Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Business,Wine Writer

Beyond Blogging II ~ a.k.a. Living

In Steve Heimoff’s story, called Beyond blogging, he talks about fellow blogger Jeff LeFevre of Good Grape. Steve wrote:

I was glad to see that Jeff LeFevre, the author of Good Grape: A Wine Manifesto wine blog, now is writing an column for Forbes.com. This is a big step for Jeff, whom I’ve come to know through the tight little world of blogging, and I congratulate him. His first post was to introduce Forbes readers to what he calls “the best of the best” of wine blogs, and I’m pleased to say he included steveheimoff.com.

Being naturally curious, I skimmed Jeff’s favorites, looking for that one glimmer of hope that he’d be turned on by at least one woman:


It seems that we creatures primarily write for our own gender, and is no doubt the reason that some clever women have successfully written with a male pseudonym, from time to time.

  • Mary Ann Evans wrote as George Eliot
  • Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë published under the names Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, respectively
  • Most recently, women are using initials, the most famous of whom we know as J. K. Rowling.

After seeing Steve’s blog, I told my husband/partner Jose, I’ve got to write a similar story and call it “Living.”

“Living?” he asked.

“Yeah, living… you know, we’re living over here, too. We’re always in the ‘Living’ section of a newspaper. We get to write about the heart and soul of family matters (and politics), new fashions (and socialnomics), home decorating (and architecture), family cooking (and biochemistry) craft projects (and non-profits)… And for me and many others, wine.

Jose’s light bulb went on, and he said, “Oh… like Martha Stewart Living.” Yeah… he got it. I knew he would. He adores women the way I adore men.

And so, thanks for a great idea, Jeff, through my dear friend Steve, whom I also greatly admire as an author. I’m going to take on four women of grace and style, who are blogging and have sites that really matter.

[Left to right: Megan Kenney, Sondra Barrett, PhD, Alana Gentry, Gwendolyn Alley (and her son)]

  • Megan Kenney ~ Heart ~ Wannabe Wino, aka Sonadora
    • Megan mostly writes about wines that she’s just tasted. Before she had her daughter, she was very proud to have been publishing every single day. Obviously, a baby is a game (and diaper) changer; however, Sonadora is still keeping up. Her iconic images of wines bottles is her rustic charm. Her descriptors are informational and inspire her Millennial audience. She’s got a solid, loyal fan base, and is bringing a lot of new people into the world of wine as enthusiasts. They’ll grow with her.
  • Sondra Barrett, PhD~ Soul ~ SondraBarrett.com
    • Sondra is going to challenge your way of thinking, most especially if you have a scientific mind, because she discusses wine’s soul. “What?” you might ask. “How can wine have soul? It’s doesn’t have consciousness!” Notice the PhD behind Sondra’s name? She’s a biochemist, cancer researcher, and has also looked into the living, microscopic cellular* structure of wine. You need to read Wine’s Hidden Beauty. Let’s review how all of us, men and women, talk about that wine is a living beverage… how it continues to evolve in a bottle, how it ages – like we all do – and then how it’s light goes out – like ours does. If you believe in God, you should believe what Sondra’s discovered.
    • *EDIT FROM SONDRA: One exception to the description of my look into wine – it’s not cellular, it’s molecular. What I capture are the molecular collaborations changing with life (and death) of wine. And in keeping with your placement of me with the soul of wine – some scientists including Nobel prize winner Christian de Duve suggest that we have life because of molecules – molecules evolved so that they were able to contain life, as if they have a consciousness.
  • Alana Gentry ~ Mind ~ girl with a glass
    • Don’t be fooled by Alana’s seemingly girl-next-door look… that she’s all sugar and cream, lighthearted and not to be taken seriously, because you think she’s a girly girl. She’s a full blown woman with serious credentials and a passion for writing that gets to the bottom of most details. Recently, she wrote an amazing story that she shared, before sending it to an editor. It was brilliantly written; however, the editor sent it back, rejected because he was looking for something exactly as he would have written it… And that would have been a bit juvenile, just from my own observations. Rewriting it would have compromised the integrity of it, which she later publish as originally written. Her mind is brilliant; so is what she writes.
  • Gwendolyn Alley ~ Body ~ Wine Predator, Art Predator, Biker Go Gal, Compassionate Rebel, The Write Aley, and Whisper Down The Write Alley (Yeah, she’s that prolific.)
    • Gwendolyn, like the others, is in a class by herself. We shared 10 days in Portugal, so we bonded in ways that neither of us anticipated. I love watching all that she does… As you can see (above), she does a lot. You might think, “Wow, she’s pretty scattered.” Nope, not so. She loves wine, art, travel, and writing, and has segmented what she writes into different sites, so one blog doesn’t become unfocused. Her poetry is poignant. She gave a copy of her book to me, middle of the night ~ poems from daughter to mother :: mother to son. Her poems make my eyes mist over. She wrote this book in loving memory of her mother’s recent passing away. Her grief is still so raw and she grabs her readers. Her body is here, there, and everywhere (she just officiated a wedding for the first time… it won’t be the last), but her mind is constantly constant.

    [Left to right: Pamela Heiligenthal, Gabriella Opaz, Jancis Robinson, Leslie Sbrocco, and Karen MacNeil]


Two women who support [“share” is a better word than my original word “support”] a male writing partner, whom I enjoy:

  • Pamela Heiligenthal ~ Enobytes ~ A breath of fresh air, who dares to ask controversial questions.
  • Gabriella Opaz ~ Catavino ~ Another daring young woman, who dared to leave the states when George Bush thought war would be good for our country, and has taken up residency in Spain.

And, one group that need to be mentioned, because they have really developed their thang… (yeah, thang…), having started out professionally as wine writers first, and are now also blogging:

  • Jancis Robinson ~ She’s an icon… period. 
  • Leslie Sbrocco ~ She’s a neighbor, and she’s gone national on NBC – You go, Girl! 
  • Karen McNeil ~ She’s been writing and educating for years. She’s also from the Boston area, so I get that Yankee in her that we both love and share.
  • Let’s hear it for the girls!

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21 Responses to “Beyond Blogging II ~ a.k.a. Living”

  1. sondra says:

    Thanks for including me, Jo, in this wonderful article. You know, since more and more winemakers are women, maybe the male wine writers want to hold on to some turf – who knows. Guess there will always be some battle or discounting of gender.

    I love the “living” idea when it comes to wine – will live for wine?

    One exception to the description of my look into wine – it’s not cellular, it’s molecular. What I capture are the molecular collaborations changing with life (and death) of wine. And in keeping with your placement of me with the soul of wine – some scientists including Nobel prize winner Christian de Duve suggest that we have life because of molecules – molecules evolved so that they were able to contain life, as if they have a consciousness (LOL).

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Sondra, and I’ll add it to the content above, but not take out my mistake. Since it’s a common mistake (in your E-Mail to me), it will help others to better understand the differences.

  3. thanks Jo~ honored to be in the group. go girls!

  4. Sonadora says:

    Jo, thank you so much for including me! I appreciate the recognition. As I’m getting used to my new role as mother, and how that works with still keeping wine in my life and my blog going, it’s encouraging to know that you still follow me!

  5. Jo Diaz says:

    Yes, indeed. You’ll find having a child is just part of the landscape of your life. B adds so such, but doesn’t take away anything you are or what you did before she arrived. She’ll grow up know that her mom has “always” written about wine, and she be more cultured for it.

    I was just thinking how all of the arts have a civilizing effect on our lives.. Take away any one of them, and unrest develops… Writing being one of the arts.

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Yes, indeed… Leslie…

  7. Wine Harlots says:

    Nice work on profiling a great crop of women wine writers.
    I raise a glass to you all.

    Nannette Eaton

  8. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Nannette.

    Of course, this is begging for Part II, at some point in the future.

  9. I’m tickled pink and honored to be in such great company. Thanks for the shout out Jo, and I believe you deserve recognition as well! I raise my glass to all women who make a difference in the wine world.

  10. Jo Diaz says:

    I’m raising my glass to that, too. Pamela. Here’s to all women who contribute to wine!

  11. Hey Jo, you are very kind to include me in such a fine list of women, but admittedly, I’m a little confused by the statement “women who support a male writing partner”. Maybe you can expand on that a bit?

  12. Jo says:

    Gabriella, not to diminish your efforts, for sure. Perhaps it would be better written, women who *share* a blog with their husbands, because I see the point you’re making… By *supporting,* it might suggest that you’re in a lesser role. Not my intention at all, especially seeing the two of you in action at the European Wine Bloggers Conference.

    My husband and I support each other’s efforts; neither of us singularly would have the impact we have now (and have had for the last 36 years together) that we have had as a supporting couple. I see you and Ryan as so dynamic that your strengths seem quadrupled as a unit. I once read that the power of a group is the number squared. So, the power of one is the power of one. The power of two is squared; i.e., 2 x 2 = 4… And there you both more, in the same boat Jose and I are in, because you both have the same goals, purpose, and functions… It equals a very powerful, supportive unit.

    I didn’t get into it more with the story, because time is limited for me right now, as I continue to plan two wine grape symposia: Petite Sirah in California and a Pinot Gris one in Oregon… Think two EWBCs in the same time slots as one, within five weeks of each other. I have to think with a bit more brevity than usual.

    I appreciate your asking for clarification. I hope this clarifies it for you.

  13. Jo, thank you for mentioning some of the most wonderful women in wine!
    It elevates all of us and opens the eyes of many.

  14. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Marlene. As I’ve written, there’s certainly Part II now due.

  15. Sorry for the delay in my response Joe, and yes, I’m very appreciative of your clarification. The term “supported” can be seen in many ways, but as your response very clearly lays out, it is meant in a very loving mutually supportive manner 🙂

  16. Jo Diaz says:

    Yes, it is Gabriella. I can see where it might have been interpreted otherwise… in a very “old school” way; but, you and I are way past that one. Our partners are an extension of who we are – I very clearly saw that in Lisbon (and vice versa). A true yin-yang unit, which I saw the two of you as, trades off and works off each other, but it’s always one strong coupling. I admire it when I see it in others. It’s a rarity.

  17. Alana Gentry says:

    Fantastic list and LOVE the way you approached it. You made my heart sing with your description of my blog and me. Doesn’t it feel good to be understood?! You have been a role model for me more than you probably know. I read the guys but I do suspect they dismiss me as an “enthusiast.” On the other hand 50% of my blog readers are guys! Hah!

    On another note, I’m trying to keep my blog true to its mission/roots and you know I have a lot more to say about a lot of subjects, so I’m teaming up with an exciting well-funded, NY-based online magazine, coming soon. When I run their entire wine division, I’ll remember the girls.

    Bottom line, thanks so much for creating this list. Good job!

  18. Jo Diaz says:


    Happy to make your heart sing!

    the interesting thing about the study I read is that not only do men read men, and women read women, but women also read men a lot, too.

    Culture? Evolution with guy having done most of the jobs away from home for so long that women are still evolving into more leadership roles and still have a way to go?

    Then, there’s my egg and sperm theory… Think of the actions of each and how far sperm travel, as compared to the egg. One quick path for the egg and the sperm has to do the St. Vitas dance to (maybe) be the chose one.

    Good luck with the on-line magazine!

  19. Thank you so much, Jo, for such kind and generous praise! What an honor to be included in this company!

    As a feminist, I also appreciate your calling attention to this issue. When I read Jeff’s article, I too noticed it was an all boys club. I am grateful to you for speaking up about it here and on Steve’s blog too.

    (PS I wrote about you writing about Steve writing about Jeff…and in the end I recommend my readers check out all the links to all these blogs–and especially yours!)

  20. […] Last week, Jo Diaz on her blog “Jo’s Juicy Tales” honored and celebrated several w… Click the link below to enter a world of wine blogging…and wine bloggers! Recently Jo Diaz discussed Steve Heimoff’s column “Beyond Blogging” about  Jeff Lefrevre’s column “How to Become a Wine Wonk” in Forbes. (Did you follow that or did it get too incestuous?) In his column, Jeff recommends several wine sites and wine bloggers worth reading and why. His list of 12 sites includes Joe Roberts aka 1 Wine Dude, Alder Yarrow of Vinography, Tyler Coleman aka Dr. Vino and Steve Heimoff of Steve Heimoff.com, all fine wine bl … Read More […]

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