February 20th, 2011

After these few years that I’ve spent writing to you about California’s many wineries there is something that I would like to say: To be born into a winemaking family must be among the greatest fates known to man. If I believed in things like karma and reincarnation, I would have to say that the heirs to these operations must have brilliant, shiny, clean souls. As I read about one after the other family owned and operated winery I have to admit, finally, that it makes me crazy with envy.

And, yeah, I’m sure in every case there are the stereotypical complications of working with family. Some form of resistance to following a pre-determined path, maybe, or else the special tensions you can only find when blood is shared. But, come on, then Dad pours out a bottle of something extra special that will never be found in a store, takes the rebellious little brat out onto a patio overlooking one of the world’s most beautiful, bountiful valleys and lets the ideas of natural wonder and eternal job security mingle with ever-so-slight intoxication. Done. And, oh, how I wish that that resistor were me!

Just look at the Bogle Winery, for example. Patty Bogle, owner and winery manager. She seems to be the mother. Warren Bogle, president, vineyard manager and oldest child. Jody Bogle, customer affairs, international sales, wine club manager and middle child, the only girl. And, finally, Ryan Bogle, vice president and the baby of the family. All the children are well-educated, advanced degrees galore, and all of them returned home to let those educations serve the family business. These jobs never were and never will be available to anyone outside the family, the only way in is birth and none of us happened to be lucky enough.

At the end of this tirade I’m glad, at least, to have a job that allows me to drink their wine for free. You can too, whenever you’re here staying with us!

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