Stephen Juvenal Borra was born on February 9, 1943. He was raised in Lockeford on a small family farm. Steve attended Lockeford Schools and graduated from Lodi High in 1961. Fast cars were his signature, as he would recall stories of the 1963 Plymouth Sport Fury. In 1964, Steve married his true love, Beverly Bowman. They made a home together and started their family on the ranch where they have been for 54 years of marriage. Together they had two children, a son, Steve Jr. and a daughter, Gina. Family was everything to him. He loved spending much time together and celebrating his Italian heritage. Often over a plate of pasta or more often over a bottle of wine, Steve would take time to remind us with words as well as by example of the importance of a strong, loving family.
Steve served for 4 years in the National Guard, then enrolled in Electrical Design School. The goal was to become an electrician, but at graduation time, electrical jobs were scarce. He joined the ranks of Pacific Bell and quickly climbed to management, but his passion for farming kept calling. After 17 years, when offered early retirement in 1982, he took it. This allowed him time to develop Borra's Cellar (est. 1974). A year later, he happens upon his first irrigation pipeline needed on the family farm, which he installs himself. Shortly after, neighbors begin asking him for help installing pipelines for them and in 1983, Lodi Irrigation was born.
An amazing gift that Steve had was a technical mind that was continually able to solve uncommon problems. He was exceptional with his hands. With Bev at his side in the business, the two of them committed many years of blood, sweat, and tears building their company. The 90's introduced drip irrigation to Ag and Steve was ready. He quickly perfected water hydraulics and irrigation design. For the next decade, this self-taught irrigation designer brought water to wine in Lodi. In the late 90's, Lodi Irrigation expanded to include Lodi Pump and North Coast Irrigation. All combined, LPI had grown to service water needs in Northern CA, the North Coast and Central Coast when the family sold the business in 2018.
Steve's greatest passions were winemaking and farming. When asked why he opened the first bonded family winery in Lodi in 1975, his response was simple. He would say with a smile, ""Well, I just really liked to drink it…"" And he would immediately follow with ""great wine is made in the field"". Turns out those fields made more than great wine, they made him a great man. Steve's signature hat, customary jokes and political persuasion were sure to entertain all. He came a long way from the days of the late 70's where he would join with local restaurants pouring his signature Barbera for free to dining patrons just for the chance to introduce the wine. Steve's dedication created wines that received high accolades. In 2008, Borra Vineyards was honored to be included in the Wall Street Journal Wine Club. In 2012, Borra Vineyards was awarded Lodi Winery of the Year. Steve was so honored in 2018 to be inducted into the San Joaquin County Agricultural Hall of Fame and for his induction into the Lodi Community Hall of Fame in 2019.
Following a brave and humble battle with lymphoma, Steve was gracefully lifted up to Heaven on March 2, 2020. We are grateful that he is healed and toasting to us all from there with the finest wine that Heaven can make. Steve is survived by his wife Beverly, children Steve (Tina) and Gina Granlees (Mike), grandchildren Dominic, Trevor, Gabriella and Chantz, and his sister Gloria Duffy. He was preceded in death by his parents Steve and Lucille Borra.
A visitation will be held at Lodi Funeral Home on March 12th from 1-5 p.m, followed by a Rosary Service at 6 p.m.
Family and friends are invited to celebrate Steve's life on Friday, March 13, at 10am at St Joachim's Catholic Church in Lockeford. Burial will take place at Cherokee Memorial in Lodi with a reception to follow at Wine and Roses. Those wishing to honor Steve can make a donation to Hospice of San Joaquin - 3888 Pacific Ave, Stockton 95204 or Borra Family Scholarship. Make checks payable to: Community Foundation of San Joaquin, 6735 Herndon Pl, Ste B, Stockton 95219 Ck Memo Line: Borra Family Scholarship or donate online at cfosj.org.