Jerry & Bruce Fry
Mohr-Fry Ranch is farmed by our good friends Jerry and Bruce Fry. The father and son team is responsible for managing the family’s diversified farming operation that includes winegrapes and heirloom beans. The family has been farming in California for over 150 years, and their vineyards are the source of our most popular wine – Mohr-Fry Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel.
Their home ranch sits directly south of the city of Lodi, on a beautiful 225 acre ranch comprised of 9 separate blocks of own-rooted Old Vine Zinfandel dating back to 1901. We source grapes from multiple vineyard blocks planted between 1901 and 1945. All of them are head-trained and planted on their own roots in very sandy soils. In our opinion, these vineyards produce some of California’s best Zinfandel wines, consistently ripening beautiful grapes.
When we moved our winery to Lodi in 1996, our own vineyard was dying of phyloxera, and we had no grapes to make wine. My father worked out a deal with the Lodi Winegrape Commission – if a grower brought us 2 tons of grapes, we would make the wine, and give them 25 cases, and keep the balance for ourselves. At this point in time, there were only a handful of Lodi wineries, and very few “Lodi” labeled wines in the market. The vast majority of Lodi grapes were being blended away in big tanks at large wineries, and growers really had no sense how the wine from their vineyards tasted.
Jerry Fry showed up with 7 tons of beautiful Old Vine Zinfandel grapes. My father didn’t know what to do. We didn’t have the money to pay for the grapes, and we had no idea how the wine would turn out. Jerry told him not to worry about it, that we would work it out later. We ended up bottling 450 cases of that first vintage. It won a bunch of awards, sold out quickly, and has since grown to be our most popular wine.
The above story epitomizes our relationship with Mohr-Fry Ranch. To this day, we don’t have a contract, but a relationship sealed with a handshake, and glass of Zinfandel. It’s this type of partnership that helps us succeed, propels Lodi to new heights, and makes business fun.