Sep 25, 2017Dual driven vineyard
Twins Randall and Brad Lange are fourth-generation growers and namesake of LangeTwins, a large vineyard operation in four counties based near Lodi that was recently honored by growers across California.
LangeTwins was presented with the 2017 Grower of the Year award at a California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) event in July. Each year, the award is given to an individual, family or company who is an outstanding example of excellence in viticulture and management.
The Lange family has grown fruit in the area since 1870. At first, the twin’s great-grandparents, grew non- irrigated watermelons, but by 1916, the family was growing grapes. The farm continued to expand over the next two generations and in 1974 the twins began farming by themselves.
“When they were younger, they were completely identical,” said Randy’s son, Aaron.
“We have photos taken in their 30s and even their own wives can’t tell them apart in the photos.”
The twins had five children between them, and the fifth generation returned to the farm after college.
A winery was added to the farm in 2006.
Aaron Lange works as vineyard manager, reporting to the twins.
“It’s like having two fathers, two mentors,” he said. “I’m honored to play my part in carrying on the legacy of our family winegrape growing business and to be a part of the Lodi wine industry.”
According to an announcement of the award from CAWG, after four generations of farming, Brad and Randall continue to be actively involved in key issues affecting the winegrape industry. The two are are innovative growers, who focus on advanced technologies and sustainable winegrowing to farm and make quality wines.
“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 in a written statement. “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.”
Winegrape industry pioneer honored
A pioneer in the winegrape industry, Al Scheid was named California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) 2017 Leader the Year.
Scheid 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, the general partner of a partnership that sold its production to large wineries for use in their own brands. By the early 1990s, Scheid had bought out the last of his original limited partners and acquired an additional vineyard.
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.
CAWG and the California Grape Crush Report exist, in part, because of Scheid’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.
In those early years, CAWG faced the challenge of growing its membership and raising funds. To save CAWG from folding, Scheid challenged the board to pay a year’s dues in advance. The group then hired a president and conducted a successful membership drive.
In a prepared statement, Scheid said he was surprised to receive the leader award.
“As a founder of the organization, the second chairman and longtime board member, I know the honor of the recognition,” he said. “Having been off the board for about 30 years makes being selected all the more gratifying.”
— Stephen Kloosterman, assistant editor