My background perspective of viticulture comes from college classes, being in the field, and being behind a camera for that better view.

My blog is my journal about my being a wine publicist, for not only viticulture, but for enology, marketing , PR, sales, wine education, for writing about it for over 20 years… etc…

My Facebook page is a place where I can rant and rave and has very little to do with wine. It’s a tremendous relief. It’s my blog that covers that segment of my life, not my Facebook page. We all need an escape, right?


During my Facebook time, I find myself focusing on art, gardening, some politics (because there are so many political problems today), the fields of education, broadcasting, photography, and caring about health issues. For a long time I’ve felt that that was enough. I’ve even avoided making wine statements. I’ve been thinking, if people want to be my FB friends, and they think that I’m going to be completely focused on wine, those people are going to be sorely disappointed.

But, this past week something changed.

Back to the change

It was inspired by a work related job that I’m developing, which has to do with wine education. I thought, “How fun would it be to put up just one image with a description on Facebook that has to do with the spring season in a vineyard. This thought came from spending a day at The Rubin Family of Wines’ vineyard in Sebastopol. Jose and I were photographing a second soil monolith, constructed by Paul Anamosa of  Vineyard Soil Technologies. In between photographing the arduous process, I would see something magical happening right next to me on a grape vine. There was early morning dew, the rising sun reflecting from tiny, emerging leaves with their white downy hairs. Droplets of water were clinging to the tips of leaves. I realized I had found a heavenly happenstance… and THIS was worth sharing with my friends… Not in the business of wine, but for those outside of the business of wine. Most likely they would live in other states, and they may have never seen anything like the image I could bring to them… And that’s what has created the following blog post.

I then realized that there may also be people in the wine business who may have also never seen these images, or considered them… They may also live in New York City, for instance and be pining for this kind of image. Most especially for the ones who are in sales and spend their days in offices, visiting wine shops, supermarkets, and restaurants. While they’re in the wine business, they’re not in the vineyards, except for a few remembered field trips. It didn’t take long to realize that the image served a lot of people, including those who are as invested in the business as I am.

VIT 101

I wrote: VITICULTURE: See this tiny cluster? If you take a moment to look, you’ll also see how the cluster is going to be forming… When you get grapes, the skeleton that holds all of the grapes onto that form (called the rachis) holds each sub cluster on its own stalk, too. In this picture that I took at The Rubin Family Vineyards… When I really looked at it, it was the first time I actually saw the big picture of what it will become. Can you can also see where it will all separate into individual stalks, too?

Some responses from close friends:

Rita Conner: OK now you have to photograph the stages as they come along. It a great lesson in grape growing.

Monique R Dubois: You are like having a private professor… Looking forward to the next lesson! Thank you!

Betsy Nachbaur (Acorn Winery in Russian River Valley):…love your photos, and descriptions. Amazing to us how each of the 60+ varieties in our Alegria Vineyards looks a bit different at this stage. And, that Bill [grape grower, winemaker, husband] seems to be able to ID most of them by sight….

I wrote back to Betsy:

Jo Diaz: That’s because he’s a genius… After tending each variety, his mind has tapped into each one. It’s like knowing each of your children. He’s running a monastery,

Inspired to continue – Day 2

VITICULTURE 101: Yesterday, Rita, I wrote about how I could see the clusters (within the entire cluster) begin to take shape. This morning, with my own house grapevine, I saw what I was envisioning and explaining yesterday. This one clarifies my vision. If you compare the two, you’ll be able to see it, too, if it was almost there, but not quite…

Continued comments, telling me that I’m onto something…

Rita: Thanks Jo wonderful pictures

Howard G. Goldberg (author of The New York Times Book of Wine): Jo, the Central Park money trees adjacent to Fifth Avenue are also showing the same baby clusters. Because of the cooling proximity of the Hudson, the coinage in trees adjacent to Central Park West is still dormant.

Monique Dubois: This a great visual! Thanks.

Day 3

VITICULTURE 101: Rita Conner, you’ve inspired me to keep going with what I’m watching daily. Today, it’s about the tendrils. These slim projections come from the vine as fingers, grasping anything near them. Later, when the clusters become large, these tendrils have a firm hold and support the clusters from heading toward the ground. In grape growing, they grasp the trellis system. If they’re wild grapes they’ll climb up a tree. Here, you can see this tendril grasping another shoot. (I don’t have a trellis system. This is a volunteer grapevine that just happened at my front doorstep. I now help it to be decorative each year, because it’s so pretty and very “wine country.”

Day 4

VITICULTURE 101: “Cordon”

The trunk of a grape vine, when trained on a trellis system, has cordons that extend outward from it. From here, shoots will grow from the bud, along with the leaves, tendrils, and grape clusters. [Pictured here is David Coffaro’s vineyard manager.] The reason they’re called “cordons” is attributed to the French. Think of Chicken Cordon Bleu, a.k.a, Blue Ribbon Chicken. In French, “cordon” is translated to “ribbon.” Cordon’s extend from the trunk of a grape vine as the “ribbons” or “cordons.”

SUB PLOT: Rita Conner (thanks for inspiring Vit 101), Monique R Dubois and C.j. Tolini, (thanks for enjoying it). We’re all from Maine, where French is the second language, making this one easy for all of us who are French to remember.

The comments of appreciation are continuing; therefore, so am I. Once a week, I’ll gather the images and make this a weekly feature, until we hit harvest. I hope you, too, enjoy Viticulture 101.