Bogle Vineyards in Clarksburg is a hometown gem with national clout. Named American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast in 2019, Bogle has been producing great wines at crowd-pleasing prices for more than 50 years. We spoke with Jody Bogle about the past, present and future of her family’s award-winning business.
Congratulations on being named American Winery of the Year. How did it feel to receive that news?
My family is completely honored. My brothers and I are the third generation to run the winery. I know that our parents and grandparents never would have imagined that someday we’d be receiving this award. There’s a lot of pride in carrying on with what our grandparents started and what we watched our parents build.
Bogle has been around since 1968, which is an accomplishment in itself. What’s the secret to its longevity?
First, we would not be here today without our employees. We have a tremendous group of people who come to work every day with the real desire and dedication to make the very best wine they can. The other thing is that we have put a priority on quality since we first started making wine. Overdelivering at the price that we’re at is something we’ve tried to achieve with every single vintage, and the wines just keep getting better and better.
Do you have a favorite memory of growing up around the vineyard?
When I was a kid, the offices were in our house. Our dad would be out in the vineyards and managing the fields. I used to go out and ride on the tractor with him. Or we’d get on the harvester with our grandfather. Our mom would do the books at night. It was just a fledgling company then, but watching our parents devote everything they had to it was a tremendous way to grow up.
I suspect many people have idealized notions about the lifestyle associated with owning a winery. What is the reality?
It’s just like any other job. My brothers and I all have young families, so we’re trying to drive carpool and run someone’s lunch to school when they forget it and get to soccer games, and in between we’re taking meetings and checking in with our winemaking team. My brothers and I are all very hands on, so we work with all of the departments to make sure they continue to feel that family connection.
What’s next for Bogle? Do you envision the next generation going into the business?
We all hope that some of our kids will be interested in the business, but it certainly isn’t assumed. Our kids are all so young: The oldest of the cousins is just 14. We’re allowing them the opportunity to be involved in the company if they’d like to. I worked out in the fields as a kid and hated every minute of it and couldn’t wait to go away to college. But that family pull—that pride in seeing your name on a bottle of wine and knowing all the hard work that went into that—is pretty powerful. So I hope some of our little ones will come back some day.