Jerry Lohr is a man who believes in sustainability.
The son of a hard-working South Dakota farming family, he was born and raised on what would today be considered an organic farm. From an early age, he learned the importance of soil quality, the environment and sustainable farming practices — knowledge that has been instrumental to his success as the Founder of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, an enterprise that sells its products across the United States and more than 25 countries worldwide.
“We’ve had a philosophy of sustainability since I started,” said Lohr, who was one of the first people to recognize the untapped promise of wine growing in Monterey County and then later in Paso Robles, Calif. “I’m a firm believer that success can only be achieved if you take care of your resources — the earth, people and your community.”
Lohr’s commitment to sustainability also has influenced his philanthropic giving to UC Davis. He has been a key contributor in the design, planning and fundraising efforts for UC Davis’ winery, brewery and food processing teaching and research complex in the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, featuring the J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines Fermentation Room and the J. Lohr Wine Sensory Lab. The 34,000-square-foot winery, brewery and food processing laboratory, which opened its doors in January 2011, is the most environmentally sophisticated facility of its kind in the world. And thanks to supporters like Lohr, the $20 million facility was financed entirely by private contributions — no state or federal funds were used.
“I give to UC Davis because I think supporting high-caliber institutions of higher education like UC Davis is important for ensuring a prosperous future for California,” Lohr said. “I believe in the innovative work that the faculty, staff and students at UC Davis are doing and by supporting them I feel like I am being a good steward for future generations.”