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
June 21, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

International Wine Review gives Lodi Zinfandel its due respect

This past February 2017, International Wine Review's Mike Potashnik (third from left) and Don Winkler (fifth from left) meet with Lodi Native growers and winemakers; including (from left) Jeff Perlegos, Ryan Sherman, Chad Joseph, Layne Montgomery (with dog), Stuart Spencer, Tin Holdener, Mike McCay and John Perlegos

Zinfandel is not the only grape in which the Lodi Viticultural Area excels. But it has always remained the region's signature grape.

It is also a measure of Lodi’s standing in the world of Zinfandel that out of the seven days that the editors of the widely read International Wine Review spent in California this past February 2017, gathering material for a double-issue (released earlier this month) devoted completely to California Zinfandel, they set aside a full two days to research Zinfandel in Lodi. Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (a.k.a. ZAP) also played a major part in organizing the magazine's California visit...

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Time Posted: Jun 21, 2017 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
June 18, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Stunning beauty through the eyes of Lodi photographer Dena Marquez

Ancient, noble oak and vines (Jessie's Grove Carignan, planted in 1890s) memorialized by Lodi's Dena Marquez

My heart is drenched in wine...
- Norah Jones

To see the world of Lodi wine country through the lens of Lodi photographer Dena Marquez is to experience an unbridled enthusiasm and ardor for the natural elements that make Lodi Lodi.

Consequently, the colors in Ms. Marquez’s particular style of photography seem to spring from their surfaces like the fragrances of fruit driven wines (Lodi style wines) leaping from the glass. White clouds in blue skies become irrepresible, somersaulting acrobats. Sonorous sunsets are like dramatic endings to musical scores. Yellows in wild mustard chirp like newborn chicks. Lichen crusted old vines are like old men with wizened, wine stained hands, sitting in dark rooms, murmuring about vintages long past or forgotten...

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Time Posted: Jun 18, 2017 at 4:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
June 15, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi’s sophisticated dry rosés (or, the perfect way to beat the heat)

Glasses and glasses of Lodi rosé (image courtesy of Robin Black Photography)

Oh, it’s that time of year again – when red balls of mercury are shooting up to alarming notches above 100.

Lodi wine country’s sea of vines, if you haven’t noticed, has also been growing at a rampant pace this past spring. Out in the fields, curly tendriled canes seem to be striving for elephant eye heights, with lobed leaves looking downright tropical in size and, well, greenness. Biblical winter rains will do that to a wine region...

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Time Posted: Jun 15, 2017 at 4:40 PM
Randy Caparoso
June 5, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Riaza's unorthodox interpretation of Lodi grown fruit

Riaza Wines winemaker/co-owner Rick Taylor

First things first: Riaza Wines is different from other Lodi based wineries.

The back-story, perhaps, may not be so different: A young couple sharing a love of wine travel to Spain (finding a little town called Riaza, as it were), fall in love with the culture and gastronomy, and come home determined to produce their own Spanish inspired wines...

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Time Posted: Jun 5, 2017 at 6:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
June 1, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

The Gnarly Head conundrum (can mechanically harvested head trained vines meet growing demand for Lodi Zinfandel?)

Delicato Family Vineyards viticulturist Bud Bradley, with 1940s-era head trained, extended spur Zinfandel in Lodi's Kramer Vineyard (the original inspiration behind their Gnarly Head program)

Although the Lodi Viticultural Area is becoming increasingly well known for its wide range of grapes and varietal wine types, the region’s single most important ambassador remains the classic Zinfandel grape, now produced primarily as a red wine (as the popularity of fruity, pink colored “White Zinfandel” continues to wane).

Lodi grown Zinfandel, of course, is also associated with the region’s thousands of acres of “old vine” plantings – largely planted between the 1890s (the oldest) and 1970s. The best selling bottling by Delicato Family Vineyards (i.e. DFV) – sold under their Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel label – is based upon the meager yet intensely flavorful fruits of these phenomenally wizened, gnarled, head trained, spur pruned vines; most of them planted on their own rootstocks in the rich yet porous (Tokay) sandy loam soils defining the historic Mokelumne River AVA, surrounding the City of Lodi...

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Time Posted: Jun 1, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
May 24, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Challenges and surprises in "Lodi vs. world" blind tasting

Blind tasting in Lodi's Wine & Roses Hotel Ballroom

How do Lodi wines compare to the best in the world?

That was the question put forth to an audience of 60 wine lovers – nearly half of them, Lodi wine professionals (winemakers, owners, winery managers, et al.), plus consumers – this past Friday, May 19 in a blind tasting comparing 8 Lodi wines with 8 similar wines from France, Spain, South Africa and Sonoma County. This was extra-curricular event taking place during 2017’s Lodi ZinFest weekend at Lodi's resplendent Wine & Roses Hotel & Spa....

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Time Posted: May 24, 2017 at 4:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
May 22, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Images and memories of Lodi's 2017 ZinFest

Oak Farm Vineyards owner Dan Panella at Vintners Grille with Lodi style bone dry rosé

Over 5,000 wine lovers cannot be wrong! That's how many gathered in Lodi wine country this past weekend to enjoy a Friday Vintners Grille, where they were able to rub shoulders and boogie under the stars with Lodi growers and winemakers, as well as the big, annual Saturday ZinFest Wine Festival bash...

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Time Posted: May 22, 2017 at 6:30 PM
Randy Caparoso
May 15, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

How to taste wine at Lodi ZinFest

Tasting wine at ZinFest Wine School

How to taste wine (without the gobbleygook)

Ready to get into the Lodi ZinFest swing of things?

Tasting wine is not as complicated as you think. It is, in fact, just like tasting food, except it involves a liquid in a glass, and getting accustomed to a five-part process involving

• Seeing
• Swirling
• Smelling
• Sipping
• Spitting

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Time Posted: May 15, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
May 8, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

How ZinFest makes a merry merry month out of May

When strolling through the park one day... in the merry merry month of May ...- Ed Haley (The Fountain In the Park)

Lodi’s yearly ZinFest comes up in two weekends (May 19-20, 2017)!

Besides the fact that it happens during the merry month of May (or, as the old English poem goes... so frolic, so gay, and so green, so green!), there are several great reasons why you should be there...

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Time Posted: May 8, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
May 2, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Springtime Lodi wine and food adventures at Wine & Roses

Spring Wine & Food Class in the Wine & Roses Hotel Ballroom

On this page we welcome guest blogger Robin Black, who pens Wine-Stained Lens when not plying her trade as a professional photographer (visit Robin Black Photography). Robin reports on a Lodi wine and food class that took place this past April, led (as it were) by our regular author Randy Caparoso.

Robin Black

Take it away, Robin!

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Time Posted: May 2, 2017 at 11:00 AM