SACRAMENTO, June 9, 2017 – The California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) has selected Bradford and Randall Lange of LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards as the 2017 Grower of the Year and Al Scheid of Scheid Vineyards Inc. as the 2017 Leader the Year. The awards will be presented at the 2017 CAWG Awards of Excellence Program on July 17 in Napa.
The Grower of the Year award is the highest honor given by CAWG. It is bestowed to an individual, family or company that represents an outstanding example of excellence in viticulture and management. The recipient is an efficient and successful producer of quality winegrapes, recognized for innovation and leadership within the industry.
Bradford and Randall Lange are the co-founders of LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards in Acampo. The twin brothers are fourth generation Lodi growers who have been farming together since 1974. They are innovative growers who focus on advanced technologies and sustainable winegrowing to farm and make quality wines. Bradford and Randall have been actively involved in the industry for four decades and continue to be front and center with key issues affecting the winegrape industry.
The Leader of the Year award recognizes a grower whose record of exceptional leadership has benefitted California’s wine industry and is an inspiration to others. The recipient has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to issues of significant importance to winegrape growers and has achieved lasting changes to promote and protect the interests of California winegrape growers.
Al Scheid is the chairman of Scheid Vineyards Inc. in Greenfield. His leadership legacy is that of a visionary pioneer who co-founded two influential organizations, the California Association of Winegrape Growers and Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association; was instrumental in building a successful Central Coast winegrape growing industry; and grew his own namesake company into a fully-integrated winery operation. He was also part of a group that pushed for the creation of the California Grape Crush Report, an invaluable industry tool.
“Al, Bradford, Randall and their families are exceptional role models with their forward-thinking and sustainable winegrape growing practices,” said CAWG President John Aguirre. “They have also gone above and beyond as powerful advocates for winegrape industry issues. We are grateful to them for their decades-long involvement with CAWG and all that they have done for our organization.”
2017 CAWG GROWER OF THE YEAR
Bradford and Randall Lange
LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards
Not many California farm families have been in agriculture for more than 100 years. Bradford and Randall Lange and their families have built on a rich agricultural heritage that dates back to the 1870s and raised the bar as modern, innovative growers, stewards of the land and strong industry advocates. In doing so, they intend to create a business that will last another 100 years.
THE LANGETWINS STORY
The twin brothers are fourth generation Lodi growers who have carried on the family’s passion for sustainable farming. In 1974, they purchased 120 acres of family property to farm together. They also managed vineyards for other growers. Eventually, their two-person family business expanded to a nine-person family crew that includes Randall’s wife, Charlene; Bradford’s wife, Susan; and fifth generation children, which includes Marissa, Aaron, Philip, Kendra and Joseph.
LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards is based in Acampo and farms in San Joaquin, Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties. The operation grows 23 varieties in the Lodi, Clarksburg and Clements Hills appellations. In 2006, the families launched a new endeavor – their own estate winery and custom crush facility. The winery crushed 30,000 tons in 2016.
“Sustainable winegrowing is a way of life for our family.” LangeTwins is a respected leader in sustainable winegrowing. Their innovative sustainability practices – which have increased year after year since the 1980s – focus on habitat restoration and conservation; renewable energy production; integrated pest management; and soil, air and water management. The extensive list includes nesting boxes for owls and birds, no-till native cover crops, water conserving drip irrigation systems and hedgerows for soil stability. There are advancements such as photovoltaic solar systems at their state-of-the-art winery, viticulture headquarters and several water pumps. As growers, they continue to pursue new technologies to farm more efficiently, which includes mechanization in the vineyards.
LangeTwins has been recognized for its sustainability practices by several organizations. They were the first recipients of the 2006 California Leopold Conservation Award, which honors growers who demonstrate outstanding stewardship and management of natural resources. They also received the 2014 International BRIT Award of Excellence in Sustainable Winegrowing.
“The Langes have created a legacy in Lodi farming and played a significant role in advancing the recognition of the Lodi area’s agricultural prominence, especially in viticulture,” Jerry Fry said. “The family has worked on and promoted mechanization, using research and advanced technologies. While doing so, they’ve emphasized their concern for the environment, sustainability and the community.”
INDUSTRY AND COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP
In 1991, Bradford and Randall were part of a group of growers who founded the Lodi Winegrape Commission (LWC). The commission represents 750 winegrape growers farming nearly 110,000 acres. They were also involved in creating Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing Program, California’s first sustainable viticulture program.
The brothers have given their time and resources to numerous groups, serving in leadership positions for many of them. They include Lodi District Grape Growers Association, Wine Industry Coordinating Council, Winegrape Growers of America, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, Central Valley Farmland Trust, San Joaquin County Resource Conservation District, San Joaquin County Farm Bureau and the California Agricultural Leadership Program. As longtime CAWG members, they continue to be front and center with advocacy efforts and key issues affecting the winegrape industry. Randall is a past chair of the CAWG board. They have instilled the importance of volunteerism in their children, who are also active in the industry. The Langes also support local projects and groups and have made significant contributions for the betterment of their community.
ON THE AWARD
“We are honored to receive CAWG’s 2017 Grower of the Year Award. LangeTwins prides itself not only on a strong commitment to family values, but in our belief that sustainable winegrowing methods are critical for both our vineyard and our community,” the Lange brothers said. “For five generations, our family has been growing winegrapes in the Lodi appellation, and it’s been an honor to serve on the CAWG board and help advocate, protect and promote growers’ interests. We look forward to continued collaboration to advance the California wine business.”
2017 CAWG LEADER OF THE YEAR
Scheid Vineyards Inc.
Al Scheid’s leadership legacy is that of a visionary pioneer who helped create two influential winegrape grower organizations, was instrumental in building a successful Central Coast winegrape growing industry and grew his own namesake company into a fully-integrated winery operation.
THE SCHEID STORY
Al first bought land in Monterey County in early 1972. He was a Harvard Business School graduate, an investment banker and entrepreneur. For the first 15 years he operated Monterey Farming Corporation, the general partner of a partnership that sold its production to large wineries for use in their own brands. By the early 1990s, Al had bought out the last of his original limited partners and acquired an additional vineyard.
Today, Scheid Vineyards owns 11 estate vineyards totaling 4,000 acres in the Salinas Valley, a state-of-the-art winery with a crushing capacity of over 30,000 tons, and a smaller winery for the boutique Scheid label. Scheid’s business focus is on providing grapes, wine and custom crush services to other wineries, as well as a growing branded goods operation.
Over the years Scheid Vineyards became a teamwork-style family business with Al, now chairman, and his children. Scott, president and CEO, joined in 1986; Heidi, senior vice president, joined in 1992; and Tyler, project manager, joined in 2011. Longtime employees are also considered family. Kurt Gollnick, chief operating officer, has been with Scheid since 1988, and Dave Nagengast, director of winemaking, joined in 2002. Vineyard and winery crew members have also worked for Scheid for decades. Al may have been the pioneer, but he gives credit to his entire staff for their leadership, dedication and work ethic.
CAWG and the California Grape Crush Report exist, in part, because of Al’s work and influence. He was one of the co-founders of CAWG in 1974 and served on the board for the next 12 years, including as chair from 1978 to 1979. He was also instrumental in advocating for the Grape Crush Report.
After CAWG had formed, Sen. Clare Berryhill authored a bill that would create the Grape Crush Report. Scheid and others testified in support of the bill, and, together with Berryhill, worked nonstop to persuade legislators to vote for it. It was a battle – not only dealing with legislators, but also with wineries – but SB 1609 ultimately passed and the Grape Crush Report became an invaluable industry tool. Al spent many years deeply involved in issues pertaining to the report, such as an attempt to alter the report several years later in which CAWG prevailed. “It was a bit wild for the first 15 years of CAWG, with no shortage of adventures,” Scheid said.
In those early years, CAWG faced the challenge of growing its membership and raising funds. To save CAWG from folding, Al challenged the board to pay a year’s dues in advance. They then hired Bob Hartzell as president. He and Al embarked on a successful membership drive. Their work was supported by early CAWG leaders – Jerry Fry, Ron Metzler, John Kautz, John Ledbetter and others – who understood the value of CAWG’s mission.
“Al played a significant role in the early stages of CAWG,” Fry said. “He gave us perspectives from his outside business experiences we may not have had as an organization of strictly winegrape growers. Al believed in a unified wine business and worked diligently to achieve that goal. Al and his family have continued to be at the forefront of CAWG leadership.”
Al’s children and Gollnick have continued the tradition of serving on and/or chairing the CAWG board. In addition to CAWG, Al was a founding member of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association. He was also the first grower to join Wine Institute in the mid-1970s; one of his goals was to get the growers and wineries to communicate better. Scott Scheid and Gollnick have since served on that board.
ON THE AWARD
“I was surprised and honored to receive the Leader of the Year Award from CAWG,” Al said. “As a founder of the organization, the second chairman and longtime board member, I know the honor of the recognition. Having been off the board for about 30 years makes being selected all the more gratifying. Scheid Vineyards believes deeply in the important role CAWG plays as the united voice of the grape grower. As a company, we have committed substantial time and energy to the CAWG mission – first me, then Kurt, Scott, Heidi and now Tyler serving as active and engaged board members since CAWG’s inception. We all served gladly and with pride. I thank the board of CAWG for bestowing this honor.”