Take Me Out to the Ballpark Vineyard

Raley Field in Sacramento gets a Cabernet vineyard within a home run's reach. It's a Triple-A farm-to-table venture, but can it make major league wine?
Raley Stadium, home of the Sacramento River Cats / Photo courtesy Sacramento River Cats, Facebook

A day at the ballpark may conjure up images of fountain drinks and frosty beers, but the next time you attend a Sacramento River Cats baseball game, you’ll see something surprising from the outfield: a vineyard.

Cabernet Sauvignin Vines being planted
Cabernet Sauvignon Vines being planted

Thanks to Clarksburg’s Bogle Vineyards, the River Cats (a minor-league baseball affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) now have a vineyard just outside the right field wall.

Planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, the vineyard measures 85 by 16 feet. They are anticipating fruit by 2019 and, as Bogle Vineyards President Warren Bogle says, 2–3 years after that the grapes will be destined for the bottle.

So how much wine could come from this vineyard? “We planted enough grapes to make one barrel,” Bogle says.

He adds that it’s too early to tell whether the wine will be bottled separately or blended into their existing Cabernet. The deciding factor will be whether the quality of grapes coming from the vineyard merit what would essentially be a reserve bottling.

Deep in the outfield...
Deep in the outfield…

But the mission for the vineyard is clear. “We want to emphasize this is a living vineyard,” Bogle says. “We’re going to do everything we do to our estate vineyards.”

Left to right: Jody Bogle, River Cats president Jeff Savage, Warren Bogle and Ryan Bogle
Left to right: Jody Bogle, River Cats president Jeff Savage, Warren Bogle and Ryan Bogle

“It’s great to have the vineyard in a venue like that for people who might not get to see how a vineyard works. They can see the changes in the vineyard and say, ‘Hey, that’s where wine comes from.’”

Published on May 26, 2017
Topics: Sports + Wine
About the Author
Jameson Fink

A two-time SAVEUR Blog Award finalist, Fink launched his wine blog and began a career in retail wine in 2004. Fink has been a wine editor at Foodista, Grape Collective, and msn.com. He recently relocated from Seattle to New York City and is passionate about enjoying Champagne with popcorn.

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