from the Press"
Vineyards are big news and Diablo Vineyards has been fortunate
in getting great ink in a variety of media including television
(CNN and Channel 2/KTVU), radio, newspapers and magazines.
articles were edited for the web.
Walnut Creek landowner seeks winery
By Theresa Harrington
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
If Tim Jochner's dream comes true, he and his business partners
will be making and selling wine with a Walnut Creek label in the
next few years.
"We're trying to return the Mount Diablo foothills to their
roots, when one-third of agriculture was grapes," said Jochner,
38, who wants to build a small winery across the street from his
Shadowbrook Court home in the North Gate area.
Vineyards and wineries dotted the region in the late 1800s and
early 1900s, before most closed during Prohibition, he said.
Jochner wants to make wine from grapes grown by local homeowners,
as well as from his own 1,700 vines. He plans to make special labels
for the wine, noting whose grapes were used to produce it, and
thinks downtown restaurants and diners would snap up the home-grown
But a North Gate Specific Plan, developed in 1991 to preserve the
rural and agricultural area between Mount Diablo and suburban neighborhoods,
does not allow wineries. To move forward, Jochner needs the county
Board of Supervisors and the Walnut Creek City Council, which jointly
regulate development in the area, to amend the plan.
"I think a winery would be wonderful, especially since that's
what this area was about years ago," said Minday Coath, who
runs Wunderbar's Pet Hotel on North Gate Road near Shadowbrook
Court. "We have a nursery next door and they have fertilizer
delivered, which has odors."
He proposes to set up the winery in the garage of a Tuscany-style
house designed to fit into the neighborhood that he would build
on a 1.7-acre lot he owns on Shadowbrook Court.
Architect David Bogstad thinks Jochner has come up an idea that
could set the city apart.
"If Walnut Creek can have a Tiffany's," he said, "they
ought to be able to have a winery."
December 19, 2002
in California and New York--and even Ohio--are turning over the
sod and clearing brush to do the same. 'In the 1950s swimming
pools were the big thing. Now it's vineyards,' says Thomas Powers,
author of Vineyard Simple, a guide to creating a small vineyard.
Powers also owns Diablo Vineyards, a Martinez, Calif. firm that
plants vineyards and maintains them, servicing 70 homes.
Barley, an investor in technology companies, has three-quarters
of an acre around his home planted with chardonnay, viognier and
merlot vines. Instead of selling his grapes he trades them to a
winemaker for half the wine the grapes yield, which he also helps
bottle. "I would never even pretend to run this as a business," he
Powers gives a simple reason: Having vineyards around the house
is so appealing. 'It's landscaping you can drink.' "
August 18, 2000
is one of the state's biggest enterprises next to Silicon Valley.
And I think people want a gracious look that makes financial
says Tom Powers.
June 22, 2000
a world where trophy homes and trophy cars and trophy mates are
all old hat, gaze upon the newest badge of suburban affluence:
the trophy vineyard.
aren't small wineries or multi-acre spreads. They may involve no
more than 100 or so vines but enough to conjure a postcard-scale
version of the romantic terrain associated with Napa and Sonoma
in a region where convenience is valued above all else, the owners
don't even need to worry about stained feet or muddy hands. There
are companies that exist solely to set the mood - from planting
the vines to harvesting the crop, even choosing the grape varieties
that go in the ground.
Diablo Vineyards' Tom Powers, after repeated calls from neighbors,
sensed a lifestyle vein waiting to be tapped.
'Eighty percent of the people want a turn-key operation,' Powers
says. 'A lot I plant for don't care about the fruit. They're
just interested in the visual appeal.'
is his own front man, meeting with clients and making the case
that vineyards are no more expensive than any other detailed landscaping."
the garden vineyard trend - because he's been a trendsetter and
planted vines himself - is Tom Powers.
grapes were dry-farmed. The rootstock went down 15 feet and you
didn't water them after the initial planting," says Powers.
" ' New
research has developed new rootstocks, and these days you can plant
for almost any soil and spacing conditions.' In a small side yard
separate from his main garden vineyard, he has put in 27 plants
that he expects will produce 15 gallons of juice.
been their enjoyment of the perks of life as a grape farmer that
Powers has now jumped into a barrel ripe with possibilities and
launched a business venture promoting vines as a viable, attractive,
and less expensive alternative to traditional landscaping. He handled
his first commercial venture in June of 1999 when he planted a
third of an acre in Martinez for some clients.
experience, most home vineyards thrive. This, he concludes, is
because home vineyards tend to be better cared for than larger,
commercial vineyards and vines are very forgiving..
is something both life-affirming and exotic about living among
vineyards. Nothing tells the story of the seasons quite as evidently.
growers,' says Powers, 'huddle together at parties.When you start
growing, you join a fraternity of supportive people. If you belong
to the co-op, each member gets at least two cases of wine a year
- sometimes four. If you make your own wine, of course, you get
as many cases as you can produce."