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Petite Sirah: Our Heritage Varietal

Petite Sirah: Our Heritage Varietal

Inky. Luscious. Jammy. Ripe. Full-bodied. Delicious.

These are just a few words that have been used to describe our Petite Sirah wine. Award winning is another, with Wine Enthusiast magazine just rating the wine 91 points and a Best Buy! From its beginnings as the very first grape we planted to today carrying the mantle of Bogle’s “heritage” varietal, our Petite Sirah has defied its name to become a favorite of many.

What made a corn farmer take a chance and plant wine grapes in an area known for tomatoes and sugar beets? “Potatoes,” says Warren W. Bogle, grandson and namesake of the winery’s founder. “Our grandpa had been farming seed corn for Dekalb for years, but had given potatoes a try and they didn’t make it. The person who came out to take a look at why they died suggested he try grapes instead.”

Journal entries written by Warren in 1968 document the purchase of grape cuttings, reportedly from the Concannon family in Livermore, and their planting a few months later. What Warren didn’t know was that those first 10 acres would bloom into a large grape growing operation, with grapes sold to wineries such as Charles Krug and Wente Bros. In 1978, the family decided to bottle Petite Sirah themselves for the first time. “It was just a couple hundred cases,” says Warren, who was a kid at the time, “but it was a start.”

Since those first years, more and more vines were planted, with nearly 200 acres of Petite Sirah now being farmed by Bogle in the Clarksburg area. “Petite grows really well here,” says Warren, president and vineyard director. “But it still takes quite a bit of work in the vineyards with shoot thinning, leaf pulling, cluster dropping and the like to maintain the rich berry flavors and mellow tannins that we like from Clarksburg Petite.”

Today, Petite Sirah plays a huge role across our lineup of wines. “As the backbone of our popular blends Essential Red and Phantom, the grape adds complexity, depth and ageability,” says winemaker Eric Aafedt. But this unique varietal is also versatile, and can take shape as a lighter style rosé, a single vineyard reserve designate and even our ruby-style port. “Clarksburg Petite Sirah really is exceptional,” remarks Eric. “It’s funny to think if Warren had never planted it here, we wouldn’t have this history and legacy with this grape, our ‘heritage’ varietal. We’re pretty glad he did.”

Bogle Family Tree: Barbra Calhoun, Tasting Room Crew Member

Bogle Family Tree: Barbra Calhoun, Tasting Room Crew Member

You may know that Bogle Winery is owned and operated by the 3rd generation of the Bogle family, grandkids of founder Warren Bogle. But we have an extended family as well. In the months to come, newsletters will feature an employee who has worked at Bogle, and truly has become part of the family…

Barbra Calhoun’s story starts like many of us fresh out of college. We search for a job in the hope of finding a place to stay for a bit and gain experience for the next big landing spot. In Barb’s case, she found Bogle Winery…and never really left.

While studying for her Master’s in Viticulture from Fresno State, Barb heard about a new winery close to Sacramento, which was in need of someone to run the soon-to-be-opened tasting room. She applied and got the job at Bogle Winery. The only problem was the tasting room wasn’t quite built yet, so she was tasked with a variety of odd jobs as a cellar rat.

“I have never worked so hard in my life,” Barb recalls about her first days at the winery. “I was moving large hoses, driving forklifts, cleaning the crush pad and just about anything that was needed. But despite the physical demands, I had so much fun coming to work every day.”

Barb spent 6 months in the cellar before returning to law school full time. But once she graduated, she found herself drawn to Bogle yet again, where the winemaking lab drew her attention and she managed the day to day testing of wines from harvest to vinification to bottling. In those days, Barb also enjoyed pouring wine at various winery events, including the wildly popular Open House every summer.

In 2001, Barb left Bogle to take a full-time position with the Department of Homeland Security. Starting as an Adjudication Officer with Citizenship and Immigration Services, Barb is now District Training Officer where she trains staff on all aspects of Immigration Law. While her position with the Federal Government continually challenges her, Barb has held onto her love of the wine and food lifestyle by working weekends pouring wine for customers in Bogle’s tasting room in Clarksburg. May of 2016 will mark her 20th year with Bogle Vineyards.

“Both jobs offer me such a great balance. Wine has always been a part of my life and the Bogles are an extended family to me, so I’ve just really enjoyed myself all these years.”

Barb loves connecting with Bogle customers, and is seen pouring here at our annual Open House in 2002.



From January 11th through February 9th, our 19 year old tasting room will be undergoing a face lift! We’ll be open during construction, and pouring our wines downstairs in our barrel room. It can get chilly down there, especially this time of year, so be prepared if you plan to visit the winery in the next few weeks.

Thanks and we appreciate your patience!