Best Lodi Wine Country photos of 2013 (part 1)

January 2013:  Silvaspoons Vineyards' Ron Silva talks about what it's all about (grape growing, handcraft wine and artisanal cheese)

January 2013: Silvaspoons Vineyards’ Ron Silva talks about what it’s all about (grape growing, handcraft wine and artisanal cheese)

Out of the thousands of photos we take of Lodi Wine Country each year, we do have our favorites:  photos that express the vivid realness, sense of family and heritage, the heroism, and sheer joy of Lodi grown wines, vines, and good times.

Part 1 of our favorite photos of 2013:

January:  abandoned bird nest on bared vines

January: abandoned bird nest on bared vines

Three generations of the Mikami family (Lodi farmers since 1895, interrupted only during WWII when forced into internment camps); today, producers of gold medal winning Zinfandel

January: three generations of the Mikami family (Lodi farmers since 1895, interrupted only during WWII when forced into internment camps); today, producers of gold medal winning Zinfandel

First week of February:  pruning of old vine Zinfandel

First week of February: pruning of old vine Zinfandel

Early February "ghost vines":  Maley Vineyards Zinfandel shrouded in early morning fog

Early February “ghost vines”: Maley Vineyards Zinfandel shrouded in early morning fog

Early February winter chill:  Maley's Wegat Vineyard (planted 1958)

Early February winter chill: Maley’s Wegat Vineyard (planted 1958)

Mid-February:  a couple gets engaged during Lodi's Wine & Chocolate Weekend

Mid-February: a couple gets engaged during Lodi’s Wine & Chocolate Weekend

April:  three wily winemakers -- l to r, Ray Kaufmann & Patrick Campbell (Tierra Divina) and Steve Felten (Klinker Brick) in Jean Rauser's ancient Carignan vineyard (planted 1906)

April: three wily winemakers — l to r, Ray Kaufmann & Patrick Campbell (Tierra Divina) and Steve Felten (Klinker Brick) in Jean Rauser’s ancient Carignan vineyard (planted 1906)

April:  classic split-trunk ancient vine Zinfandel in Rous Vineyard (planted 1909, still going strong)

April: classic split-trunk ancient vine Zinfandel in Rous Vineyard (planted 1909)

May:  Concetta Wilkens at Bokisch Vineyards' spring backyard party

May: Concetta Wilkens at Bokisch Vineyards’ spring backyard party

May:  the Abba family (here, Phil, Bonnie and Louis Jr.) have forged a wine grape growing reputation of excellence since arriving in Lodi in the early 1940s.

May: the Abba family (here, Phil, Bonnie and Louis Jr.) have forged a wine grape growing reputation of excellence since arriving in Lodi in the early 1940s.

May:  wine lovers at Lodi's annual ZinFest

May: wine lovers at Lodi’s annual ZinFest

May:  all in the family at Lodi ZinFest -- Klinker Brick's Steve Felten, with his daughter Farrah

May: all in the family at Lodi ZinFest — Klinker Brick’s Steve Felten, with his daughter Farrah

May:  Lodi wine lover (Skye Morgan) at ZinFest

May: Lodi wine lover (Skye Morgan) at ZinFest

May:  Bokisch Ranches' Markus Bokisch (center) with two Santa Cruz Mountains winemakers (Nathan Kandler on left, Michael Martella on right) who also source grapes from Lodi

May: Bokisch Ranches’ Markus Bokisch (center) with two Santa Cruz Mountains winemakers (Nathan Kandler on left, Michael Martella on right) who also source grapes from Lodi

June:  Richard "Rip" Ripken, in his Guard Rd. vineyard -- located 19 ft. below sea level on Lodi's far western edge, in the Delta -- where he cultivated Pinot Noir and over 25 other wine grape varieties

June: Richard “Rip” Ripken,’s Guard Rd. vineyard — located 19 ft. below sea level on Lodi’s far western edge, in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta — where he cultivates gold medal winning Pinot Noir and over 25 other wine varieties

July 15:  typical of Zinfandel plantings throughout Lodi, this cluster is in the midst of version (colors turning from green to purplish red)

July 15: typical of Zinfandel plantings throughout Lodi, this cluster is in the midst of veraison (colors turning from green to purplish reds and blues)

July:  drying Zinfandel clusters, dropped mid-season in Mencarini Vineyards to lighten crop load, hasten ripening and maximize quality

Mid-July: drying Zinfandel clusters, dropped mid-season in Mencarini Vineyards to lighten crop load, hasten ripening and maximize quality

Mid-July: ripening Carignan on gargantuan plant in Jean Rauser's 107-year vineyard, going into perfumed, earthy/scrubby red wines handcrafted by wineries like McCay and Odisea

Mid-July: ripening Carignan on gargantuan plant in Jean Rauser’s 107-year vineyard, going into perfumed, earthy/scrubby red wines handcrafted by wineries like McCay and Odisea

August 7:  the 2013 harvest arrived two weeks early in Lodi -- among the first grapes in, Phillips Farms' Bare Ranch Chardonnay

August 7: the 2013 harvest arrived two weeks early in Lodi — among the first grapes to come in, Phillips Farms’ Bare Ranch Chardonnay

August 21:  Markus Niggli with his Kerner harvest in Mokelumne Glen Vineyards

August 21: Borra Vineyards winemaker Markus Niggli with his Kerner harvest in Mokelumne Glen Vineyards

Borra's Kerner harvest:  Kerner being a German crossing of Riesling and Trollinger, and the major component of Borra's Artist Series Lodi White

Borra’s Kerner harvest: Kerner being a German crossing of Riesling and Trollinger, and the major component of Borra’s Artist Series Lodi White

August 21:  Borra's 2013 Kerner harvest

August 21: Borra’s 2013 Kerner harvest

August:  Mechanical harvester in Bokisch Ranches' Terra Alta Vineyard, ready to go to work

August: mechanical harvester in Bokisch Ranches’ Terra Alta Vineyard, ready to go to work

Vista Luna, pre-dawn Pinot Noir harvest

Pre-dawn of August 19: Pinot Noir picking at Bokisch Ranches’ Vista Luna Vineyard — among the first black skinned grapes harvested each year (going into sparkling wines rather than red wines)

Vista Luna Pinot Noir, macro-bins (Aug 19)

Vista Luna Vineyard Pinot Noir, ready to be delivered to sparkling wine producers

Vista Luna - Pinot close-up copy

Close-up of Vista Luna Vineyard Pinot Noir

August 19:  Albarino harvest in Bokisch Ranches' Vista Luna Vineyard

August 19: Albarino harvest in Bokisch Ranches’ Vista Luna Vineyard

Late August:  harvest dinner in Bokisch Ranches' Terra Alta Vineyard

Late August: harvest dinner (for grower and winery clients) in Bokisch Ranches’ Terra Alta Vineyard

Late August:  Estate Crush owners Sandy Sikeotis, and Bob & Ali Colarossi at Bokisch Ranches' harvest party

Late August: Estate Crush owners Sandy Sikeotis, and Bob & Ali Colarossi at Bokisch Ranches’ harvest party

August 28:  Silvaspoons Vineyard Verdelho, moments from being picked

Late August: Silvaspoons Vineyard Verdelho — oval shaped bombs of lemon, lime and tropical fruit

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