted and talented as Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold, want to make the world a better place by giving people the tools to enrich their lives (and in this case it is I who received the benefits with their book), you’ve just got to go for it.

Their books are all available for purchase through all websites that sell books.



Open Letter to Oprah Winfrey ~ Super Soul Sunday

Dear Oprah,

Thank you for having your Super Soul Sunday show on SuperSoul.tv.

Thank you for also having your 11 Life-Transforming Talks from Spiritual Thought Leaders, Change Makers and Wisdom Teachers.

I’m not sure where Dr. Tom Pinkson would best serve your audience, but I know that you will decide what’s best.

I’m compelled to turn you on to Tom Pinkson, Ph.D., because he is someone very extraordinary, with a very specific area of expertise. With the onset of the aging baby boomer population, what Tom has to offer is critical for your viewers.

Let me please state: While I am a publicist, Tom Pinkson is not one of my wine clients. Tom is a new friend. I only represent the wine industry.

Tom Pinkson Ph.D., a transpersonal psychologist, is in the business of helping souls exit stage right with dignity and respect; of reminding us of how to live, so that we may also understand and appreciate our own exit strategy (and the process of others).

When I read his book Fruitful Aging, Finding The Gold In The Golden Years, however, I realized that his message is so important that he needs to be spreading the word with the largest audience available. The Oprah Bump would serve humanity in so many regards, and in such a timely way that humanity would be well served.

My Fruitful Aging, link above will take you to my own blog post… a book report, if you will.

Dr. Tom Herington has said of Tom and his Fruitful Aging book:

The valuable guidance in this book is presented in a way that leads inspiration to both journey and sojourner alike. I am grateful for the light that Tom shines ahead onto a mysterious path and I am grateful for his inspiration to keep moving forward in a good way, one step at a time.”

Tom Pinkson’s fascinating life journey:

  • Clinical psychologist
    • Has observed countless patients and clients confront the challenges of aging
    • Worked for 32 years with terminally ill children at the Center of Attitudinal Healing in California
    • Successfully integrated the wisdom teachings of the Mexican Huichol natives, and other spiritual teachers, into the world of the practicing psychologist
    • The founder of Wakan, a nonprofit organization committed to restoring the sacred in daily life
  • Ceremonial retreat and vision-fast leader
    • Sacred storyteller
    • Musician
  • He developed a successful nationally recognized wilderness treatment modality for heroin addicts in 1972, that included mountain climbing and shamanic vision questing
    • Ski touring in a glorious Sierra snowstorm
  • In 2010, Tom helped to start the first at-home Hospice in the US. At the time, there was only one other hospice in the US; Tom’s has the distinction of being the first at-home hospice.
  • Tom created Recognition Rites for A New Vision of Aging: Honoring Elders

On the Nierica Website:

Tom [“tomás”] has studied with indigenous elders around the world for over 35 years and utilizes shamanism and indigenous wisdom ways and attitudinal healing in his work helping people from all walks of life ―individuals, groups, business and corporate executives seeking ways to bring spirit into their companies, to find their heart path and the power to walk it to “completion”, right into the death of their physical bodies and their return “home” into Spirit.

Not only is Tom an interesting leader, but his humility allows for his gifts to completely shine through, without any clutter.

He’s our gift to the universe; something that you and I can both say we’ve shared. I look forward  to your interview with “tomás.”

When you give me a green light, I’ll have his book sent to an address that you’ve given to me. I look forward to hearing from you. When you email me, don’t worry about my spam filter. I’ll approve you.

Thanks, Oprah.

Sincerely yours,


Jo Diaz

P.S. I will also be sending a letter to you.


Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Business,Wine Sales

In Wine PR, what went around has come back around

Two very thoughtful pieces, one written by wine blogger Tom Wark and another one by Steve Heimoff, are telling the story I’ve also been watching unfold, as clients continue to narrow their wine samples releases down to those wine writers who remain in power.

Unfortunately, there’s a hierarchy of who will and does have influence in wine writing that was put into place, long before any of us were born and started wine blogging. It started in the 1920s during prohibition, and if there’s been any change since then, it’s become even more tight. So, the new advent of wine bloggers, which began when Alder Yarrow launched his site in 2004, only took five years to peak. What a blink in time…

Besides… we’ve entered the stage of oligarchy

  • Wholesale houses continue to absorb other big companies; ergo, the giants continue to own more and more shelf space.
  • New to the scene: there are wholesales that are demanding that if you want to present your wines to them… and they’d better have scores in the 90s to do so… you must PAY them a presentation fee.

So, pay to present and have scores, or just sell directly, wineries…

The Millennial generation of wine writers are not included in anything that helps a wholesaler to place wines on the shelves. They’ll straight up tell you so. So, what does this do for the legions of wine bloggers who have gone back to their day jobs, while continuing to stay current? Not much, unless they’re buying off the shelves from what wholesalers are putting there. This is precisely what an oligarchy does… it dictates. It’s very expensive to buy directly from a winery and millennials are still paying off student loans; if they have to buy, it’s what the wholesalers want them to buy, not a small production artisan wine.

So, back around

It has become harder than ever to have any budget conscious vintner choose to send samples to anyone, except for the established wine writers. If they write for one of the top 12 wine publishers, they’ll get the samples. Otherwise, it’s a bust… the free flow has pretty much dried up.

Also, consider Facebook and other social media outlets. It doesn’t take much time or commitment to share a quick thought. It’s much easier to say in sixty words or less what has been tasted, how it tasted, and maybe even what you had it with for a meal… with a shot taken from a smart phone to accompany the text. (Is my Nikon really becoming a dinosaur, gone the way of my SLR cameras? Sigh…)

And back around come the wine PR people, who can now return to business as usual… or kept at it – which was NOT easy to do, in the blizzard of who’s who.

Tom Wark (Fermentation) shared the Google Trends graph that shows the decline, in his story: Did Wine Blogs Die Without a Funeral?

“As you can see the relative interest in wine blogs has been waning now for a good six years since interest peaked in 2009. What happened?”

And he does mention more social media resources… There’s only so much anyone person can do. To sit and write 1,000 words a day, as non-billable hours… Yeah, you can see that it would become a chore before long. For many, it was only five years.

Include all of the above that I’ve written and it then become part and parcel of what has happened, in my professional observations. It’s not just consumer interest dying out. Current consumers are now following who they like, so they don’t have to search on “Wine Blog.” I don’t think that reading blogs has completely gone away. I still have about the same people reading my blog for the last 10 years. People come and go, but the numbers are still constant for this blog.

I love what Steve Heimoff wrote: Pffft! That’s the sound of the wine blog bubble bursting 

When blogs were young, they were the hippest, sexiest thing in wine writing. That’s the main reason why I myself started blogging, in 2008. I saw the rocket ascending towards the heavens, and I wanted a front-row seat to go along for the ride.

But all the while, I doubted the glowing predictions on the part of many wine bloggers that wine blogs were the journalistic and reviewing wave of the future. I knew that was false. I said as much—and got body-slammed by the wine bloggers who didn’t like my message. Hey, hate the message, not the messenger!

There are a lot of factors, which I trace back to Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s now a very social media world. The end result?

  • A few serious wine lovers, who are also serious writers, have emerged.
  • Also, wine writers who used to have a day job – and the papers laid them off – have found self publishing to be satisfactory, as they’ve also met the challenge by reinvested themselves otherwise with wine related offerings.
  • Wholesalers and disintermediated retail outlets – like Costco – are still dictating which wine reviews and publications will be the scores which will allow the wine to be sold to them and line their shelves. If you don’t have a score, Costco is very unlikely to carry a wine, for instance.
    • Therefore, wine companies are no longer sending out copious samples, because the return on the investment just didn’t pay off, where wine blogger were concerned.
    • Mentions are great, stories are greater, sales are the greatest return on an investment.

Lots to think about, and now I have to go make some money writing… Adieu


Cabernet Sauvignon,Chile,Importer,Imports,Wine,Wine of the Week

Don Melchor ~ A highly performing wine from Chile ~ Wine of the Week

When I look at its history, I see that Don Melchor is a high performance wine. Would I like to taste it? Indeed, bring it on.

I received the 2011 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon, Puente Alto Vineyard for review. This wine is kicking off my 2016 wine blog project… Wine of the Week.

2011 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon, Puente Alto Vineyard

So, how did it taste for me?

First of all, this is still a young wine. I’ve gotten way past caring about young wines anymore being hard to enjoy. A friend recently told me that she gifted someone a young wine and there was paperwork that went along with the wine. The person on the receiving end became concerned, and felt that the wine MUST be put away for another five years.

Those days are gone forever, with today’s gadgets. Just reach for an aerator, for a very quick solution. Then, there’s always decanting wines, for a bit slower process.

My first taste was undecanted… That’s when I learned how tight tannins still are, but the chalky smooth flavor of this wine still tricked through. My mouth was filled with flavors that were of ripe, black current goodness, a touch of licorice, and a final hint of lead pencil. (Yeah, I used to chew pencils, when I was too stupid to know better – first grade, maybe?) In its current age, this Cab is just begging for a blackberry cobbler with Crème Fraîche…. Most delicious

Now, decanted?

Bring out the prime rib… Soak up the juices that accompany this dish, because the black fruit has softened and will add to the culinary experience of going this high end. A very delicious wine that’s highly recommended and is a true keeper. Honored to have had the opportunity to learn about Don Melchor.

The Winemaker ~ Enrique Tirad

[Image borrowed from the Don Melchor website.]

Enrique Tirado joined the parent company Viña Concho y Toro in 1993. He was hired to lead its premium brand divisions. Four years later, Triado was appointed head winemaker, assuming the responsibilities for their super premium and ultra premium labels, in addition to its iconic wine, Don Melchor.

For me, Don Melchor is an ongoing quest to get the truest possible expression from every plant in the vineyard to attain beauty in the equilibrium from each Puente Alto terroir harvest.

It’s my true obsession. Though I use technology as a tool to improve my knowledge, perhaps more importantly it is by observing and sensing what is happening with each plant and each wine that gives me that perfect balance year after year.

More impressive credentials… In 1997, Viña Almaviva was created from a joint venture between French winery Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Viña Concha y Toro. For its first vintage in 1996, besides his work with Don Melchor, Enrique Tirado was named co-winemaker for Almaviva alongside Patrick León, Technical Director of Château Mouton Rothschild. Working together for seven years, the pair attracted considerable acclaim from international wine writers. Tirado was appointed a director of Viña Almaviva in 2004.

Enrique is said to have an uncanny winemaking sensitivity and tirelessly researches different terroirs. In 1999, this led to his designation as sole winemaker of Don Melchor, their renowned Puente Alto vineyard in the Andean foothills on the north bank of the Maipo River.

This snapshot of his career is a snapshot of what a great performer Don is and what’s led to creating wines for such critical acclaim.




Fruitful Aging by Tom Pinkson

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a wine publicist, it’s knowing where to draw the line. And, I had regrettably to do just that recently with an offer made by Tom Pinkson, Ph.D.

Just for background of who Dr. Tom Pinkson is, from Tom’s Website:

For over 45 years I have traveled the globe from the Amazon to the Yukon, from Polynesia to South East Asia, throughout the United States and Europe studying indigenous wisdom ways, including completion of a 11 year apprenticeship with Huichol shamans of Mexico, while earning 3 degrees and keeping up with the latest findings of western psychology, wellness practices, brain science and quantum physics which I use to help people wake up, remember and live from the truth of who and what we are and why we are here.

I have worked with thousands of people around the world helping them find and live this truth in their daily lives

For me… It all began at a celebratory birthday party for my wine writing friend Sondra Barrett. Also a Ph.D., Sondra has commingled her passions as a biochemist and photographer with her passion for wine. I’ve helped Sondra, by asking Jose to build a website for her, something that would benefit her talents and achievements. And, I’ve included her in things that Jose and I do, like wine tasting events and my stories to boost visibility for her. Jose’s helped with marketing concepts and how she can keep up her own Website, once it was launched for her. It’s just what friends do.

She’s mentioned me to her friends, and at the party for Sandra, Tom Pinkson approached me. He’s just published his new book Fruitful Aging, and wanted to know if I could also help him.

In my wine publicist career, I’ve had wine clients who were connected to the wine industry by products other than wine, but related to wine, which wine consumers would find very useful. I’ve hopefully taken them on, but then I find myself as at a loos for how to really help them. Great people, all, so it’s been heartbreaking for me, because I’m astute enough to know that I’m really not their best resource. Each time I’ve tried, I feel like I’m not properly equipped. It’s like a brain surgeon having a hand at podiatry. The resources to help just aren’t the same, the people who would help are not in my database, I don’t have the relationships built to make the “surgery” run smoothly, nor do I have the right operating room. It’s always frustrated me, regardless of the fact that my clients have still put their trust and faith in me. After a few months of struggling to expedite their stories, I have invariably had to tell them that I need to stop trying, because in their “department” I’m inept. It’s very hard to do, but I have to.

At this point, I’m better off telling a potential client, which I must respectfully decline to be their publicist,  “I’d rather turn you down than to let you down.” And so, once again, I found myself saying this to Tom, when he asked for my help. I also have enough respect for someone who feels that he or she can trust me, that I’m at least happy to write a blog story about – as in this case – Tom Pinkson’s book called, Fruitful Again, Finding The Gold In The Golden Year.

It’s a very spiritual book and since wine is a spirit… It works for this wine blog, in my humble opinion, especially for my spiritual friends, of which I have plenty.

Tom begins, “A silver tsunami of increasing longevity is sweeping across our nation. Over the next several decades, the number of Americans over age 60 will increase by nearly 70 percent, the largest increase for any age group in the population… Will it be positive? Fulfilling? Meaningful?”

I have a sister who has devoted her life to nursing. She is an R.N., a chef who graduated from New York Restaurant School, holds two certifications in nutrition (Applied Clinical Nutritionist and Certified Clinical in Whole Food Nutrition), and is a certified Gut and Psychology Syndrome professional. She’s helped many people to exit this world both stage right and stage left. What she’s always said to me is that people who know how to live, also know how to die. Those who haven’t taken the time to live go out kicking and screaming. the rest, like my Aunt Edith, go out literally singing joyfully.

This is what Tom’s book is all about: giving people the emotional tools to begin living now, so that there will be no regrets, by presenting a panoply of examples for what’s important as we prepare to exit stage right. Tom makes certain that we know, as elders, this is time that has the potential to be our best years yet, as we continue to define our worthiness, repair what’s yet to be mended, and provides exercises to that end.

I was swept away by his book, and all I could think of is, this man needs to be on Oprah, had I only the resources to get him there. He’s got that kind of charisma, that kind of intriguing background that an interviewer and audience would not only find him enjoyable to listen to for his life’s adventures, but also his profound messages will inspire us to let go of any fears, and become the fearless adventurers that we’ve always wanted to be… if we’ve not dared to just throw ourselves into life already. For those of us who have, it’s just a reminder that we’ve always been on the right track. It occurs to me that Tom has never been that fearful, so he’s a perfect candidate to lead those into their own adventures. This book is the quintessential guide.

Like fine wine, Fruitful Aging happens with great care from the mind of an artisan. It’s no accident and it’s not a commodity product. It’s the combination of great skill and a lot of intuition…

Grab a great glass of wine – perhaps some bubbles, as sparkling wine is now said to stave off some of the aging process, and get real with the time you’ve been given to make the most of your life. I highly recommend this book for the serious about living souls among us… Not just the aging. The quality of each day could be our last; why not make the best of each minute? Tom Pinkson’s Fruitful Aging will bring you great comfort.


Petite Sirah,PR 101,PS I Love You,Wine

Why is Petite Sirah still so obscure, you might wonder?

I hear this wonderment all of the time about Petite Sirah… “Why is it still so obscure?”

Well, one would think that it is. What it is, though, is a best kept secret, sort of like my grandfather’s blueberry patch.

As a kid, we’d go blueberry picking, high up a mountainside in Wales, Maine. Even though there was no one around for miles, when we picked, the only sound we could make was the smacking of our lips as we ate wild blueberries and picked a few.

Check this out… There are currently 923 Petite Sirah wine brands.  … 923 … In 2002, there were only 62 producers and growers combined. Today, there are also 165 growers. The math? It’s 1,089 wine companies directly involved with Petite Sirah. [According to the Wine Institute, in 2014, there were 4,285… We’re close to 2o percent of wine companies involved in some degree with Petite Sirah.

I call that a best kept secret

I used to send these facts and figures to wine writers once a year. Then, one year a Eurocentric American wine writer told someone that he was sick to death of getting my press releases about “how much Petite Sirah there is…” I may have done Petite Sirah a disservice by even believing that this could have been more than one writer, but being in PR, I decided to stop offending anyone. (Dumb move.)

LESSON #1: I would have been better serving Petite Sirah by immediately removing this person from the PS media data base, I now realize. If someone tells me that he or she doesn’t like Chardonnay, for instance, I now know to just remove that person from distribution, not stop the message and/or samples across the board.

LESSON #2: Don’t try to convince. It’s probably not going to work and that’s spinning wheels for just one person. Move on to send the message to those who are interested in knowing.

I recently just had to write off two more people who write about wine, because they both just trashed Petite Sirah. So, I’m just keeping a list now. If someone doesn’t like Petite Sirah, that’s okay. I’m betting both of them would eat foie gras in a heart beat… Something that will never touch my lips, once I learned of the origin. We all have our preferences.

Who loves Petite Sirah?

Let’s start with winemakers, because it’s a winemaker’s wine.

Instead of the usual marketing rule of 80 percent to 20 percent… I dare to say that it’s more of a 90 – 10 percent share. Most of the small producers are only crafting 500 or fewer cases of Petite Sirah, of the close to 1,000 producers that I’ve identified. It’s a winemaker’s wine, first and foremost. I can hear what happens behind the scenes…

“Okay, boss, I’ll give you all the Cab you want, but PLEASE let me just make about 10 barrels of Petite, because it’s my real ‘pet’ project. We’ll can sell it in the tasting room, you can have it for an eclectic ‘wine-of-the-month’ feature, and it will be great with our wine and food events!”

I see the owners cave, to keep the winemakers happy. And, they completely sell through the 250 or so cases, before the following vintage. It doesn’t ever hit the store shelves, it isn’t sent to wine writers for critical review (why risk a nasty review, when it’s guaranteed to sell though?), and it’s a cash cow (because it doesn’t have to go through a wholesaler and then a retailer). Yeah… that’s what I see all of the time.

Wine Writers

On Steve Heimoff’s recent post: Save the date: Petite Sirah in Paso Robles, Feb. 6, Steve nailed several things:

  1. It’s nothing short of amazing how Petite Sirah has become a major variety and wine.
  2. It didn’t exactly happen overnight; there have been plantings of “Pet” (as the oldtimers called it) since the 1800s in California, but consumers never really caught on to it as an independent variety, until [PS I Love You was] created [as a] trade organization, in 2002.
  3. California acreage of Pet is way up, clocking in at a record 8,825 acres in 2014, nearly double what it was ten years previously. Granted, that’s not much compared to Cabernet Sauvignon (nearly 80,000 acres) or even Syrah (18,000 acres), but it’s more than either Cabernet Franc or Grenache—and almost more than the two of them combined.
  4. Beyond acreage, the number of Petite Sirah producers in California continues to soar, from fewer than 100 in 2001 to more than 900 last year.

MaryAnn Worobiec’s Wine Spectator: Against All Odds… Despite challenges, California Petite Sirah is gaining acreage and winning fans, MaryAnn Worobiec ~ Issue: December 15, 2015

  1. Petite Sirah from California offers inky black colors, bold flavors and tannins to match. It has the ability to be expressive when bottled on its own, can add structure and color to red blends, and has a reputation for aging well. But despite Petite’s growing presence in the Golden State, it can be a conundrum for both winemakers and wine lovers.
  2. Though most of the best Petite examples are made in small quantities and sold direct from the wineries to consumers, there are some terrific examples at the value end of the spectrum…
  3. Petite has a loyal following, including a fan club called PS I Love You, as well as talented California winemakers dedicated to showing the grape’s potential… Despite the myriad difficulties it faces, Petite Sirah is on the rise in California, both in terms of plantings and number of producers. Acreage for the grape has had its ups and downs over the years, reaching its heyday during the 1970s before plummeting to its lowest point of about 1,750 acres statewide in 1995. These days, almost 10,000 acres are planted to the variety, which is great news for fans of big, rich, hearty wines.

The Consumer

Fan are dedicated, or all of this wine would sit on shelves and would break the backs of wineries that have a “pet project,” which is their best kept secret. This image is of Dave Mounts and “Honey Airborne,” a consumer. She came to  California to learn about Petite Sirah, and one of the places where I took her was to Mounts Family Winery and David’s vineyard. He’s not only is a grower, but David Mounts is also a passionate producer of Petite Sirah.


Education,Event,Napa,Paso Robles,Petite Sirah,PS I Love You,Sonoma,Wine

Petite Sirah in Paso, at last we’re taking PS education to the people

PS I Love You‘s mission has always been, since 2002…

To promote, educate, and legitimize Petite Sirah as a heritage variety, with a special emphasis on its terroir uniqueness.

The only change that’s now happening is that we’re taking it away from a food and wine event, and getting it back to the heart of it all… To educate consumers about Petite Sirah as a heritage variety, with a special emphasis on its terroir uniqueness. In this case, six of the producers are from the Paso area. (Sonoma, Napa, Winters, and the Camarillo area represent the other four regions. This will help  to further define and differentiate terroir characteristics.)

I’m personally so excited about this change. It’s going to help us get further down the line with wine appreciation. Whenever I’ve taken PS focused tastings on the road, the acceptance has been overwhelming, and helped to build so many fans across America. Now, we’ll be doing this in California’s own backyards.

Our friend Steve Heimoff just wrote on his wine blog:

Old pals Jose and Jo Diaz, who own Diaz Communications in Windsor, have long worked with wineries in the North Coast for their Petite Sirah advocacy efforts, but now they’ve extended their reach into Paso Robles, with the launch of their first-ever Petite Sirah event down in the Central Coast.

Called PS I Love You…in Paso, it’s at Vina Robles on Feb. 6, and will feature ten Petite Sirah producers. Each winemaker will do a feature tasting/presentation of his wines…

California acreage of Pet is way up, clocking in at a record 8,825 acres in 2014, nearly double what it was ten years previously. Granted, that’s not much compared to Cabernet Sauvignon (nearly 80,000 acres) or even Syrah (18,000 acres), but it’s more than either Cabernet Franc or Grenache—and almost more than the two of them combined.

Steve has captured the heart and soul of what we’ve been doing, and what we plan to continue to do… Expand everyone’s knowledge about this historic variety, in each of its regional AVAs. Steve continues, as he shares what’s right about Paso Robles, as regards Petite Sirah.

Having this event in Paso Robles makes perfect sense. For years I’ve admired Paso for the uniqueness and quality of their red wines and off-beat blends, of which Petite Sirah often is a part. This ability to craft such wines was the main reason why I successfully argued for Paso to be Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Star Region of the Year, in 2013.

Here’s the skinny on the event:

This event will be held at the Vina Robles Hospitality Center in the heart of  Paso Robles Wine Country.
Saturday February 6, 2016
Time: 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

10 Wineries will take you through their Petite Sirahs.

Only 100 tickets will be sold for this exclusive event.

Participating Wineries

Barr Estate Winery

Berryessa Gap Vineyards

Cantara Cellars

Clayhouse Wines

Graveyard Vineyards

Gustafson Family Vineyards

Red Soles Winery

Robert Biale Vineyards

Le Cuvier Winery

Vina Robles Winery


Event,Food & Wine,Napa,Petite Sirah,PS I Love You,Wine,Zinfandel

Robert Biale Vineyards, Chef Chris Cosentino, and James Beard, can I get a big YUM?

Napa Valley’s Robert Biale Vineyards is joining forces with renowned chef Chris Cosentino of San Francisco’s Cockscomb, at the James Beard Foundation’s Beard House in New York City.

Small aside: I’ve been watching Robert Biale Vineyards since September 2004. It’s a great cult winery. The day they became members of PS I Love You, I was told how lucky PSILY was that we connected. At the time, I didn’t know about Robert Biale Vineyards. I suggest that if you’re not familiar, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by becoming a fan. Gorgeous wines is their hallmark.

Acclaimed chef Chris Cosentino is partnering with Robert Biale Vineyards for a multi-course pairing dinner at the James Beard Foundation’s iconic Beard House in New York City on March 7, 2016.

As a “just for instance:” Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate ~ There are some serious scores here:

  • 2012 Extended Barrel Aged, Napa Valley – SCORE 94
  • 2013 Palisades Vineyard, Calistoga, Napa Valley – SCORE 92
  • 2013 Royal Punishers, Rutherford, Napa Valley – SCORE 95
  • 2012 Thomann Station, St. Helena, Napa Valley – SCORE 94
  • 2012 Like Father Like Son (which is a blend of Petite Sirah and Syrah) – SCORE 92

Press Release – Robert Biale

Robert Biale Vineyards will be celebrating the completion of its Twenty Fifth harvest as a winery, and featuring its highly rated and acclaimed 2013 vintage Zinfandels and Petite Sirahs. The wines were crafted by winemaker Tres Goetting, who took the reins as Biale’s winemaker in 2013. This is Biale’s second appearance at the Beard House. The winery’s bold and luscious red wines from heritage vineyards will be a perfect match for Cosentino’s rustic and original cooking.This is Biale’s second appearance at the Beard House, and the winery’s bold and luscious red wines from heritage vineyards will be a perfect match for Cosentino’s rustic and original cooking.

Paired alongside pours of Biale Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, chef Cosentino is spotlighting a five-course tasting menu, which will showcase his inspired and fresh cuisine. Internationally recognized as a leading expert and proponent of offal cookery, Cosentino is also the co-creator and chef of Boccalone artisanal salumeria. Cosentino has been featured on the Food Network in the Next Iron Chef America and Chefs versus City, and the winner of BRAVO’s “Top Chef Masters” season 4 competition, earning over $140,000 for the Michael J. Fox foundation.

The James Beard Foundation which is based in New York City honors the spirit and legacy of James Beard, who was a noted author, food writer and educator. The non-profit organization sponsors prestigious culinary awards, scholarships, educational programs, and culinary events that are held at Beard’s home that promote and foster culinary arts and culture.

For more information contact Robert Biale Vineyards, at info@robertbialevineyards.com, by calling Robert Biale Vineyards at 707.257.7555, or by visiting The James Beard House Website for more details.

I know if I was going to be in NYC on March 7, where I’d be…





Award,Food & Wine,Tea,Wine

Commitment to quality is always rewarded, as Vintner Ron Rubin recently learned

An Extraordinary Man Is Recognized: The Republic of Tea’s Ron Rubin has been named to Specialty Food Association Hall of Fame…

As his wine publicist, I was part of the first line of learning, then part of the distribution, and also provided some insights for copy about his continued commitment of excellence through his Rubin Family of Wines. Ron Rubin has the same commitment to excellence, which has segued into the wine business, as well. Ron is very precise about all aspects of the quality for what he attaches his passions. And, it happens to be all aspects of the beverage industry…

Having been raised in Southern Illinois by a father who was a wine, beer, and spirits wholesaler, then inheriting the reins, Ron’s lifetime work has been dedicated to quality beverages. And in the case of the Specialty Food Association Hall of Fame, the food is liquid… as in Tea.

Just as wine is a liquid food, I know that his wine brands are also being produced as top of the line.

When Ron Rubin’s enduring work ethic expanded into the wine industry, he brought with him the same emphasis on quality and reasonable prices. A man of eternal empathy, Ron believes that all people deserve a beautiful experience with all of his beverages. This is what makes him a beverage industry leader, and why he was so recently honored.

Case in Point

The 2012 Ron Rubin Green Valley of Russian River Valley – the inaugural wine with his name on, went on to earn eight GOLD medals

In the press release created:

The Republic of Tea, leading purveyor of premium teas and herbs, is proud to announce that Minister of Tea Ron Rubin was selected as a 2016 inductee into the Specialty Food Association (SFA) Hall of Fame. Rubin will be honored for his many industry achievements during the Hall of Fame Ceremony and Leadership Awards at the SFA’s Winter Fancy Foods Show on January 18, 2016, in San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

According to the SFA, the Specialty Food Association Hall of Fame’s goal is to “honor individuals whose accomplishments, impact, contributions, innovations, and successes within the specialty food industry deserve praise and recognition.”

“I am honored and humbled to be selected for the Specialty Food Association’s Hall of Fame,” said Rubin.

Rubin’s life has been dedicated to innovation, stewardship, education, and philanthropy. A successful entrepreneur, he sparked a specialty Tea Revolution when he purchased The Republic of Tea in 1994. Since then he has been on a mission to promote the “Sip by Sip Rather Than Gulp by Gulp” lifestyle, enriching the lives of Citizens everywhere with more than 300 exquisite and award-winning tea and tea-inspired products, including unsweetened varietal glass bottled iced teas for fine restaurants, Be Well Red® Teas, SuperHerb® Teas, HiCAF® Teas, a line of Downton Abbey® Teas, exclusive Stir Fry Tea Oil, motivational business books and tea ware.

Under his leadership, The Republic of Tea has been named as one of the “Best Places to Work” by both Outside Magazine and North Bay Business Journal. The brand has remained committed to social responsibility, mindful of how its actions impact the greater community and actively supporting worthy organizations. Examples of The Republic of Tea’s commitment to philanthropy are the following: Action Against Hunger, The Ethical Tea Partnership, The Prostate Cancer Foundation, and The Whole Planet Foundation.

His enduring work ethic also expanded into the wine industry, where he runs The Rubin Family of Wines with the same emphasis on quality and accessibility as The Republic of Tea.

In 2015, on The Republic of Tea’s 23rd anniversary, Ron Rubin welcomed his son Todd as the next President of The Republic of Tea. Ron is now the Executive Chairman and continues to serve as Minister of Tea while Todd manages the day-to-day operations of the company.
I, too, am so honored, to have met this very special man, and to have worked with him for the past three years in wine.

Congratulations, Ron Rubin! You are so deserving.


Jo's World,Juicy Tale,Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Writer

Top 10 things I’ve learned in the past 10 years of wine blogging

It’s  now been 10 years of wine blogging for me. My anniversary date is December 29, 2005. So, I celebrated on that day by not writing anything, and continuing with my last week of the year’s stay-cation.

  1. I can now let a weekday go by and not feel that I have to write a blog post.
  2. When naming wine blog, it was a risk not putting my name to it, and simply calling it “Wine Blog.”
    • Being a wine marketer, I wanted it to be on page 1 of Google, when someone typed in “wine blog” into a search.
    • Success…
  3. Backlinks rule, and have a lot to do with a blog rising to the top of Google’s listings.
    • A backlinks company did an assessment of my wine blog. I was floored…
    • “We have found 413 new backlinks for this page in the past 30 days.”
    • That’s what 10 years of blogging creates, if nothing else… History.
  4. Most fascinating information I just learned from WordPress:
    • “The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 87,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.
    • “The busiest day of the year was August 27th with 1,645 views. The most popular post that day was The Removal of Wine Train passengers is a symptom of a bigger problem.”
  5. Only the passionate need apply as a wine blogger, if it’s going to have staying power.
    • A lot of people have come and gone.
  6. I could have written several books during this time.
    • In the 1960s, a friend asked me, “Hey, Clarke (maiden name), if you’re so smart why aren’t you rich?”
    • Today, my answer would be, “Because I give it all away.”
  7. Wine blogs connect people from all over the world in ways one wouldn’t foresee.
  8. The only thing that’s consistent with my blog… Inconsistencies.
    • It would seem that I have no focus.
    • But… My wine blog is a wine publicist’s journal… Any segment of this business is fair play.
  9. If you want a wine blog audience, you have to be fearless and take on some real issues, sometimes.
  10. Writing about wine has polished my skills for writing children’s stories.