River Cats and Bogle Vineyards team up for extraordinary vineyard.
WRITTEN BY DEBBIE ARRINGTON
Photo by Debbie Arrington
Perched at the top of Home Run Hill at Raley Field in West Sacramento is a one-of-a-kind vineyard. Believed to be the only wine grapes grown inside a professional sports stadium, the fruits on these vines are destined to produce a rare vintage, celebrating homegrown baseball as well as local wine.
Ballpark to bottle
The Bogle family of Bogle Vineyards in Clarksburg, located a half hour from Raley Field, provided the cabernet sauvignon vines, handled the planting, and eventually will harvest and process the grapes, which grow on drip irrigation.
“We’re so excited about it,” says Jody Bogle, co-owner of Bogle Vineyards with her brothers Warren and Ryan. “It’s the first time we’ve ever done [any wine growing] off site. No one has ever heard of planting a vineyard inside a professional baseball park.”
Planted in May 2017, the 30 vines are expected to produce their first harvest in fall 2019.
Jody Bogle, left, and Ryan Bogle of Bogle Vineyards put the final touches
on one of 30 cabernet sauvignon vines planted at Raley Field.
Photo courtesy of Bogle Vineyards
“Jody and Warren (Bogle) brought this idea to us,” says vice president of partner services Greg Coletti of the River Cats, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, who play at Raley Field. “It’s turned out very nice.”
Planting the vines wasn’t easy, notes Bogle.
“My brother Warren thought he’d do it all by hand,” she says. “He tried a post-hole digger, but the soil was in very bad shape, very compacted. After 45 minutes, he had to call in the heavy artillery.”
Covering 85-by-16 feet along the top of a grassy knoll overlooking right field, the vineyard is part of the ballpark’s edible garden, showcasing the Sacramento area’s local bounty. Engraved with fun facts, a row of barrel tops notes the wine-baseball connection between Bogle and Raley Field.
Bogle is the official wine partner of the River Cats. Besides tending the vineyard, Bogle added a wine cart to ballpark concessions this season.
“The vineyard gets a lot of foot traffic,” Coletti says. “This summer, visitors saw the first baby grapes. We’ve held some special events (next to the vineyard), too, such as a wine tasting.”
The vineyard will produce about a half-barrel of wine, Bogle says, “not enough for the crowd at Raley Field, but it will be special.”
“We’ll probably bottle it and give it to our partners,” Coletti adds. “It’s pretty cool — wine grown right here at Raley Field.”
Debbie Arrington is a freelance writer in Sacramento.
Ballpark visitors can see the vineyard year round.
Raley Field, 400 Ballpark Drive, West Sacramento • 916-376-4676 • Raleyfield.com