Bogle Vineyards Takes a River-Friendly Approach to Winemaking
In California, water is more precious than sunshine. The state has experienced years of crippling drought. Thankfully, an increasing number of vintners are making strides to reduce the amount of water they use to grow grapes and operate their winemaking facilities.
Take Bogle Vineyards. A decade ago, the company decided to get certified as a sustainable winery through the LODI/California Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing program. The certification requires that winegrowers meet strict standards for managing pests naturally, powering their equipment efficiently, improving soil quality and using water responsibly. In celebration of summer adventures and Bogle Vineyards’ commitment to environmental sustainability, the winery has made a donation to support American Rivers’ mission to protect the rivers that provide clean water, recreation and a connection to the great outdoors.
“In our hearts, we are farmers,” says Jody Bogle, one of the three siblings who operate the 50-year-old family business, now one of the largest wineries in the United States. Jody and her siblings, Ryan and Warren, grew up in the Sacramento Delta — an expansive tidal marshland at the confluence of California’s two largest rivers, the San Joaquin and Sacramento. The Delta’s quilt of islands, which are separated by narrow creeks called sloughs, is one of the most productive agricultural zones in the country. For six generations, the Bogle family has worked this land, growing corn, wheat and, beginning in 1968, wine grapes.
“We know that clean, abundant water is what keeps our land fertile and alive,” Jody says. “We believe we have a responsibility to keep it that way for our kids and grandkids.”
In addition to making sure they irrigate their 1,900 acres only during dry weather cycles, the Bogles also installed a high-efficiency drip irrigation. They also use low-water nozzles and recapture the water when spraying down tanks. Plus, they recycle 95 percent of the winery’s solid waste and have introduced falcons, hawks and owls to keep pests in check.
At first, the Bogles didn’t think their customers would care that they were implementing sustainability techniques. But the response was overwhelmingly positive.
“It turned out our customers care as much as we do about how we use natural resources,” Ryan Bogle adds. “We have received incredible feedback from people who loved the fact that they could get a good wine at a good price — and not have to sacrifice their environmental ethics. They want to support us because they believe we’re doing the right thing.”
The family didn’t stop there: Bogle Vineyards has become a leader in the effort to influence California’s wine industry toward more Earth-sensitive practices. Bogle, which purchases grapes from vineyards across California, asks its growing partners to pursue sustainable certification, paying a bonus to farmers who grow and harvest grapes in an environmentally responsible way. As a result, 92 percent of grapes crushed during Bogle’s 2017 vintage are certified-sustainable.
“American Rivers is proud to partner with Bogle Vineyards, a company that demonstrates a significant commitment to environmental sustainability — and that has a deep connection to keeping our rivers healthy and our water clean for generations to come,” says Bob Irvin, President and CEO of American Rivers.
Learn more about rivers and how you can protect them by visiting AmericanRivers.org/MyOutdoors.