JUAN R. DIAZ

Juan R. Diaz harvesting hope for others one glass at a time.


By R. Daniel Hernandez

 

When Barrio Logan comes to mind there’s Chicano Park… The world famous murals…The Coronado Bridge… The Barrio Logan Winery.  Wait a minute - there’s a winery in Barrio Logan? Yes, there is.   It’s an unpolished jewel that’s located on Main Street in a light-industrial area of the historic Barrio Logan located between 28th and 32nd Street Naval Base.

 

At the Barrio Logan Winery, San Diego’s most unique venue for winemaking, the owner/proprietor Juan Ramon Diaz has helped numerous community organizations by making the available the 2,000 square–foot venue/patio at minimal or no cost.  Diaz, a roll-up-your-sleeves, no-nonsense community leader, was raised in Texas by his mother and grandfather who instilled in him the concept of “giving of oneself for the benefit of others.”

 

“We offer the space free of charge to organizations seeking to raise money for their cause,” said Diaz who started offering use of the hobby/winery venue in 2009. “They just have to provide setup, supervision and cleaning of the winery.” So the next organization can start with a clean environment.


The Barrio Logan Winery is situated within the Diaz family business, Testing Services & Inspection (TSI), established in 1987.  Under Diaz’ leadership, TSI employees are intimately involved in the total wine process from off-loading trucks that bring in the grapes from Baja California’s Valle de Guadalupe region which has a climate similar to Italy, to cleaning, de-stemming, crushing, fermentation and bottling.


“Many people don’t know how involved our TSI team is.  Their dedication makes this all possible, Diaz commented. “There’s a lot going on here that most people don’t see."


The Barrio Logan Winery’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.  At the 2011 Del Mar Fair wine competition, it captured silver medals for its merlot and sangiovese wines, to include a blue ribbon on the most unique label design. The winery however, is easy to miss when driving by.  Plans are underway to build a prominent “Barrio Logan Winery” wrought iron archway, whose design features a bell and grapes, prior to the Third Annual Grape Stomp to be held on August 27th.
“Up to now, we’ve always told people to look for the small mural in front of the business,” said Diaz.  “We think this new entryway will definitely catch everyone’s attention.”


The Grape Stomp began in 2009 as an annual celebration usually performed by all grape-growers to honor the coming of the grapes and the success of the harvest, we use it as a vehicle to promote the hobby/ wine and offer it to the community for fundraising purposes.  The winery has been home to high school events, family gatherings, political fundraisers, choir and band youth groups, and numerous community organizations who like the flexibility and simplicity it offers.  It can accommodate a band stage, tables with seating, and a food and beverage serving area.
Diaz has dedicated the wine he makes for donations to the organizations using the Barrio Logan Winery. They in turn ask for donations from their supporters and return a small portion to the Barrio Logan Winery that’s dedicated to the production of more wine to bolster inventory for future donations.


“I felt that I could give back by donating the wine to the organizations who in turn would ask for donations from their supporters to aid their fundraising,” said Diaz.  “They return a portion back to us that benefits our continued wine production and in turn, other organizations in the future.  After all, that’s what we’re all about – Giving back.”