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The LoCA Life & Times

In Lodi, wine comes first. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Meet the passionate people behind our handcrafted wines and gnarly old vines.

Randy Caparoso
 
January 24, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

An insider’s guide to Lodi’s Wine & Chocolate Weekend

True lovers of wine, food and life:  Lodi’s 16th annual Wine & Chocolate Weekend is just around the corner; taking place February 9 & 10, 2013 (both days, 11 AM-4 PM), when over 40 of Lodi Wine Country wineries roll out the Valentine’s-red carpets to their doors to show off their richest, juiciest wines with decadent chocolates and other delectables, lots of live music, direct-from-barrel tastings, art exhibits, professional photo portraits, and more…

It is literally a party scene nearly everywhere you go in Lodi during these two days (look here for a good,, printable Lodi Wine Country Wine Trail Map).  Each ticket gets you the royal treatment, plus a commemorative wine glass and chocolate treat, and admission to all participating wineries on both days.  You might also be a lucky ticket holder and unwrap a “Golden Ticket” at any participating winery, winning a Wine Country Getaway or one of over 100 other prizes.

Fine wine, chocolates, romantique Wine Country getaways… what better way to spend the weekend before Valentine’s Day?

 

We advise purchasing tickets in advance for $45 at the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center or at any winery (please visit Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend).  It will be possible to purchase tickets for $55 on February 9 or 10 at the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center, or at the door of any participating winery.  Also please note:  admission for all designated drivers is complimentary.

Where do Lodi wine lovin’ “insiders” go during Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend?  For some great ideas, here’s the scoop:

Benson Ferry Winery (pouring at Lodi Wine Cellars
112 W. Pine Street, Lodi 95240
(209) 365-6622 | bensonferry.com
In the relaxed tasting environment of Downtown Lodi’s Lodi Wine Cellars, sample chocolates matched to the award winning wines of Benson Ferry.

Berghold Estate Winery
17343 N. Cherry Road, Lodi 95240
(209) 333-9291 | bergholdvineyards.com
The Berghold family will welcome you at their elegantly decorated antique tasting room for a sampling of estate wines and decadent chocolates. Browse exquisite Victorian Valentines or sample Fudge by Marilyn, while being serenaded by the Bergholds’ guest pianist.  Enjoy the winery’s serene covered patio while treating your valentine to a gourmet sandwich or garlic French fries with exotic dipping sauces by A Moveable Feast. 

Wine & Chocolate lovers at Klinker Brick Winery

Boitano Family Wines (pouring at Tuscan Winery Village
12470 Locke Road, Lockeford 95237
(209) 727-3270 | boitanofamilywines.com
Boitano will be pouring their award winning Italian style wines and serving up some amazing food at Tuscan Winery Village.  Along with special treats, enjoy “mom’s wonderful cheese balls” and crackers.

Bokisch Vineyards (pouring at cellardoor)
21 N. School Street, Lodi 95240
(209) 334-4338 | bokischvineyards.com
The Bokisch family will put on a Spanish Fiesta of their acclaimed Spanish varietal wines to go with Spanish Tapas from Liz Bokisch’’s kitchen.  Take some time to chat with Liz and Markus Bokisch — California’s leading Spanish grape specialists — while enjoying live Spanish-style music on both Saturday and Sunday. ¡Olé!

Borra Winery
1301 E. Armstrong Road, Lodi 95242
(209) 368-2446 | borravineyards.com
Borra Vineyards will drive you NUTS during the Wine and Chocolate Weekend:  you will be able to sample the combination of NUTS and Chocolate from around the world, along with have Borra’s own Chocolate Sauce/NUT Shot.  Please join the nuts at Lodi’s oldest bonded winery.

cellardoor
21 N. School Street, Lodi 95240
(209) 339-4394 | lodicellardoor.com
Downtown Lodi’s cellardoor will offer wine flights by Bokisch Vineyards, Van Ruiten Family Winery as well as Michael David Winery.  There will be live music all weekend, and gastronomic treats to go along with these fantastic wines.

Clements Ridge
23225 E. State Highway 88, Clements 95227
(209) 759-3850 | clementsridge.com
Bring your friends or sweetheart on the scenic drive to Clements Ridge on the east side of Lodi Wine Country, where they will be pouring a variety of local wines and tasting you on their “dangerously good” chocolate bread pudding and chocolate cream cheese pie, alongside delicious Landjäger German sausages.

Wine & Chocolates at Harney Lane Winery

Cycles Gladiator Winery
3750 E. Woodbridge Road, Acampo 95220
(209) 263-3131 | cyclesgladiator.com
Be the first to taste some of Cycles Gladiator’s 2012 vintage straight from the barrel!  This Woodbridge Rd. winery will also offer an array of delicious, chocolate-infused appetizers, paired with their Boneshaker Zinfandel; and you can enjoy live jazz music performed by The Ray laea Project on Saturday, and Travis Vega on Sunday.

The Dancing Fox Winery
203 S. School Street, Lodi 95240
(209) 366-2634 | dancingfoxwinery.com
The Lewis family of Dancing Fox will offer tastes of their Port and uniquely “Lodi” Cherry Wine with fresh baked fudge brownies and other treats.  Enjoy samples of wood fired pizza from the Lewis’ artisanal bakery, poured with their popular Red Zorro Red Wine blend.

d’Art Wines
13299 N. Curry Avenue, Lodi 95240
(209) 334-9946 | dartwines.com
Stop by to join in Dave and Helen Dart’s Mardi Gras style Wine & Chocolate Weekend.  Enjoy New Orleans style hospitality, food and activities, while tasting your way throug d’Art winery’s “ports of call,” which includes barrel tastings of specialty red wines.

Artful wines at d'Art

Delicato Family Vineyards (DV)
12001 South Highway 99, Manteca
(209) 824-3500 | dfvtastingroom.com
Coming to Lodi by traveling north on Highway 99?  Make the “Gnarly” decision and stop at Delicato winery first (Manteca is just 20 minutes from Lodi).  Delicato is a great place to pick up your wine glass, commemorative chocolate and wrist band to avoid the crowds (just follow the “Gnarly Wine Tasting” billboards).  On Saturday, listen to Skouts Honor unplugged between 11 am and 1 pm as you sip the Indelicato family’s many award-winning wines (especially the Lodi grown wines under the Noble Vines, Gnarly Head, and Loredona).

Estate Crush
2 West Lockeford Street, Lodi 94240
(209) 368-7595 | estatecrush.com
Estate Crush is Lodi’s custom urban winery, where you’ll be able to sip dozens of small-production, artisanal style wines under multiple labels.  Twisted Roots, Hunters Oak, Stellina, Panthos, and Alma de la Vina are just some of the outstanding brands produced at Estate Crush).  During the weekend, many of these wines will poured alongside Crush Kitchen + Bar’s slow braised, English-style short ribs finished with red wine, dark chocolate pan gravy.  Also be sure sure to save room for their dark chocolate house made peanut butter sea salt cookies.  The Estate Crush crew will also be offering winery tours and barrel tastings, at 12 Noon and 3 PM, on both days.

Fields Family Wines – Downtown
20 N. School Street, Lodi 95240
(209) 368-3435 | fieldsfamilywines.com
Enjoy the old-time charm of Downtown Lodi at Fields Family’s School Street location, while sampling their multi-award winning wines with nibbles of chocolate.  Special discounts also offered toward purchases.

Fields Family Wines – Estate Winery
3803 E. Woodbridge Road, Acampo 95220
(209) 327-6306 | fieldsfamilywines.com
Taste five wines paired with five different chocolates while enjoying fine art, live music and a self-guided tour, here where owner/winemakers Russ Fields and Ryan Sherman do their magic.  Wine Club members will be able to enjoy a sneak preview tasting of Fields Family’s first-ever Tempranillo (if you’re not a member, you’re welcome to join!), and everyone will be offered great discounts toward purchases.

David Lucas welcomes wine lovers at The Lucas Winery

Grace Vineyards
28005 North Nichols Road, Galt 95632
(916) 447-3774 | gracevineyards.net
Grace Vineyards will be dishing out some great Southern comfort with mouth-watering, basil mashed potatoes and Grace Cabernet demi-glace meatballs with, of course, Grace Vineyards wine and chocolate!

Grady Family Vineyards
18911 N. Lower Sacramento Road
(209) 365-7575 | gradywine.com
You can enjoy Grady Family wines at Woodbridge Uncorked this weekend, along with over 30 additional wines and a very decadent chocolate dessert bar.

H-G Vineyards
9 West Locust Street, Lodi 95240
(209) 263-0839 | h-gvineyards.com
H-G Vineyards is offering a unique, savory experience of Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend:  chocolate-covered bacon, meatballs in chocolate BBQ sauce, and more!  On Saturday, please join H-G for a Wine & Chocolate After Party from 6 to 10 PM.  Kick up your heels to the musical stylings of Nic Weethee, lead singer for one of L.A.’s hottest bands, Starry Eyes.  They will also have Nic back for live music on Sunday from 1 to 4 PM.

Harmony Wynelands
9291 E. Harney Lane, Lodi 95240
(209) 369-4184 | harmonywynelands.com
The ever-popular Harmony Wynelands is offering tastings of dessert wines and new vintages, along with decadent chocolate confections, fresh fudge, and the musical sounds of pianist Nicole Goehring.

Harney Lane Winery
9010 E. Harney Lane, Lodi 95240
(209) 365-1900 | harneylane.com
Cozy up with your sweet-someone around Harney Lane’s roaring fire pit, while sipping the acclaimed Harney Lane wines and savoring scrumptious chocolate treats (including Harney Lane’s famously delicious and Lodi wine-friendly chocolate chili)!

Heritage Oak Winery
10112 E. Woodbridge Road, Acampo 95220
(209) 986-2763 | heritageoakwinery.com
Love chocolate?  Love pizza?  Heritage Oak will be carving up rich, chocolate pizza, freshly baked on-site by Rustic Pizza on both days.  Enjoy live music by Mark McLean on Saturday, and Chicken & Dumpling on Sunday.

Meatballs in habañero Zinfandel Port sauce at Macchia

Housley’s Century Oak Winery
22211 N. Lower Sacramento Road, Acampo 95220
(209) 334-3482 | centuryoakwinery.com
Enjoy all the Housley’s Century Oak wines with complimentary chocolate pairings., along with barrel tastings as well as tastings of Lodi Wine Country olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Jeremy Wine Co.
6 West Pine Street, Lodi 95240
(209) 367-3773 | jeremywineco.com
Winemaker/owners Jeremy and Choral Trettevik invite you to their beautiful Downtown Lodi tasting room under the Lodi arch, for a special release of this year’s Jeremy Valentine Wine–Chocolate Port, which they are offering to taste with their fabulously delicious tamales with chocolate mole sauce.

Jessie’s Grove Winery
1973 W. Turner Road, Lodi 95242
(209) 368-0880 | jessiesgrovewinery.com
No visit to Lodi Wine Country is complete without a pilgrimage to historic Jessie’s Grove, owned and farmed by the descendents of Joseph Spenker, who planted his first Lodi wine grapes in 1886 and 1889 (vineyards still standing on the property!).  Stop by and say hello to winegrower/owners Greg and Suzanne Burns, who will be offering tastings direct from the barrel, along with chocolaty treats, awesome tunes, and other delicious treats for your culinary enjoyment.

Jessie’s Grove Winery – Downtown
27 E. Locust Street, Lodi, CA 95240
(209) 368-0880 | jessiesgrovewinery.com
Jessie’s Grove has also opened a Downtown Lodi tasting room on the site of the Old Icehouse Cellar, where they will be offering barrel tastings along with an extravagant chocolate fountain (strawberries!), and educational opportunities.  Also look for special Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend discounts.

Kidder Family Winery
17266 Hillside Drive, Lodi 95240
(209) 727-0728 | kidderwines.com
Lodi wine-insiders know all about Aaron and Linda Kidder’s meticulously handcrafted wines at their Clements Hills vineyard and winery, where you will be able to sample chocolates and caramel kettle corn hand-popped on-site by Costa’s Finest Kettle Corn.  Purchase wine by the glass or bottle, and relax in the Kidders’ redwood grove while listening to your favorite tunes provided by the Stephanie D Trio (Saturday only).  Sunday guests will enjoy a special barrel tastings with Aaron, while sampling more of that delicious kettle corn.

Klinker Brick Winery
15887 N. Alpine Road, Lodi 95240
(209) 224-5156 | klinkerbrickwinery.com
The Felten family’s Klinker Brick Winery is always one of the liveliest stops along the Lodi Wine Country route.  This weekend, you’ll be able to kick up your heels to the live music of Group Therapy, from 12 to 4 PM, both Saturday and Sunday.  Sample vinegars and olive oils from Tres Classique along with Klinker Brick’s award winning wines, while indulging in delicious chocolate brownies drizzled with Klinker Brick reduction sauce.

LangeTwins Winery & Vineyards
1525 E. Jahant Road, Acampo 95220
(209) 334-9780 | langetwins.com
LangeTwins opens its doors only on these special occasions, despite the fact that they grow and produce some of the region’s most celebrated wines.  The Lange family – who have been farming in Lodi for well over a century – will mark this year’s Wine & Chocolate Weekend with a grand opening of their spanking new Press Room, featuring 22-foot long hand-hewn redwood bars snuggled under the bridge.  The Langes will also be launching their newest wine, Caricature, paired with their famous brie and chocolate paninis.  A photography show, featuring the work by Fatima Donaldson of Katy, Texas, will on display in the new barrel room.

Lodi Wine & Visitor Center
2545 W. Turner Road, Lodi 95242
(209) 365-0621 | lodiwine.com
It’s always a good idea to stop at Lodi Wine Country’s welcome center, where you will be able to enjoy wine flights along with decadent chocolates made by Lodi’s official Wine & Chocolate Weekend sponsor, Brix Chocolate; as well as find wines produced by numerous specialty Lodi wineries who do not have tasting rooms for you to visit.  At the Visitor Center, you can get LoCA by decorating your wine glass; and also enjoy the live music by Zachary Young on Saturday, and the jazzy tunes of Levi Huffman on Sunday.

Lodi Wine Cellars
112 W. Pine Street, Lodi 95240
(209) 365-6622 | lodiwinecellars.com
Downtown Lodi’s Lodi Wine Cellars offers a relaxed tasting environment, featuring the award winning wines from Benson Ferry Vineyards, Vicarmont, McCay Cellars and Heritage Oak Winery.

The Lucas Winery
18196 N. Davis Road, Lodi 95242
(209) 368-2006 | lucaswinery.com
Owner/winegrowers David Lucas and Heather Pyle-Lucas know how to do Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend.  Customize your wine glass with complimentary glass paints and the instruction of Esther Torrens (as seen on KCRA TV) – ask Ms. Torrens to teach you the secret of painting perfect grape clusters!  Have fun while you learn by entering an aroma skill contest for the possibility of earning some great prizes.  Of course, enjoy phenomenal chocolate treats provided by Lucas Winery’s friends at Truffle Gateau, matched with their exquisite estate grown wines.  Be sure to visit The Lucas Winery Web site for further updates on their fun weekend activities.

m2 Wines
1376 E. Turner Road, Suite D, Lodi 95240
(209) 339-1071 | m2wines.com
m2 winemaker/owner Layne Montgomery is the very soul of small production, handcrafted Lodi wine.  Sip the weekend away by joining Montgomery for talks and tastings of his fantastic wines, which you’ll be able to enjoy with the hot and spicy dishes made by Alebrijes Mexican Bistro (owned by Chef Ruben Larrazolo, Lodi’s most celebrated chef).

Michael McCay debuts his new tasting room in February

Macchia Wines
7099 E. Peltier Road, Acampo 95220
(209) 333-2600 | macchiawines.com
Tim and Lani Holdener’s Macchia (Italian for “the spot”) is always a colorful, and memorable, stop.  This is an opportunity to taste a number of newly released 2011s (already garnering golds and double-golds – particularly at the recent San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition), along with scrumptuous meatballs served in Habañero Zinfandel Port reduction sauce.  There will be live music on the lawn; and a Rustic Oven will be on-site, cooking up delicious wood-fired pizzas (available for additional charge).

McCay Cellars
1370 E. Turner Road, Lodi 95240
(209) 642-5756 | mccaycellars.com
The big news for longtime Lodi wine lovers is that, for the first time, you’ll be able to meet and chat with celebrated winemaker/owner Michael McCay at his very own tasting room, debuting during Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend on E. Turner. Rd.  To mark the occasion, Mr. McCay is planning live music both days, from 11 AM to 4 PM.  Treat yourself to chocolate like it’s never been done before:  chocolate sweets, along with mouthwatering, McCay style barrel barbecued ribs and tri-tip.  Michael and Linda McCay will also be pouring library wines, and offering amazing specials on case purchases and reserve wines.  On Saturday only:  buy a case of wine or join our Wine Club and receive a pass to the McCay Cellars VIP After-Hours Party!  Don’t miss your chance to attend the VIP After-Hours Party from 5 to PM (“-ish”), where you’ll be able to dance the night away in the McCays’ Palate Room, enjoy more delicious munchies, and tastings of new releases and wines piped directly from the barrel (please note:  for more information on the VIP After-Hours Party, please contact McCay Cellars directly).

McCormack-Williamson Winery
3125 E. Orange Street, Acampo 95220
(209) 339-9780 | dancingcoyotewines.com
McCormack-Williamson invites you to stop by the sleepy little Lodi Wine Country town of Acampo, where you will be able to enjoy live music while experiencing a wide range of finely crafted wines; and then outside by the fire pit, some good ol’ All-American s’mores.

Michael David Winery
4580 W. Highway 12, Lodi 95242
(209) 368-7384 | michaeldavidwinery.com
Have a HEART-stopping afternoon of fried food feasting at Michael David Winery… you have been warned by the Phillips family:  if your arteries could talk, they will be screaming in half-pain/half-joy as B&T Catering serves deep-fried candy bar bites and deep-fried Oreos© – all deep-fried!  Michael David will also be serving up everyone’s favorite smoked jalapeño bites wrapped in bacon – everything, of course, matched with the lusciously fruit forward wines of Michael David, making for a deliciously dangerous Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend experience!

Mokelumne Glen Vineyards (pouring at Clements Ridge)
23225 E. Highway 88, Clements 95227
(209) 369-5755 | mokelumneglen.com
Talking about living dangerously:  Mokelumne Glen specializes in Lodi grown wines made from German or Alsatian grapes – unusual not only for Lodi, but for the entire West Coast.  You can taste these exotic wines at Clements Ridge winery, along with tasty Landjäger German sausages and, of course, tempting chocolate treats. 

Oak Farm Vineyards
23627 N. DeVries Road, Lodi 95240
(209) 365-6565 | oakfarmvineyards.com
The Panella family is opening the doors of their historic property (originally established in 1864 by William DeVries), with its beautiful private lake, for you taste through their Chardonnays and Champagne-style sparkling wines paired with Lockeford Sausage and Chocolate BBQ sauce.  They have recently sold out of their wildly popular Zin, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, but you can still take a ride on the lighter side with pourings of their crisp white wines, perfect for the upcoming spring.  Also enjoy the live music by Jazz Trio on Saturday, from 12 to 4 PM.

Oak Ridge Winery
6100 E. Hwy 12, Lodi 95240
(209) 369-4758 | oakridgewinery.com
The Oak Ridge Winery tasting room is an experience in itself:  built into a gigantic, heritage redwood wine barrel.  The Oak Ridge family invites you to enjoy BBQ sausages and Murphy’s Mustards, paired with their Old Vine Zinfandel, in the natural warmth of their tasting room or out on their heated patio.  Also enjoy a spectacular chocolate fountain and chocolate covered popcorn, along with their Sweet Solera Port and other chocolate treats.

Riaza's Erin & Rick Taylor also opened a new tasting room

Omega Cellars
13731 N. Highway 88, Lodi 95240
(209) 367-1910 | omega-cellars.com
Plan to experience Omega wines with different chocolate delicacies, including delicious chocolate-covered baklava, brownies and a chocolate fountain, with an assortment of fruit for dipping.  And that’s just for starters:  you can also sample our delicious Greek-themed appetizers; including marinated pork souvlaki, Greek-style chicken wings and meatballs, and of course, Omega’s award winning wines.  Special Wine & Chocolate Weekend discounts also being offered.

Peirano Estate Vineyards
21831 N. Highway 99, Acampo 95220
(209) 369-9463 | peirano.com
Surrounded by tiny, ancient, historic vines originally planted by founder Giacomo Peirano (current owner/winegrower Lance Randolph’s great-grandfather) in the 1890s, the Peirano tasting room is also where you can taste some of Lodi’s purest, most award winning wines – during this weekend, alongside scrumptious appetizers, as well as live, soft jazz music.  The close-knit Peirano Estate team also encourages you to peruse the works of local Lodi artists, while savoring tastes from their ancient vines.

pondl Winery
665 W. Turner Road, Lodi 95242
(209) 367-3672 | pondlwinery.com
pondl is offering artisanal treats from Schurra’s Fine Confections to go with their varied wine selection; while enjoying music from a collection as eclectic as their wines!  Curious about the juice inside pondl’s imaginatively packaged bottles?  You’ll be in luck during the weekend as their winemaker will be on hand to personally answer any questions.

Riaza Wines
20 W. Elm Street, Lodi 95240
(209) 625-1103 | riazawines.com
Make time to check out one of Lodi’s newest wineries and Downtown tasting rooms (opened earlier this month) to experience the hand-crafted Spanish varietals of Riaza.  Owners Rick and Erin Taylor are determined to make their first Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend one to remember:  offering chorizo and chocolate stuffed dates wrapped in bacon and served with a spicy Oaxacan red sauce for dipping, to go along with their Spanish inspired wines.

Sorelle Winery
9599 N. Hwy 88, Stockton 95212
(209) 931-4350 | sorellewinery.com
The accolades keep pouring in for this winery and estate (most recently, a phenomenal Sweepstake award at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition), specializing in some of the finest Italian inspired varietals made in California.  So if you haven’t done so yet, it’s the perfect time to visit with the Scott family, who will be offering up a decadent chocolate fountain and honey and jelly samplings.  Look for special discounts on case purchases, and the possibility of winning something special with a purchase of the Sweepstake award winning 2011 Rosato.

Harmony Wynelands' Shaun MacKay

Stama Winery (pouring at Tuscan Winery Village)
12470 Locke Road, Lockeford 95237
(209) 727-3314 | stamawinery.com
Stama Winery plans to welcome you and your sweetheart or friends with a European style Valentine’s celebration, in their tasting room located along an Italian influenced avenue of Tuscan Winery Village.  They will be pouring their red wines alongside decadent brownies, and the Stama Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc with smooth white chocolate.  They invite you to pretend you are in Spain as you enjoy live music from renowned Spanish guitarist, Jesse Christian Hendricks, from 12:30 to 4:30 PM.

St. Jorge Winery
22769 N. Bender Road, Acampo 95220
(209) 365-0202 | stjorgewinery.com
Lodi’s Portuguese heritage is beautifully transparent in both the Mediterranean architecture and wines (all from Portuguese varietals) of this winery, located just north of Peltier Rd.  Enjoy tastes of “pigs in the mud,” along with authentic Portuguese cheese and pão doce (Portuguese sweet breads), as well as live music in their open courtyard, not to mention handmade Portuguese items for sale.

Toasted Toad Cellars
21 E. Elm Street, Lodi 95240
(925) 234-6205 | toastedtoadcellars.com
Toasted Toad Cellars will reprise the incredible response they received from last year’s Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend with creative food pairings for each of their wines, along with new things adding to the WOW factor.  First, the debut of their 2010 Zinfandel (a vintage most Lodi wine lovers consider the finest in memory) for a pre-release sale.  They will also offer tastes of their new limited release White Port style dessert wine, called Sapo Dourado (Portuguese for Golden Toad) – a unique blend of Viognier, Verdelho and Muscat.  In addition, you can experience their Toadilly Lickable Souzão dessert wine, along with barrel samples of their Toadilly Luscious Touriga dessert wine, PLUS a new blend of Luscious and Lickable, called Toadilly Lucky.  To top it all off?  Toasted Toad’s own Toadilly Lickable truffles – all toad, a weekend to remember!

Van Ruiten Family Winery
340 W. Highway 12, Lodi 95242
(209) 334-5722 | vrwinery.com
Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend is always a huge party at Van Ruiten Family Winery; and this year, they are inviting you to their weekend-long Mustache Bash – complete with photo booth, where you and your lover or friends can pick out your own “stache” or stogie for rib tickling Kodak moment.  Whether your style is a Fu Manchu, Pancho Villa or “Tom Selleck in Lodi,” all will pair well with this longtime Lodi family’s mustache-ing, dashing wines!  All weekend, you will be able to enjoy the live musical stylings of DeJay Mullins’ Saxophone, as well as David Allen Kraham’s Gypsy Express.  The Van Ruitens will also match their amazing wines with bacon wrapped meatballs by their own private chef Matt Bergen, who has designed his special chocolate sauce to go with the acclaimed Van Ruiten Old Vine Zinfandel.  For those of you with a sweet tooth, enjoy a taste of Percy’s Sweet Potato Pie with the rare, luscious, amazingly fine Van Ruiten Late Harvest Viognier.

Wine tasting at Kidder Family Winery

Viaggio on the River
100 E. Taddei Road, Acampo 95220
(209) 333-0431 | viaggiowinery.com
Enjoy live music as you taste this winery’s delicious wines paired with their famous Viaggio fudge; along with sampling of Viaggio Estate olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Special Valentine’s gifts available at great discounts, this weekend only.

Vicarmont Vineyards & Winery
16475 N. Locust Tree Road, Lodi 95240
(209) 481-3386 | vicarmont.com
If you prefer the more intimate settings of small, family wineries (this one, grown and owned by Vic and Carrie Mettler), you need to beat a path to Vicarmont.  The Mettlers will offer live music, gourmet chocolate covered pretzels, as well as 1252 Wood Fired Oven Pizza to go with their impeccable wines, such as their plush, opulent, estate grown Merlot.

Viñedos Aurora (Pouring at PAMPLONA TAPAS)
14 West Oak Street, Lodi 95240
(209) 810-0824 | vinedosaurora.com
Viñedos Aurora and Chef Ruben Larrazolo of Alebrijes Mexican Bistro are teaming up to open a cool, new wine and culinary concept in Downtown Lodi:  Pamplona Tapas, premiering next door to Alebrijes during Lodi’s Wine & Chocolate Weekend.  You are invited to celebrate this exciting occasion with them, and experience live Latin music, check out the Lodi Wine Country photography of Randy Caparoso, and of course, taste the handcrafted wines of Viñedos Aurora with an amazingly unique, delicious array of Oaxaca cacao dishes prepared by Chef Ruben.

Watts Winery
17036 N. Locust Tree Road, Lodi 95240
(209) 368-2974 | wattswine.com
Put on your mask and cut loose with some Zydeco, planned for Watts’ Wine & Chocolate Weekend.  Sample Watts’ award winning Pescador Vineyard Zinfandel (gold medal at the most recent San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition) with spicy chocolates and Port brownies, while practicing your bead throwing here on the east side of Lodi.

Woodbridge Uncorked Wine Bar
18911 N. Lower Sacramento Road, Woodbridge 95258
(209) 365-7575 | woodbridgeuncorked.com
In this wine bar located in the charming Lodi hamlet of Woodbridge, enjoy a taste of some 30 wines produced by several boutique wineries (including Akin Cellars, Maley Brothers, Lobo Loco, Grady Family, Weibel Family, and the St. Sophia/Paul Simeon Collection), along with decadent treats from a chocolate dessert bar.

Woodbridge Winery by Robert Mondavi
5950 E. Woodbridge Road, Acampo 95220
(209) 365-8139 | woodbridgewines.com
Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi will set a happening scene with strong chocolate overtones and fine balance of first class wines and good times (including numerous special and experimental cuvée bottlings, found only at the winery).  Look for nutty, spicy, floral and/or earthy complexities with irresistible nuances of fun, music, and of course, chocolates!

Wine & chocolate lovers at Michael David Winery

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