When composer Harold Arlen wrote “I Love A Parade” in 1931, most parades were old-fashioned, family-style affairs, with local businesses coming together as a way of thanking their customers and building a greater sense of community. The annual July 4th Rose, White and Blue Parade that winds through San Jose’s lovely Rose Garden neighborhood is very much in this classic tradition. It’s filled with homemade floats, live bands, kids on bikes, antique cars and much more.
This year marks J. Lohr’s 40th anniversary of family winemaking. It also marks our 40th year in San Jose. It was 1974 when Jerry Lohr established his namesake winery on the property that used to be part of the old Falstaff Brewery at 1000 Lenzen Avenue, cementing J. Lohr’s imprint in the Rose Garden community. While we’ve been fans of the parade in the past, this year we decided we’d celebrate the 4th and our 40th by marching as a team along the parade’s 1.6-mile route.
After months of preparation, a group of about 40 of us gathered for breakfast at the J. Lohr San Jose Wine Center on the morning of July 4th. It was an exciting feeling as we put on the t-shirts we had specially made for the event. On the front, they were emblazoned with the American flag and the Rose, White and Blue logo, while on the back, they read “J. Lohr in your neighborhood 40 years.” We also handed out J. Lohr t-shirts, sunglasses, stickers, discount coupons and other small gifts for the marchers to share with the spectators.
Our float, which was actually a big grape harvester, was driven by Jerry Lohr himself, with members of our amazing vineyard crew walking alongside to ensure everyone’s safety. It was a fantastic feeling to watch Jerry drive that harvester right through the streets with our team laughing and smiling as they walked along with it. We even had our own version of kids being pulled in wagons, but instead of traditional wagons, we made ours out of wine barrels. We even had some cute grape costumes.
Our J. Lohr marchers and attendees included Steve Lohr, Cynthia Lohr, winemaker Jeff Meier, our Greenfield Vineyard Manager Agapito Vazquez and many others, including members of our vineyard, warehouse and winery teams, and even employees from down in Paso Robles. Many of our marchers also brought their families, which added to the fun. We were thrilled to be one of the 103 groups of marchers, and after the event we took a group portrait to commemorate the wonderful day. Looking at it, I’m reminded of how proud and patriotic we all felt, and what a pleasure it was to share our July 4th with our great community.