Apprenticeship Program Participating Farms

Wilson Vineyards

David Ogilvie
Clarksburg, CA
1,100 acres

Wilson Vineyards is a fourth generation family-owned and operated business. The farm was founded in 1921, began wine grape production in 1971, and transitioned to exclusively growing wine grapes in 2000. We grow 13 varieties of wine grapes, most of which are sold to other California wineries with a small amount used for family labels. The majority of the vineyard is certified sustainable through Lodi Rules. The vineyard is currently developing 200 additional acres and has a small section under organic production. The vineyard employs 26 people and uses contractors for certain tasks, such as pruning, shoot thinning, and vine training.

Do you have a land ethic? If so, how do you express it? How do ecological and environmental considerations fit into your operational structure and decision making?
We strive to be good stewards of the land through sustainable farming practices. While a little over half of our acreage is certified sustainable under Lodi Rules, the rest of our acreage is farmed the same way.

What are the most important considerations in your everyday work on your farm?
Safety of our workforce and our soil for future growth of both.

Apprentice skills/abilities:
Spanish proficiency is a major advantage. Willingness to work 10-12 hours a day for 6 days a week and not quit until the job is done. An aptitude for learning and asking questions. Tractor driving skills is a plus as well as knowledge of small engines. Understanding basic plant biology helps but is not required can be taught on site as well.

General work schedule and time off:
We work Monday through Saturday. Work starts at different times throughout the year, but the start time is generally from 5:30am to 7:00am. We finish the day at 5:00pm. Employees are given 2 weeks off: 1 week in the summer and 1 week in December. We also give off July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day, and New Years Eve/Day. We do allow employees to take a day for personal time, if necessary.

Health insurance:
Not provided.

Housing + meals:
Not provided.

Dog/Pet allowed:
Possibly. But never inside vehicles.

Expected to drive a standard transmission.

Visitors are welcome.

Motivation for participating in the apprenticeship program:
I see the need for a new generation of farmers. Farming is going to look different in the future. It won’t be done just by a generational family business. In order to stay on top in a global market, and feed the world, we will need more people to come into the industry. This means we need to break down the barriers of entry into the industry for those who don’t come into it through a blood line of family farming.

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