Ryan in the News


Ryan O’Connell: educating the public to create affordable housing at How To ADU

ByJon Stojan

PublishedNovember 13, 2023

Photo courtesy Ryan O’Connell

Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.

Amidst the pressing housing shortage, one individual is empowering homeowners to transform the California housing landscape. Meet Ryan O’Connell, the founder of How To ADU, an organization staunchly advocating for affordable housing by promoting Accessory Dwelling Units. ADUs, innovative and compact dwelling units, offer a solution that can be built in existing properties’ backyards. With a passion for housing and a resolve to make a positive difference in the market, Ryan has distinguished himself as an advocate for homeowners seeking to learn more about the many options available to them.

Ryan’s journey into the housing industry began with a flourishing career in the wine industry, where he witnessed firsthand unaffordable living costs displacing local agricultural and hospitality workers. This realization ignited his desire to address social issues in California, including housing inequalities and related equity issues like access to education, good jobs, and health care.

Through his How To ADU YouTube channel, Facebook group, and TikTok account, Ryan shares a wealth of knowledge about ADU planning and building processes. The community began with a few members and has grown to be the largest online community of homeowners in California, with over 40,000 members on Facebook, 55,000 followers on TikTok, and 14,000 subscribers on YouTube. In response to the overwhelming demand for information about new laws and their potential impact on housing, Ryan has emerged as a reliable source of accurate and timely information.

Ryan’s recent video series “Why Affordable Housing Doesn’t Get Built – Housing Watchdogs”  illuminates many barriers to building more affordable housing. Venturing into politics, he reveals instances of bureaucratic mistakes and underhanded politicians who try to block affordable housing initiatives. The series shows real projects and real elected officials and offers a direct insight into the challenges and obstacles faced in pursuing viable, affordable housing solutions, making it a must-watch for those seeking to grasp the multifaceted landscape of the housing crisis prevailing in the United States.

Ryan’s accomplishments in the affordable housing space have been nothing short of extraordinary. Notably, his groundbreaking news coverage in 2022 shed light on the state’s $40,000 ADU grant, sparking a wave of public awareness and leading to a surge in applications. Leveraging his influential platform, he worked for the County of Napa to develop informative videos about their forgivable loan program, effectively ensuring that loan recipients are equipped to be responsible housing providers.

“Education and communication are amongst the biggest challenges in the ADU space,” explains Ryan. The key to overcoming these challenges lies in a crucial interaction between these two factors. A multitude of new zoning laws are constantly being introduced to the legislative landscape, creating a complex web of regulations at the local level. Yet Ryan’s passion for housing advocacy and steadfast determination to disseminate vital information have yielded remarkable results.

From a long-term perspective, Ryan envisions the problem of housing shortages as not merely a California-specific issue but rather a nationwide issue of critical importance. Amid the impending escalation of this problem in various regions throughout the country, Ryan envisions playing a prominent role in solving the problem. Ultimately, he expects the implementation of a decentralized approach in which experts in major cities will lead the charge, guiding their friends and neighbors in the design and construction of ADUs, fostering a more inclusive and democratic housing market.


In this article:Accessory Dwelling UnitsAffordable housingHousing


Jon Stojan is a professional writer based in Wisconsin. He guides editorial teams consisting of writers across the US to help them become more skilled and diverse writers. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

I now believe there is no safe plan in the world we live in

Liz and I decided to escape to London for a relaxing mind clearing weekend. ( yea right )

Apparently the British have decided to emulate their French neighbours by way of a very tourist unfriendly rail strike. All of my preplanned underground voyages were eliminated with the closing of the jubilee and Elizabeth lines. That was after our Stansted express to Liverpool Station ended up being a journey by bus.

We did however make the best of our Saturday with a boat cruise on the Thames and dinner at Louie London where we reminisced about New Orleans with executive chef Slade Rushing formerly of Brennans on Royal Street. We even got treated to a new creative version of southern pecan pie and bananas foster. (He could see I needed the calories)…  I guess it could have been worse and I should be grateful that we can get to a Place like the center of London in less than 4 hours . All in all great little getaway !



We knew it couldn’t last…

After a few quiet nearly protest free years it looks like things will be getting back to “manifestation normality” or possibly worse.

It began earlier this year with the extraordinary rising costs of production for the many French artisans throughout the country. We are not quite ready to replace these small businesses with super stores because of their necessity to the many rural areas.

But that’s nothing compared to the government announcement of the retirement age rising to 65. I have become French enough to assure you that is not going to happen and the protests will only become more common until this goes away.

We are making our travel plans cautiously and suggest all do the same !


We have all incurred numerous set backs during the Covid years and just when I thought things were returning to normal Putin ( Putain ) decided to throw the world in disarray .
The reason I bring this up is that although I noticed the inflation around the world I didn’t anticipate the effect this could have on the French “baguette”.  The price of electricity has actually forced some smaller boulangeries (bakeries) to close certain days during the week or even indefinitely. I dread to think of what might happen if we can’t get our “daily bread” !
One of the main reasons for the French revolution was a shortage of bread so stay tuned . Fortunately our electric bills have remained the same through our due diligence and there is no shortage of wine for our many visitors and friends we see at the vineyard !
BYOB (bring your own baguette) might have a whole new meaning here soon. Cheers !

On behalf of the O’Vineyards Family we wish each and everyone a Joyous Healthy and Prosperous New Year !

The weather here continues to be unusually mild for this time of year but that makes for great working conditions.

We were very fortunate to have some good hard frosts in early December so the vines went dormant allowing us to begin the winter pruning.

With very little rain in the forecast our winter work should  be finished early this year and that is a comforting thought as we hope to be planting a few hectares of new vines in the Spring.

The Spring and Summer 2023 bookings are starting to come in and it looks like things will be getting back to pre covid normality.

We intend to have a relatively quiet winter so we are ready to go when our Visitors return in the Spring !

Hope to see you all soon


This will be my valiant effort to rejuvenate the O’Vineyards blog and hopefully keep it interesting enough to keep you following.

As I mellow with age i find that writing is more satisfying and a bit less strenuous than the field work.

I am posting this on Christmas eve while I sit on our deck sipping a scrumptious claret that I happen to have made myself ( 2006 Reserve ). The temperature is 21 ° (70° F) and considering that Carcassonne is the same latitude as Niagara falls that is kind of amazing.

Christmas day will be our usual feast accompanied by wines from our 2005 vintage and then its back to work on Monday.

We are in the process of setting up a prototype of our new micro winery concept which you can read about on our site. We will be using about 500 SQ FT of our barrel room for the project.

Promise to keep you updated over the coming months!



The wellbeing of our guests is our top priority. We are sorry but due to the current circumstances we are temporarily closed.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event.

Thanks to the healthcare workers, local communities, and governments around the world who are on the front lines working to contain this coronavirus. 

Like all business depending on tourism, we are feeling the impact of this coronavirus event as we remain shuttered through April 25, 2020.

Although we cannot welcome you at the winery for now, we are still able to ship our wine around the world. Please feel free to visit our wine page to support – help your independent winemaking and raise money to fight the coronavirus.

Thank you and looking forward to seeing you at the vineyard very soon!

Today we emptied about 90,000 bottles worth of wine from our French oak barrels. Each barrel is tasted for quality control prior to going into the blend . From time to time some of the barrels don’t make the cut . This control is very time consuming and difficult but somebody has to do it !!!

This older video below will give you more details of the whole process. Cheers!

This brief video was done just to prove I could get inside my tanks!!! Each tank is cleaned several times a year with food friendly acid based products, a pressure washer and good old elbow grease. The finished product even meets the standards of my maniac wife Madame Propre aka Mrs Clean!


Thanks Pierre and Lynsey for visiting us! and Thank you for this original review on TripAdvisor!

beautiful, lovely, elegant, graceful, magnificent, superb, superlative, excellent, wonderful, perfect, tasteful, stylish, refined, distinguished, decorous, aesthetic, lovely, sumptuous, exquisite, welcoming, friendly, convivial, warm-hearted… with “super” and “extra” before each word, and that will describe the beginning of a hint of my recent experience at O’Vineyards.

How to find us

Domaine O’Vineyards, located in the North Arrondissement of Carcassonne, is just minutes from the Carcassonne train station, the Medieval City, and the Carcassonne Airport.
GPS coordinates: 43.259622, 2.340387

Wine, Dine, Relax at our Boutique Vineyard
Unique thing to do in Carcassonne
Wine Cellar. Winery Visits. Wine Tasting.
Wine & Food Pairing

North Arrondissement of Carcassonne
885 Avenue de la Montagne Noire
11620 Villemoustaussou, France
Tel: +33(0) 630 189 910

  1. Best by GPS.
    Follow the signs to Mazamet/ Villemoustaussou using the D118. At the end of the last straight part of D118, you will come to a roundabout with the Dyneff gas station.
  2. Take the exit towards Pennautier. Continue 500m to a small roundabout and go straight over.
  3. Look out for the second road on your right, Avenue des Cévennes which curves up hill (about 1km) to Avenue de la Montagne Noire on the left.
  4. At the last juction, bear left. the road sign “Ave de la Montagne Noire” (confusing as it seems to show a right turn)
  5. After another 500m you will see our red brick color building in the middle of the vines.