John Quinones – Winemaker
John’s Winemaking success is the result of a great education (UC Davis), fortunate career opportunities, and a personality driven by a rare combination of artistic and analytical elements that work well together. His artistic creativity challenges him to push the boundaries, and the analytical side prevents unnecessary risk. “The true artistry in Winemaking, is in understanding that you can make significant changes to a wine by changing various elements in the farming. The challenge is learning how to use them to get the fruit characteristics you want. I wish I could make similar changes in the winery, but the grapes dictate the quality potential of the wine. The best Winemaker’s, have the ability to take any grapes, recognize their highest wine-quality potential, and then custom tailor a strategy that will maximize, showcase, and preserve, the inherent qualities of that fruit”. It’s a given – “The best wines in the world come from the best grapes in the world.” Diamondback Vineyards represents a selection of unique and special growing sites, and the wines are made to showcase, and let you experience, the sense-of- place.
John’s choice of Diamondback Vineyards name has an interesting genesis. As a young winemaker John was exposed to many of the finest Cabernet vineyards throughout California, and they all seemed to have some important similarities. They were hot, dry, dusty, rocky, well drained, and had rattlesnakes. Conditions were ideally suited for both. In the mountains surrounding Napa and Sonoma Valley’s, he found the ‘rattlers’ appreciated these remote vineyards as much as he did. In recognition of this association with high quality grapes he christened his own winery ‘Diamondback’.
Fast- forwarding to 2009, John was approached by a “headhunter” about a Winemaking position in Southern Oregon. Having spent 22 years making wine on 5 hours south of the Rogue Valley, and being unaware of the existence of a wine region in the area, he agreed to drive up out of curiosity with no real intention of staying. He met with the principals at RoxyAnn Winery: Jack Day (owner), Michael Donovan (GM), and Gus Janeway (WInemaker), and also spent some time trying other local wines. The wines at RoxyAnn Winery were the best in the area, but not something that would be well received elsewhere. After looking at the equipment, fermentation regime, and more importantly the viticultural techniques employed – the wines actually appeared to be pretty good given the considerations. John’s always loved a challenge, and his curious nature started to get the best of him. He enlisted the help of a long-time friend and top Napa viticultural consultant and started looking at regional growing conditions – historical weather data, soil profiles, degree growing days, ideally suited varietals, etc. After initially declining a follow-up interview. he agreed to meet again and discuss the changes that would have to be made, in order to truly explore the potential he saw. They came to an agreement, and the wines have been very successful in direct comparison with established brands from highly respected regions.
While at RoxyAnn John continued to learn and has developed an even deeper appreciation for the unique growing conditions of the Rogue Valley. He found that the terroir of the Rogue Valley is condusive to growing many different varieties, but like all similar regions, there are still only a handful that are ideally suited. The Rogue Valley can compete with the best in world with the right variety, farming techniques, and Winemaking expertise. .
John describes the Southern Oregon wine growing region as “yet to be discovered” and is committed to seeing happen. It’s also a wonderful place to live.
One of the advantages of Diamondback Vineyards being based in Southern Oregon, is the lower cost of grapes and producing the wines. This savings is reflected in Diamondback’s pricing. Comparable wines made in Napa or Sonoma would have to sell for twice as much, or more. “My goal with Diamondback was, and still is, to give people the opportunity to experience what a $100+ wine tastes like, at an affordable price.
Diamondback Vineyards focuses on making luxury-class wines and will source only the finest grapes. John decided to not invest in vineyards, which would have limited his choices of varietals, and the ability to target perfect varietal/site conditions. To insure only the finest wines are made John will make vineyard selections annually, featuring the finest Rogue Valley vineyards and then choosing only specific areas within the vineyard where everything is perfect. Agreement are made with the grower, to allow John to guide the farming to ensure the grapes meet the Diamondback standard.
Diamondback Vineyards’ wines are crafted to complement the dining experience. John’s wines are easily recognized by their complexity and signature balance, that allows them to be paired with most every food regardless of varietal. If you want to experience this first-hand, have the 2014 Diamondback Chardonnay with a juicy grilled Rib-Eye, and watch the reaction from your friends. Experiencing Diamondbacks complexed and well balanced wines while dining is a sublime intellectual and sensual experience that has to be shared.
The quality of fruit necessary is extremely limited, and hard to find. John’s goal is for Diamondback wine to be available only to a small number of Wine Club members. Based on available fruit and corresponding lot sizes, it doesn’t look like we will be able to support more that 150 members.
Marshal Holman – Director of Sales and Marketing
In 2016, Marshall joined forces with Diamondback Vineyards, where he brings the same level of passion and dedication that has served him so well as a Hall of Fame professional athlete and businessman. Holman knows, one of the key elements behind any successful endeavor, is the ability to consistently Over-Deliver – It’s no coincidence, that is also the guiding principal for Diamondback Vineyards.
Marshall is a life-long resident of Southern Oregon and considers himself to be both fortunate and blessed in his professional life, where he has been successful in every endeavor. As a professional bowler from 1974 through 1997 Holman’s passion for the game, coupled with his total dedication to being “the best”, took him all the way to the PBA Hall of Fame. As a bowler, Marshall earned a reputation for being a fiery competitor and an outspoken personality. Following his amazing career, Marshall accepted a position as the voice of the Pro Bowlers tour for ESPN and CBS.
Holman decided it was time for a new chapter and returned to Medford, where (in 2003) he opened up a retail tax prep business. With his long-time ties to the community and his passion for work, the business became a thriving success.