By Serena Scaglione
June 20, 2012 (Ramona)—There are more than 60 wineries and vineyards (and counting!) within the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association. What better way to showcase Ramona—which was designated as an American Viticulture Area in 2006—as an up and coming wine region than through a new magazine designed to educate readers about award-winning wines and the people behind the process?
This was the vision of Publisher Dave Billick, who developed the idea for the Ramona Valley Wine Region magazine (RVWR) as a way to exemplify the wineries and vineyards who are his advertising clients. This vision finally became a reality last September when Billick and Terri Kerns, the magazine’s executive editor, released RVWR magazine’s first issue.
According to Billick, the magazine functions as both a trade and consumer publication that benefits winemakers as well as wine enthusiasts who may not know about the many vineyards and wineries located within the valley.
“The people who make the wine can share their processes to keep the quality of the product growing and getting better all the time, as well as educate people outside of Ramona,” he said.
Kerns and co-owner with Micole Moore of Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery, embraced Dave’s idea, for she believed their knowledge and enthusiasm for winemaking would best serve the magazine’s purpose.
“Better for us to be really in at the beginning than someone who maybe doesn’t know the area, doesn’t know the people, doesn’t have the passion for what we’re trying to do,” she said. “So we decided to really guide the process.”
In addition to providing information, what makes this dual-purpose publication unique is the voice it gives to the people of RVWR, who share their passion for winemaking by contributing their stories and processes to the magazine free of charge.
“The articles are written by the wineries and the grape growers here in Ramona, and they’re all just people that want to get the information out there,” said Moore.
Articles featured in each issue of RVWR magazine may include the process of opening a tasting room, the amount of work that goes into making a glass of wine, recipes that compliment Ramona wines and the technical processes of making an excellent product, all of which are told from first-hand experiences.
“We’re really focused on the people and letting the people tell their own story,” said Kerns. “I don’t heavily edit it, I try and let people’s personality come through, so when you read something that somebody writes, you really get a feel for their story and who they are and their personality.”
“It just seemed like a natural fit,” Billick said of the publishing endeavor. “It also was a place for me to showcase my own clients, so it was sort of self-serving and it turned into something that would serve the entire valley.”
For Kerns and Moore, being a part of the magazine’s start just seemed like a natural step to take after they first started making wine in 2005; they have since established Ramona Ranch as a bonded winery.
“Going commercial fit in with Dave’s vision to really get the word out there,” Kerns said.
The magazine is rich in its strong visual presentation. Clear and detailed photos, graphics and advertisements complement the text as well as illustrate the people and processes that RVWR magazine is all about.
“We want it to be presented like an architectural digest, to where it is driven by visual content versus a hard sell,” said Dave, who is responsible for creating the design and layout of each issue.
Whether it’s the design, photos, or the unique stories being told, Ramona Valley Wine Region magazine is gaining momentum as it reaches readers beyond San Diego County. According to Dave, the quarterly magazine, which is available both online and in print, has brought visitors to Ramona Valley from Arizona, Nevada and throughout the Midwest.
And while the magazine is gaining popularity, so are the vineyards and wineries of Ramona Valley, many of which have crafted award-winning wines. Those recently under the spotlight for defeating the French in an international wine competition were Edwards Vineyard and Cellars, Milagro Farm Vineyards and Winery and Woof n’ Rose Winery.
As RVWR magazine continues to expand and as Ramona Valley continues to grow, Teri said they hope to stay true to the vision of the founders of Ramona, “which is more focused on creating a quality wine experience and a learning environment, rather than an entertainment vehicle” while still acknowledging “that wineries can be fun and entertaining too.”