If you’ve ever sipped a Spanish varietal grown on a California vineyard, you’ve likely tried the bounty of Markus and Liz Bokisch. It all started 20 years ago when the couple brought a box of clippings back to California in hopes of trying out Spanish wines in a different climate, during a time when Spanish varietals weren’t easily accessible in the sunshine state. “Spain is very similar to California in the sense that it has a lot of diversity,” Liz says. “You just get different flavor profiles that come out of the different regions.”
When Liz and Markus found success with their grapes—tempranillo, albarino, and graciano are their claims to fame—they wanted to share the wealth, so they gifted clones of the vines to the Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis. Now almost all of the vines for these three varietals are sourced in some way from the original clones UC Davis garnered from Bokisch.
The process is a little complicated but in laymen’s terms, if a winemaker would like a specific vine, they go to a vineyard nursery to select the clone material. “It’s basically at the disposal of anybody to access,” Liz explains. People take the budwood out and plant it. It’s a common process for bringing varietals to new locations. The only downfall, according to Liz, is that a clone doesn’t allow for the same complexity you get when planting from original clippings like Bokisch did. The result, however, is still good wine.
For the couple, sharing the clippings has been a big positive because it helps spread the word about obscure varietals. In the 1990s, tempranillos and albarinos weren’t well-known. Today, people are more aware of these Spanish wines and have confidence in trying the Bokisch label. Gracianos weren’t even recognized as a wine varietal in California when Liz and Markus first started bottling it, resulting in a rejected label from the wine commission.
Guests can stop by to taste the Bokisch lineup of Spanish wines, as well as other varietals sold under the Tizona label at the Lodi tasting room. A standard flight typically includes three whites and three reds that rotate every few weeks.
You Can Sip with Us:
Bokisch Vineyards Tasting Room
18921 Atkins Rd., Lodi