Doug Circle, Owner
Doug Circle was born and raised in Orange, California. The agriculture bug hit early. He worked for his Dad’s employer, Marshburn Farms, producers of celery and carrots, from the time he was 10.
He discovered his entrepreneurial spirit when he first grew strawberries as part of an FFA project at 15. He opened his first roadside stand that same year. Doug gained more experience after high school as a fruit salesman following the crops throughout California, Arizona and Mexico.
He met his wife, Jan, in 1981 and soon thereafter married and started a family. At that time the couple owned 25 strawberry farm locations, running eight roadside stands. This continued over the next 10-12 years.
With his business partner of 17 years, Doug eventually started what became Sunrise Growers/Frozsun Foods, by rolling several small companies into a $300 million frozen and fresh strawberry operation. Highlights included working with McDonald’s to develop the fast food industry’s first fresh fruit or vegetable offering. He also worked with major cereal companies to introduce the first cereals with freeze dried strawberries.
In 2001, during a wine glut caused by 9/11, the Mondavi Company put the Sierra Madre Vineyard on the market. The property was presented to Doug by a local broker because it had a 60 acre strawberry operation at the vineyard. Doug purchased the vineyard and although still a strawberry farmer, became a serious wine grape grower as well. Portico Hills Vineyards followed in 2014.
When he’s not working, Doug enjoys international travel, salmon fishing, participating in the Young President’s Organization, and building new businesses. Doug and Jan have three grown children, Kyle, Brendan and Leah; each manages to keep very busy in their own right with their careers and families.