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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.”