Borra Vineyards

Borra Vineyards Mystery Guest


The winery at Borra Vineyards was founded with the intention of making wines that distinctly reflect. Borra wines reflect commitment to quality and value.

Location Description

Located in the heart of Lodi, California.


  • Producing the best winegrape varietals.

Additional Information

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Swiss-born Markus Niggli was brought on by Steve Borra in 2006 to handle the cellar, but he quickly climbed the ladder to Winemaker in 2010. Markus was an early believer in natural winemaking with a goal of expressing the vineyard and each vintage as authentically as possible, ultimately resulting in his critically-successful fresh and racy whites, such as Intuition and the Artist Series. These show his European influence with higher acidity, not the typical rich, full-bodied California style.

He’s made a fan in noted wine writer Randy Caparoso, who wrote: “Borra now produces the most ‘contemporary’ style wines grown in Lodi today, period.”

Specifically regarding the 2011 Intuition, W. Blake Gray wrote: “This is a great wine, one of the best California white wines I’ve tasted this year. It’s delicious. And complex. And constantly interesting. Every sip was worth savoring. And it was even more delicious the second day.”

But Markus does much more than make about 5,000 cases of wine each year. He modified the winegrowing at Borra’s 135 acre Gill Creek Ranch to achieve certification under Lodi Rules; works with designers to come up with new labels (Heritage/Intuition and Artist Series); manages the cellar and tasting room staff; and most importantly handles all wholesale and direct wine sales.

Pre-wine, there’s a depth of travel sales and management experience that Markus picked up from American Airlines and from what is now the world’s leading tour operator, Kuoni Travel, based in his native Switzerland. At one point he was managing up to 75 people.

But travel is a brutal industry, which lead him to Perth on the west coast of Australia, where he landed a position working both in the cellar and vineyard for Edgecombe Brothers, before moving on to Napa’s Atlas Peak and then Borra.


Over a century ago, Steve’s grandfather Giuseppe Manassero embarked on a journey from Carrú, Italy, to begin a new life. He made his way to Lodi, California, where he set out to create something that reminded him of la dolce vita in Italy. And with Italy as his muse, he planted the grapevine cuttings for what was to become a beloved family tradition that has grown into the family business.

Soon Giovenale Borra made the journey from Benevagiena, Italy, and settled in Lodi near his friend Giuseppe, followed by his wife and son Stephen Paul. Giovenale, a barber by trade soon moved the family to Redwood City where he settled and operated Joe’s barber Shop. But his son loved visiting the farm in Lodi, and his passion for farming grew there as well. And during his visits to Lodi, he met Lucille Manassero.

Giuseppe’s Daughter Lucille, was born, and grew up on the property of the current home of Borra Vineyards. Lucille was the youngest of five children.

Stephen and Lucille married, and the young couple settled on a nearby ranch in Lockeford. It was not long before Stephen Paul and Lucille were raising a family – and a vineyard – of their own. Stephen and Lucille raised two children on the family ranch, and their only son, Stephen Juvenal Borra, is the current owner of Borra Vineyards.

Steve’s wife Beverly Bowman was also born on Armstrong Road, directly across the street from the winery today. After marrying in 1966, Steve and Bev saved enough money to follow in his family’s footsteps by buying the home and the remaining 30 acres of the family ranch on Armstrong Road, the birthplace of his mother and the spot where his parents had met. It was more than a piece of land, or a vineyard, it was a piece of his family’s heritage – one that he could carefully leave to his children and grandchildren.

The Team

Borra Vineyards traces its roots in Lodi back three generations, and the roots go even further back to a small town in Italy. Stephen J. Borra is owner and original winemaker for Borra Vineyards, but the foundation of the winery goes back a hundred years ago to his maternal grandfather.

Practices & Techniques

We make our wines in the vineyard, with prime vine rows ingeniously planted in alignment with the afternoon sun for optimal ripening. The majority of our estate vineyards have been certified sustainable under Lodi Rules. In the winery, natural yeast from the vines and natural ML, along with complete bypassing of the press altogether result in the smoothest, most complex wines.

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Open Friday-Monday Noon to 5:00 p.m. And by Appointment.


1301 E Armstrong Rd
Lodi, California 95242
United States

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