Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Bogle Mind Boggle

     A mind boggle at Bogle. Yes, that's Bogle Winery and Vineyards right across the river in neighboring Yolo County. (If you're a red wine drinker than I'd suggest the Essential Red and the Old Vine Zinfandel.) On a whim a couple of years ago I drove out to Clarksburg in Yolo County and stopped by Bogle Winery to see the manager or anybody who would listen that I owned a mobile pizza trailer and was willing to share it with anybody who'd have me. I brought my card and walked upstairs to the tasting room. I was cold calling but when you have a product that you believe in it's more like sharing than cold calling. Bogle has a beautiful venue back in the vineyards along side a creek and far enough from the main road that you don't even hear traffic. I introduced myself and explained what we do. The manager took my card and said, "Thanks for coming by." OK, so I gave it a shot. Three summers later I get a call from Shaun, the manager and asking if I was willing to come out to Bogle and do pizzas on a Friday evening for their music venue called Alfresco Night. I anxiously drove out there wearing my pizza print shirt and reintroduced myself. Shaun was a very personable young guy and he explained what Alfresco Night was. I immediately loved the idea and he went on to say that, "You can't run out of food." Apparently I was replacing the pizza guy who did run out of food and apparently didn't care. Shaun went on to say that maybe it was partly his fault for sharing some of the Bogle wine with that pizza crew and maybe that was partly his fault. Hearing that there was to be only 300 to 400 people at this alfresco night I wondered how many pizzas we would actually sell. It was an evening of music on the lawn from only 5:00 to 7:30 and a captive audience who could bring in picnic baskets if they chose but I heeded his warning anyway. Two days before the event an email was sent out to all Friday evening vendors by Shaun to reinforce the policy of not running out of food! OK, I get it, come prepared!

   Friday in June rolls around and we are just back from Alaska. I am prepared for another overly excited event coordinator that thinks his event is different and better than all the others. I heed his warning while joking to my staff that, "We might get busy. Yeah right." Five o'clock and the people are rolling in and finding themselves a spot on the lawn. 5:02 and there's an order! 5:05 and there's a line. 5:10 and we are up against a line 20 people deep! Holy #*@! and that translates to $$$$$! The band is rocking away, my wine glass with an inch of wine is sitting on the deck of the pizza trailer while I'm shoveling 6 to 8 pizzas at a time in and out of the oven! Flashbacks of the Pear Fair are going through my head. This doesn't happen every day. We're all in high gear, all five of us, and the orders keep coming. Some are 6 to a ticket! 6:00 comes and goes and there's no end in sight. I look over my shoulder and they're still lined up 20 deep! "My god, Shaun wasn't kidding!" There is no place for the customers to go since we're the only vendor and the nearest food is 5 miles away. "We've got to keep this up." All I can think about is don't run out of food. "Is it 7:30 yet? Have we fed them all?" Finally the music ends and the orders slow down. A few musicians belly up to get a pizza and we're standing there in amazement. Are they serious? Is it like this every Friday night?
    We met the crowd head on and fed them all. Shaun had planted an employee in the mix to gauge us. Once he goes through the line to place an order the turn-around time was about 4 and a half minutes. They were impressed! So was I! "Let's count the tickets and see what we did," I said. One hundred and ninety four pizzas in 2 1/2 hours was the count. That averages out to 77.6 pizzas an hour. That's got to be a pizza record, at least for us anyway.
    Shaun had set us up for 3 Friday night al frescos and now I was a believer. "Come prepared," he had said. Thank the pizza gods we were prepared!
    The next time we did Bogle we did an astounding 238 pizzas in the same length of time which averaged out to 95.2 pizzas an hour! I told Shaun that if the pizza police were out they would've caught us exceeding the speed limit. I set a personal best that first Friday with 10 pizzas in the oven at once. The second Friday I broke it twice with 11 pizzas in the oven at once. Somehow I was able to snap a picture while juggling those eleven pizzas as proof that I wasn't exaggerating! Sure the photo is a little blurry like those bank robber photos you see the bank cameras snap and you think, "He looks a little like my uncle or maybe the neighbor down the street." It's definitely clearer though than the photos you see (or don't see) of Bigfoot in the mist behind some foliage with a shaking camera.
Eleven blurry pizzas! A personal best!
    After two successful Friday evenings we were asked to stay and do the Passport Weekend which was various wine tastings and produce stands out in the Clarksburg area.
The lawn and vineyards at Bogle
    The third alfresco night was equally successful which got us their corporate event to serve all the Bogle staff and sales reps as a catered event in which we were able to chat with a number of the Bogle people and talk wine and pizza. Ronnie, an outside rep who hired me was there and what a sweetheart she was.  Not only did she send me home with a sampler bag of 6 bottles of wine but when I went to deposit the check on Tuesday I noticed they had written it for $100 more than it was supposed to be. I called her voicemail and sent her an email letting her know about the mistake. She texted back and said, "Deposit it, it's a tip!" That goes in my Italy fund for next year! You gotta love Ronnie!
   Oh, that glass of wine the first Friday night with only an inch in it? It still had an inch in it when the last pizza came out of the oven. That's how busy we got! Fortunately the staff their loved us as we do them and more wine was available! Cheers to Bogle, a mind boggling winery and alfresco event!