The story of Oak Ridge Winery is one of pioneers. Not only because it is the oldest operating
winery in Lodi, California, or because it’s five generations strong in farming and winemaking, but it’s run by a mostly female team.
The Story Begins
In 1906, Angelo Maggio arrived in Lodi with his family, immigrating from the Italian coast of Genova. In 1928 he planted on the land where he lived. Oak Ridge, formerly called East Side Winery, was built in 1934 to grow grapes for winemakers. In 2002, the Maggio and Reynolds families purchased and restored the winery from the ground up and then rebranded the winery and vineyards as Oak Ridge.
Angelo, his son Roy, and eventually his grandson Rudy, were part of the cooperative and when the facility was placed on the market in 2002, Rudy knew it was time to expand from growing grapes to making wine.
The Next Generation
Today, Maggio’s three daughters – Lisa, Shelly, and Raquel – own and operate Oak Ridge. It has several brands including 1906 Vintners, Blazon, Maggio, Maggio Estates, Moss Roxx, OZV, Old Soul, T.N.T., and Three Girls — named after the personalities of the three leaders.
The sisters grew up in the vineyards and have Laura Chadwell as the Chief Winemaker. There are almost 40 women who in leadership roles across the winery from the tasting room to weigh master to HR to marketing and women make up half the sales team.
And the wines aren’t fussy. They are made to be drinkable, showcase unique personality of the women behind them, to celebrate women and to be accessible.
I tried three wines:
2020 3 Girls Chardonnay (The Mediator) is named after the first born, Lisa, who is known for being a peacekeeper and realist. I tasted oak, pear, vanilla, and pineapple.
2020 3 Girls Sauvignon Blanc (The Instigator) is named after Shelly, the middle sister known who is known for being a free spirit with the fun personality. I tasted pear and citrus with a nice acidity.
2019 3 Girls Cabernet Sauvignon (The Influencer) is named after the youngest sibling, Raquel who is known for having a bold personality and is an activist. It was a full-bodied wine with notes of oak, vanilla, chocolate, blackberry jam, black cherry, and spice.
The family is also dedicated to preserving the estate vineyards they farm. All 2,500 acres of estate vineyards are farmed in accordance with LODI RULES, a third-party certification created for responsibility and sustainability.
It’s great to see a women-owned winery working to influence other female winemakers in a region known for have just a few. And the storied history and generational influence that Oak Ridge has had on the Lodi region is a story unto itself.