A Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend one couple will never forget…

Lodi wine & chocolate lovers at Macchia Wines...

Some 5,000 Lodi wine lovers flocked to Lodi Wine Country during this past February 9-10’s Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend.

Among those thousands was Carrie Fleming of Stockton, who was enjoying her third consecutive Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend.  To Miss Fleming, the combination of Lodi wines, chocolates, and the company of her longtime boyfriend, Dustin Winkler, has always been so special, she has been making a collage each year:  having a picture of the two of them taken in front of each winery, then making a map of the Lodi wine region with the photos marking the spot of every place they visit.

And so at 3:30 last Saturday afternoon, the inevitable happened:  Mr. Winkler interrupted the DJ at Van Ruiten Family Winery, who was playing their favorite song – Bruno Mars’ impassioned Just the Way You Are – grabbed a microphone, fell to his knees and proposed marriage:

It just so happened, of course, that he was able pull a diamond engagement ring out from his pocket; which, to the cheers of a dancing crowd all around them, Ms. Winkler – fighting back her surprise and flowing tears – happily accepted.

Jeremy Bowe, the manager of the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center, is a friend of the now soon-to-be-married couple.  According to Bowe, “That’s what this event (in 2013, its sixteenth annual) is all about.  The atmosphere created at each location brings back thousands of couples every year.  Their experience is driven not only by the wines, but also the great effort the wineries put into bringing Wine & Chocolate Weekend to life!”

… and here are a few other memorable moments, in photographs, of 2013′s memorable Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend:

Lodi Chocolate & Wine glasses ready to go...

Lodi wine & chocolate enthusiasts ready to roll...

Welcome committee: Harney Lane's Courtney Thommen

Tasting at Harney Lane counter...

Hostess who's mostest: Harney Lane owner Jorja Lerner

Lockeford sausages with chocolate BBQ dip

Wassup with Bay Area "country" slickers?

Tasting Harney Lane's famed chocolate chili

Good times at Harney Lane...

All in family at Harney Lane: Lizzy Lerner dispensing chocolates

Harney Lane's Kyle Lerner (right) & Chad Joseph talkin'...

Vinedos Aurora's Victor Anaya at new Pamplona Tapas

Gaby Espinosa pouring at Pamplona Tapas

Chocolate fountain at Jessie's Grove's new Downtown Lodi tasting room

Wine & chocolate lovers at Macchia winery

Good times at Macchia...

Macchia dudes...

Any excuse for great bottle of Macchia Zinfandel...

Wood oven pizza at Macchia...

Woh... St. Jorge Winery...

Hanging out at St. Jorge...

Taste of St. Jorge's Portuguese inspired wines...

Ladies checking out Van Ruiten Family vineyards...

Love in the air at Van Ruiten...

Barrel tasting at Van Ruiten...

Painted wine glasses...

Things heating up at Van Ruiten...

Designated driver at Van Ruiten...

Things really heating up...

Big Green Eggs at Van Ruiten...

Van Ruiten's DJ keeps things cookin'...

The band at Michael David Winery

Who doesn't need love?

Michael McCay and his graffiti decked fermentors...

McCay Cellars' new shabby-chic wine bar...

Lodi wine + chocolates + friends = heart!

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