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Shadowbrook Winery

We're in the News!

x"Squeezings from the Press"

"Boutique" 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.

The following articles were edited for the web.


Friday, May 14, 2004
Walnut Creek landowner seeks winery

By Theresa Harrington


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 vintages.
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."


Forbes Magazine
December 19, 2002

"Homeowners 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.

"William 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 says.

"Diablo's Powers gives a simple reason: Having vineyards around the house is so appealing. 'It's landscaping you can drink.' "


LA Times
August 18, 2000

"Agriculture is one of the state's biggest enterprises next to Silicon Valley. And I think people want a gracious look that makes financial sense," says Tom Powers.



June 22, 2000

"In 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.

"These 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 counties.

"And 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.'

"Powers is his own front man, meeting with clients and making the case that vineyards are no more expensive than any other detailed landscaping."


September, 1999

"Identifying the garden vineyard trend - because he's been a trendsetter and planted vines himself - is Tom Powers.

"Historically, 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.

"Such has 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.

"In his 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..

"There is something both life-affirming and exotic about living among vineyards. Nothing tells the story of the seasons quite as evidently.

" 'Grape 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."


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