If your relationship with wine extends anywhere beyond buying a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck to take to a dinner party, then you’ve probably wondered—if only fleetingly—what it would be like to own a vineyard and make your own vintages. I’m convinced that this wine curiosity is hardwired into our DNA, like the primeval urges to hunt and gather. After all, wine making has been around upwards of 8,000 years. If you are ever fortunate enough to taste a truly fine wine, or wander a vineyard right before harvest, or tour the barrel room of a classic winery...well, then, maybe that urge rises to a conscious level and you are left to speculate.
But finding a front-row seat to the world of winemaking is not that easy. Winemaking is not a spectator activity. It requires participation and years of experience, and even then the process is maddeningly slow. I’m in what I like to think of as my “wine awakening” period—and that’s after three years of learning to make the stuff. I’ve done most everything the average home winemaker can do and little of what the professional requires. But I’m willing to share where I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m going on this incredible journey.
If you want to know what it really takes to make and sell your own wine, I invite you to live vicariously through the Tiny Vineyards newsletter as I recount my amateur efforts and then explore all the options for going commercial. I’ll suss out the confusing license requirements and financial barriers, wrestle with the sourcing and handling of literally tons of grapes, and have a go at the demanding two-year UC Davis Winemaking Certificate Program, reporting on my triumphs and tragedies along the way.
So, here’s the deal
It’ll cost you $36 a year to come along for the ride, for which you’ll receive a new issue of my Tiny Vineyards newsletter the first of every month, with special missives in-between, including timely snapshots, deeper dives into relevant subjects, and fascinating interviews with the colorful characters who populate my winemaking world. I’ll also give you complimentary access to stream my Tiny Vineyards film anytime you like.
And the best part of the deal? For every dollar you spend subscribing to the Tiny Vineyards newsletter over (hopefully) the next few years, I’ll give it all back to you in FREE WINE! For example, if by the time I release my first hand-crafted commercial vintages in 2023 you’ve already subscribed for two years, then you’ll get $72 in free wine credit* for any of my wines.
And, if you’re so inclined, there’s even an option to become a founding member of this crazy venture and contribute a little extra (whatever amount you wish) to ensure its success. Any additional amount will, of course, qualify for additional wine credit!
Obviously I’m not trying to make money selling newsletter subscriptions, and I concede the “leap-of-faith” element in a credit for future wine. But I want to build a readership with a genuine appreciation for my wines, gleaned from inside knowledge of the process I went through to make them. And I want those folks to taste my wines and maybe release a few primeval urges of their own. You can be among the first!
*THE FINE PRINT: Wine will not be available until October, 2023 and since this is winemaking there’s always the possibility that date might change, so credit cannot be redeemed until wine is ready to ship. Subscribers will be notified how to redeem credit at that time. The initial price point for my premium, small-lot, handcrafted wines is estimated to be in the $36-a-bottle range. Shipping and handling charges will apply. NOTE: Wine can be shipped to all states except Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Mississippi, Rhode Island and Utah.
My name is Joseph Daniel. I have been involved in the media arts my whole life as a photojournalist, filmmaker, producer/director, editor/writer and publisher. Making wine has been one of those those unexpected rabbit holes I fell down, which take you in an entirely different direction and make life feel even more amazing.