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Alumni Success Story

Bogaty '76 Toasts Library with Wine Tasting from his Virginia Vineyard

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Jim Bogaty, CAS/BA '76, and his son, in the barrel room at Veramar Vineyards in Virginia.

Jim Bogaty, CAS/BA '76, and his son, in the barrel room at Veramar Vineyards in Virginia.

Jim Bogaty, CAS/BA '76, counts his early morning vineyard walks as one of his greatest pleasures. He has not always had quiet "work" mornings; his walk is a long way from the night shift where he worked in a Pittsburgh steel mill years ago. 

In order to escape the tough blast furnace work, Bogaty looked for something a little easier. Never one to shy away from a challenge, he chose to study rocketry in the Marine Corps.

After his service in the Marines, which included time in Vietnam, Bogaty put his new skills to work for the telecommunications industry working in the 1970's for a then-small company called AT&T. As a veteran and busy nontraditional student with a full-time job and family, Bogaty decided American University fit the bill. 

Whether riding his motorcycle to class for closer parking or relishing a little time at the library to enjoy the solitude and prepare for class, Bogaty found AU a welcoming and intellectually stimulating venue. In the mindset of a true uomo universale who values broad experience and expertise, Bogaty decided to study psychology, which he saw as a perfect blend of left brain and right brain work. 

After graduating from AU in 1976, Bogaty built a successful telecommunications career working as a director with AT&T, Bell Atlantic Internet, and Verizon. Although he "retired" in 2000 from his telecomm career, Bogaty decided to pursue his passion for wine. While other people might join a wine club or spend more time sampling the myriad varieties, he bought a farm, educated himself on the business, planted grapes, and became a winemaker. 

"Making excellent wine requires full attention to both the science of creation and the art of experience," says Bogaty. A typical day starts very early with a walk the fields to check on the vines. Then there is checking the barrels and evaluating the product in progress. At noon the tasting room opens and so begins the business of greeting, welcoming, and educating customers. 

Veramar hosts evening events, so Bogaty often works well into the night. However, the beautiful scenery in rural Virginia, the satisfaction of doing work he loves, and the "commute" to his home just down the driveway makes it all that much more, well, palatable. 

Among his greatest life accomplishments, Bogaty counts his family, his service in the Marine Corps, his degree from American University, and the success of Veramar Vineyards as the most significant. On the last one, critics agree. In its short history, multiple wines from Veramar have won international wine awards. The 2007 Cabernet Franc garnered one of the highest scores ever awarded to a Virginia wine by Wine Enthusiast magazine.  

Bogaty is thrilled to have the opportunity to come back to campus to share his pleasure and passion with fellow alumni and wine lovers at the March 4 event, "An Educated Palate." The wine and cheese tasting is a fundraiser to benefit the library.   

He invites fellow alumni to stop by Veramar to see and enjoy the vineyard in person.