California’s “Down to Earth Month” in April celebrates sustainable winegrowing. As a result, many events will take place across the state to honor this climate-friendly practice. But, I can’t think of a better winery to celebrate than one from my own backyard – Bogle Vineyards.
This family-owned winery received the Green Medal Leader Award in 2018. Given by a coalition of seven California winegrowing organizations, the award recognizes the vineyard that best demonstrates environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically viable winegrowing practices.
The Bogle family has farmed in the Clarksburg region of the Sacramento Delta for six generations. For the first three generations, the family grew primarily row-crops. Then Warren Vernon Bogle, the fourth-generation farmer, planted the farm’s first grapes in 1968. From 1968 – 1978, the farm grew grapes for other large winemakers. But in 1978, Bogle bottled for the first time, and the rest is history. Now, Bogle Vineyards sells more than 2 million cases of wine around the world. It ships to all 50 states and more than 40 countries.
Today, sixth generation farmers and third-generation winegrowers Warren, Jody, and Ryan Bogle run the business. Warren, named for his grandfather, returned to the ranch in 1997. He took over as vineyard manager. Jody came back to the family business in 1999. She managers customer relations and the winery’s new tasting room. Ryan, the finance manager, returned to the business in 2007. With the same passion as their prior generations, the three siblings work the day-to-day operations of the winery.
Warren, Jody, and Ryan Bogle not only continued growing a successful wine business, the winery now includes its own energy-efficient production facility on nearby Hamilton Road. They maintain a worldwide reputation for consistently high-quality wines at an affordable price. According to Warren, “Our wine remains consistent year after year because most of our growers and staff have been with us for 20 plus years.”
Why Sustainable Winegrowing is Important
The owners at Bogle Vineyards take pride in their viticulture practices that balance environmental, social, and economic goals. Being a responsible winery extends beyond farming to every aspect of the business. They were first certified green under the standards set by the Lodi Rules for sustainable winegrowing in California.
Certified growers must implement measurable practices that govern the management of business activities, human resources and ecosystems including soil, water, and pest control. Annual independent audits to verify the sustainable practices are conducted under the auspices of Lodi Winegrape Commission and the Protected Harvest nonprofit organization.
The family truly believes in the program. They say that a lot of these practices were already in place but not documented. So, when Lodi Rules opened up certification to other California wineries in 2008, Bogle Vineyards happily signed on.
Green Medal Leader
Now Bogle is proud to be a Certified Green Winery under the California Rules AND recognized with the Green Medal Leader Award in 2018. Like the Lodi Rules, the California Rules for Sustainability distinguish growers who follow strict guidelines in their farming practices.
Although the family grows 1900 acres of grapes, they purchase a majority of grapes from other growers in California. In 2017, Bogle required all 91 of their growers to implement the California Rules for Sustainability standards. Therefore, by 2018, 96% of all the grapes crushed at Bogle ended up being Certified Green.
Jody explains, “We are committed as a family, keeping true to our values, and remaining good stewards of the land.” Warren adds that the family is concerned about what they are doing today and thinking ahead to the next six generations.
Concern for the environment and the future even went into the thought process for building their new, energy, and water-efficient production facility. Jody says the winery outgrew their old production facility 20 years ago. At that time, they were outsourcing by storing barrels of wine at other wineries in California. The family started planning the new facility 15 years ago and worked with PG&E to design the new building. In selecting the location, Jody said, “it was important to keep it here in Clarksburg where our family has been growing grapes for generations.” Ryan says the new facility “got a lot of trucks off the road by centralizing the production, and the quality of the wine has only gotten better.”
Bogle Vineyards also gives back to the Sacramento community. The winery pours at numerous charitable, fund-raising events. And they donate 30,000 cases of wine a year to local non-profits.
If You Visit
You’ll find Bogle Vineyards nestled between the Sacramento River and Elk Slough in the peaceful, bucolic Sacramento Delta. The tasting room is hidden away in vineyards off Highway 160, just south of Clarksburg. Look closely for the Bogle sign on the side of the roadway; it’s easy to miss the turnoff to this local treasure.
A beautiful panorama of grapevines surrounds the winery, tasting room, and picnic area. Although the tasting room was closed for the past year due to COVID-19, Bogle is re-opening it by reservation beginning May 1, 2021.
Bogle Vineyards offers a fun, friendly, and educational approach to wine tasting. Visitors can relax while enjoying Bogle wines in the tasting room or on wooden tables and chairs spread across the grassy expanse of the picnic area.
Bogle also represents the iconic Sacramento Delta agricultural family business. Today all three siblings remain actively involved in farming, winemaking, business management and hospitality. They continue to treasure time-honored family traditions of good stewardship of the land and sustainable wine production for future generations.
The next time you head to the Sacramento Delta, take some time to stop at Bogle Vineyards. Enjoy a glass of their aromatic Reserve Chardonnay or the jammy, full-bodied Phantom Red Blend. You will know the wine you are drinking, made by a family who cares about the environment and the community, will continue their winery’s sustainability practices well into the future.
This article first appeared in Sacramento Lifestyle Magazine in August 2016. The article was co-written with Gary Baker.