Wine can extremely intimidating and most people (us included) usually just pick bottles based how cool a label looks. A couple years ago we happened to accidentally pick up a bottle of Bogle Essential Red and it’s now our go-to Friday night (or really any night) wine.
We were excited to reach out to Bogle for the wine alone, but then we found out that they’re family run for over 3 generations and do it all sustainably! Now we buy double the wine…
We’ve partnered with them this month because 1. we love their wine 2. we really love their price 3. they’re family run 4. they care about the environment. We wanted to learn more and loved chatting with Jody Bogle about her family’s legacy and all things wine. Thanks for answering all our questions, Jody!
Huckle & Goosers, meet Bogle:
Congrats on 3 generations of running Bogle! How many family members are still involved in the vino biz?
Currently, there are three: myself, my brother Warren and my brother Ryan all work hands-on, in the day-to-day management of the winery. Since the first vines were planted by our grandfather and father way back in 1968, we have always been committed to keeping the business in the family. Our parents were really instrumental in building the winery in the early years, when the offices were in our house and production meetings were held at our dining room table. But since they have both passed on, we have all come back to Clarksburg. And what’s great is that we all have our own niche in the company. Warren is our President and vineyard manager, which means he farms all our grape vineyards. Ryan is our CFO, aka: the numbers guy, making sure everything adds up at the end of the day. And I’m the people person…hospitality, events, consumer relations, the wine club…all the fun stuff! We also have about 12 crew members who have been with us for over 20 years! Our winemaker, Eric Aafedt, is one of those people. He’s like another brother to us. And Pearl, who helps at the tasting room, has been with us for over 45 years! She’s definitely a part of our family.
We’re impressed you choose to grow grapes with integrity and a genuine concern for sustainability. Tell us more.
Because we’ve been farming in this region since the late 1800’s, starting with row crops and orchards before the grape vines, we know that certain things must be a priority if we are going to farm here for generations to come. Warren has all of our estate vineyards certified by a third party organization, Certified Green, which is rigorous in its process. Our winery has also been designed with energy and water efficiency in mind. Taking care of the land and being good stewards is the most important thing we can do. After all, not only do we work here, but we live here too, with our families.
One thing we love about your wines is that they’re balanced and consistent. We know you have a special process and we’re always impressed by phrases like “aged in oak barrels” and “vinified separately” and then realize we have no idea what this actually means or why it makes a difference. Tell us about all these elements during the wine-making process that make Bogle wines special.
It’s hard to know where to start! Of course, in the vineyard, right? Each vineyard of grapes is harvested and brought to the winery separately, where it is crushed, pressed, fermented and aged independently from every other vineyard. Many wineries will combine all their chardonnay fields or merlot fields into one big soup, but we don’t. This allows us to monitor quality all the way back to the vineyard and its growing season.
Once the wines are made, they are all aged slightly differently, depending on the type of wine. We use only 100% American oak barrels in the aging of our Chardonnay and all of our red wines, including our Essential Red, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. American oak imparts slightly spicy notes like baking spices of clove, nutmeg and vanilla to the wines. Aging in oak barrels also softens some of the tannin structures that can make a wine too tart or dry on the finish. We believe that nothing can replace the use of an oak barrel in making quality wines.
Because the holiday season is coming up, give us a peek at what it looks like for your family. Do copious amounts of wine flow? Any fun traditions?
There is nothing more special than the holidays! Friends and family around the table, more open wine bottles than guests, Grandma’s mashed potato casserole…yes, to all of those things! Since we’ve all got young kiddos, the holidays really revolve around them these days: stumping around to find the perfect tree, then decorating while hot apple cider mulls on the stove, the fire crackles and holiday music plays.
We know harvest time is huge for you guys, but what about winter? Do you mostly sit around the office? As you know we’re big on seasons here at H&G headquarters, what are the major tasks during your spring, summer, and fall at the vineyard?
Harvest is definitely the most exciting season around the winery, and the most crucial as we race to get the fruit picked before we have any inclement weather. But really, it seems that we are busy all the time. Believe it or not, Warren is back in the fields tending vines before the new year hits. Finishing and bottling the wines happens all year round, and there is a new crop of whites wines, like our Sauvignon Blanc and our Rosé, that are bottled for release in the spring. Our tasting room is open 7 days a week and we have many fun events that keep us busy, especially our summer concert series called Friday Alfresco. Every Friday from July through Labor Day, people come out to enjoy live music, local food trucks and their favorite wine on our Home Ranch lawn. I love this event because all the proceeds go to a different non-profit organization every week, so of course it’s great to give back to our community, and even better to enjoy a glass of wine while you do it!
And because it seems way fun in movies, does anyone get to smash grapes with their feet? Do the kids have chores around the vineyard?
At least once during harvest, Warren will bring a grape bin to the Home Ranch so we can all get our feet in there and stomp. (None of that goes into any bottles, don’t worry!) As kids we all grew up working in the fields during our summer vacations from school and on weekends. Our kids are pretty small still, but I’ve let my brother know that I want him to find a job out there for my kids when they are old enough. It is important for the next generation to see everything that goes into each bottle of wine…from the pruning in the field to the corking of the bottle. So many people contribute to this company, and we are grateful that they are part of our family.