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Tucked away in Barrio Logan, between an auto shop and an old house, Juan Diaz and his team test construction materials.

They have a side project they’re working on, too: Winemaking.

Diaz and his crew run the Barrio’s first winery. It’s not quite a business but it’s more than just a hobby: They give the wine and their warehouse/winery over to local nonprofits to host fundraisers.

The amateur says he never really studied winemaking, just talked with his elders. And his philosophy is simple.

“If it tastes good, it’s good,” he says in our weekend Q&A.

In other news:

  • Scott Lewis gives his take on the latest decision point in the march toward an expanded Convention Center. It has been an interesting week in this discussion. If you missed it, catch up with a quick explainer Liam Dillon wrote about a crucial land deal the Port District ended up approving.

What We Learned This Week

Major Pension Cases Were a Total Dud: San Diego’s pension scandal was a political bombshell and has been an enduring financial nightmare. But it’s turned out to be a total dud in the courtroom, as a judge’s decision to throw out federal criminal charges (UT) solidified.

There’s Another Way to Deal with Your Debts: Gamble: The county of San Diego has its own massive pension problems, it has just managed to escape the attention that the city of San Diego received. That’s gradually changing. The latest this week from the county:

In the conservative world of pension investing, San Diego County’s retirement fund has long stood out like a Formula One racecar in a fleet of grey four-door sedans.

In recent years, the pension gunned an aggressive and complex mix of investments that backfired during the financial crisis. Now, the fund’s managers are retooling and launching a novel investment strategy that seeks to boost returns by using borrowed money.

The Most Intriguing Political Race You’ve Never Heard Of: Greg Smith had a perfect plan for handing off the county Assessor/Recorder/Clerk’s Office after more than two decades in office. His top dude would take over, and then the young buck waiting in the wings would get his endorsement in the 2010 election.

That’s all gone to pot now with the top dude saying he likes the job and another seasoned political vet sizing up the office as well, setting up some unlikely electoral intrigue at the county.

The Cost of Helping Migrants, and of Dissent: This appears to be a good recipe for getting in trouble: Help migrants find water when crossing the border, and organize a virtual protest to shut down the UC president’s website. That’s what’s landed UCSD professor Ricardo Dominguez in hot water, and what has students coming to his support (UT).

You Can Make Money Off of Loving Beer: A local internet guru and farmer have learned the same lesson from San Diego’s burgeoning beer industry: If you can’t brew it, join it.

The Housing Rally Is Back On: That’s what Rich Toscano believes.

We’ve Got a Creative and Mature Audience: As evidenced by the submissions in our caption contest for a photo of Supervisor Bill Horn — on our site and our Facebook page.

Coffee Collection: Curl Up With These Tales Over a Cup of Joe

Come On, Push It Along: Good old fashioned wire pushcarts are a fundamental part of life in City Heights, as Adrian Florido explains in this series of on-the-street vignettes. That sparked a case of pushcart envy, and a compelling explanation.

Seriously, Try Not to Laugh: The day we visited Innovations Academy to do a story about their unique approach to discipline, the kids were debating the finer points of the unwritten doctrine of You Smelt It, You Dealt It.

Details Make a Story: Kelly Bennett paints a vivid picture of life inside a Barrio Logan café/tattoo parler/barbershop in her monthly exploration of the things we do for money.

The Church’s Sex-Abuse Cases: Not Over?: Two men are suing the San Diego Catholic diocese, saying the 2007 settlement didn’t shut the door on seeking claims against the church for abuse at the hands of priests.

Fact Check Blog: San Diego was full of misinformation this week. We turned up a FALSE and a FALSE and a FALSE.

Number of the Week:


The amount you can win in our essay contest. If you’re in high school.

Quote of the Week

“It makes me feel embarrassed. And I didn’t really do it.”

The student protesting the employment of the phrase, “You smelt it, you dealt it” at Innovations Academy.


Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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