As the director of PS I Love You, I get to be a fly on the wall and oversee some pretty amazing things.  This past year, I created an opportunity; and now, I’m watching a vintner in the making pretty closely, because it’s fascinating.

Take two strongly driven women who share the same fascination with wine, blend in a learning curve of epic proportions, and we’ve baked up a great story for not only the teacher, student, and me; but, it’s also interesting lessons for the student’s avid followers… And, perhaps even you!

Winemaker: Julie Johnson, winemaking proprietor of Tres Sabores Winery

Media person: Monique Soltani, producer of WineOhTV

The premise: winemaker teaches media person how to make wine, by having the process video taped through an entire season, which also educates her viewers.

The end results:

  • WineOhTV’s audience learns how wine is made, by one of their favorite news outlets
  • WineOh’s producer has an invested interest in the wine that she’s made
  • Two amazing women are linked by wine for all time
  • What I began has a happy ending for all involved (closure is everything)

This process was set into motion for 2013.

By January 1, both women had agreed to the plan, with Julie Johnson telling Monique Soltani: “Monique, what a pleasure! I’m very excited about this process. Clearly, there’s already fun response to your FB posts so people are interested. You’ve offered out that people can be tasters—let’s plot out how that could work. See my notes, ideas, comments, below:

  • From Julie ~ Here’s how I see the first videos going based on some of the things we talked about:
    • Bloom (May 14, 2013) A great start. Hopefully some of the footage made sense (HINT: SKIP the AD) ~ How to Make Wine: Bloom


  1. Grapes (June/July?) Works well—nice follow-up you could piece in a before and after shots: 1st bloom—now: look! Berries.
    • Maybe we could go out and just post photos—veraison (coloring and softening up) .
  2. Walking the Vineyards to taste and gauge ripeness.
    • We walk the vineyard, sample grapes (big point to be made: how sweet ( >30% sweeter than the standard table grape: wow—and how much more complex and tasty in general) –also bag grapes and come back and squeeze out the juice, (juice colors up: point—flavor and color is in the skin, test acid and sugar, and pH: point—it’s all in the taste, it’s also all in the analytical numbers….Sugar goes up, pH goes up, ripeness goes up, acid comes down (and why CA grape growing is so great, fog in the morning, etc. etc.) Timing –fairly early morning (before 10am for sure)
    • Harvest (Sept?) September for sure.
    • You could pick a day or two and we could make it happen. Visuals: picking, sorting, de-stemming, etc. You will need to devote most of a day—6 am to 1:30 or 2 (nice visuals: harvest lunch)
  3. Fermentation— within about 4 days of harvest—and this of course could be flexible for “your” lot—punchdowns, fermenting juice, brix and temp measurements. Timing—early morning ideal although we can stage it anytime. You could also probably catch some pressing when you visit—if not another visit.
  4. To barrel. Barrel dynamics and selection. Not all that much to film but still can be interesting.
  5. Tasting, racking the barrels,
  6. Here’s an idea. Let’s focus on the red grapes for the MSC. White and Rosé can be caught in the passing but I suspect that there’s enough with the red content. Reds: could be anything: Zin, Cab, Petite Sirah—a composite. Fun to compare tastes, berry sizes, shapes etc. In the Spring of 2014 you could….taste the wines we’d be putting together for the 2012 Vintage bottling that summer and make a selection out of that. Don’t think anyone would really bother about /so purist about –“oh she’s talking about the 2013 vintage and now she’s tasting the 2012 what’s up with that” do you??? Moreover, right now I’m selling off 2012 juice so if you had an idea about where this is going we could taste and reserve wine now. Or if this is just truly a visual exercise— a year in the life of wine (as opposed to “A WINE” ) then it really works.

Now, let’s watch where this goes,  and you – too – can be a fly on the wall… Perhaps, in the end, actually tasting the wine that these two talented women have crafted.


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