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
August 14, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Oh lord, Lodi! (plus 13 wines exemplifying contemporary Lodi)

Darling of contemporary consumers: Grenache Blanc harvest at Acquiesce Vineyard

Over 650 Lodi wine blog posts ago...

In August 2010 we posted our first blog – entitled, “Oh lord, a blog from the heart of Lodi wine country,” which we are reproducing below to demonstrate how our focus has remained the same over the past seven years: To turn both consumers and professional wine lovers on to the fact that Lodi grows and produces wines that stack up against the best in the world – in its own fashion, of course.

At the end of this flashback we give detailed notes on 13 Lodi grown wines that didn’t exist in 2010, but have since come to represent the competitive quality as well as unprecedented diversity (at least since the ‘60s, when the California wine industry wasn’t so Chard-, Pinot- or Cabernet-centric) for which the Lodi Viticultural Area is now known...

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Time Posted: Aug 14, 2017 at 6:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
August 9, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

The 100 (plus!) grapes of Lodi

July colors of Blauer Affenthaler, a very old yet rare German grape, planted in Lodi's Mokelumne Glen Vineyards

If anything, the Lodi Viticultural Area is prolific. We now count 126 grape varieties planted in the region; all variations of Vitis vinifera, belonging to the original European family or species of wine grapes.

Why Lodi? Simply put, this is where the California wine industry sources most of the grapes going into wines sold for $10 and under, which is about 74% of all the wine sold in the U.S. (re our recent report on the 2017 Wine Economics Symposium)...

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Time Posted: Aug 9, 2017 at 6:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
August 7, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Borra's Markus Niggli reflects on the explosion of red wine blends

Winemaker Markus Nigglis sampling Borra Vineyards harvest

During the past three, four years, Borra Vineyards winemaker Markus Niggli has justifiably garnered considerable media accolades and consumer enthusiasm for his blends of white wine grapes; primarily sourced from Mokelumne Glen Vineyards – an east side riverside vineyard now planted with 50 German and Austrian wine grapes.

But lost among all the hullabaloo is this pervasive fact: Niggli is also a master of red wine blends; all bottled under special Borra Vineyards labels (Niggli’s white wine blends are bottled under the Markus Wine Co. label)...

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Time Posted: Aug 7, 2017 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
August 1, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Influential wine writers recall their first "ah-ha" Lodi moments

Seeing Lodi wine through rose colored wine glasses

The first time is always the sweetest! Or so it’s said.

Of course, we’re talking about the first time certain influential wine professionals and journalists tasted a Lodi grown wine (or several wines) and thought, “Lodi is for real!”

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Time Posted: Aug 1, 2017 at 6:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
July 26, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi celebrates International Albariño Day with a 6-winery “Tour”

In recent years, so many Lodi based wineries have begun producing white wines fashioned from the Albariño grape, it’s practically become “Lodi’s Chardonnay.”

In fact, you can probably make an argument for that, since you will now find more Lodi wineries producing Albariño rather than Chardonnay, and for good reason: Albariño produces the type of dry, medium bodied (not heavy, not light), crisply balanced and fragrant (and almost always, oak-free!) white wine that suits more and more wine lovers’ tastes – especially for the foods we love (think fresh summer salads, ceviches, sushi, sashimi, cold soups, shrimp on ice, oysters in half-shells...).

Lodi is no "ordinary" wine region!

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Time Posted: Jul 26, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
July 24, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Ripken's latest bold moves with Sagrantino and Teroldego

Lodi's Rip Ripken opening his latest bottlings of rare (for California) varietals

Lodi’s Richard “Rip” Ripken has long been known for a philosophy he describes, simply, as taking the “road less travelled.” For Ripken, who owns Ripken Vineyards & Winery, it means several things.

For one, exploring off-beaten paths around the world. It was Italy’s Umbria region, for instance, that Ripken and his wife Nancy first discovered the joys of Sagrantino – the grape of Sangrantino di Montefalco, ranked as an Italian DOCG (the country’s highest quality classification. That was in 2012...

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Time Posted: Jul 24, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
July 19, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

This week, Happy Veraison from Lodi!

This week in Harney Lane Winery's Lizzy James Vineyard Zinfandel (planted in 1904): blaze of veraison glory

As of mid-July 2017, it’s that time of year again in Lodi wine country – the start of veraison, the handy French term (véraison) for “change of color of grape berries.” Call it a coming of age (a vinous bar mitzvah?) of grapes, which happens in an often spectacular blaze of colors, from greens to reds and purplish blues and blacks.

But it’s not just the transitioning of hues that grape growers see in their vineyards. To them it also means grapes have a reached a mid-point of develpment; when berries cease accumulating green mass and begin to accumulate the sugars and flavors instead, which will make fermentation happen and lots of wine lovers happy...

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Time Posted: Jul 19, 2017 at 8:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
July 17, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi's PRIE Vineyards releases a seriously deep, layered Dornfelder

Deep colored Dornfelder grapes in Lodi's Mokelumne Glen Vineyards

Whoda thunk?

That a German red wine varietal normally turned into light, simple, tutti-fruity red wines, typically with small amounts of residual sugar, could yield such a seriously dry, deep, ponderously dark and flavorful red wine in the Lodi, California?

But that’s exactly what Mokelumne Glen Vineyards, located on the east side of the City of Lodi, has been doing over the past 10 years on their property, quietly becoming renowned for its “German Collection” (albeit, German and Austrian grape varieties – at this writing, numbering 50 total)...

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Time Posted: Jul 17, 2017 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
July 14, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Enduring demand for... teinturiers!

Red pulped Alicante Bouschet just picked in Borra family's Church Block

What is a teinturier? Now, that’s a good question for a wine themed game of trivial pursuit.

Teinturier is the French word for “dye,” but in respect to wine, it refers to a type of black skinned grape possessing red colored flesh or juice. Teinturiers are unusual because the flesh of the vast majority of red wine grapes is absolutely colorless, devoid of pigments.

All the familiar red wine varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, etc. – are white pulped. All the color in wines made from these varieties is derived from the skins of those grapes – the pigments extracted during the fermentation process (since red wines are always fermented skins, seeds and all – the skins also contributing the tannin as well as much of the flavor components associated with these varietals)...

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Time Posted: Jul 14, 2017 at 3:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
July 5, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

The impact of pioneers on bourgeoning wine regions like Lodi

Lodi's Bob Koth, watching over harvest of cutting-edge German grapes in his Mokelumne Glen Vineyards

In the latest Wine Business Monthly (July 2017), Jake Lorenzo (the pseudo name of longtime Sonoma winemaker/journalist Lance Cutler) writes an interesting thing about how wine regions successfully evolve; saying: It is Jake Lorenzo’s experience that every wine region dates back to a couple of pioneers. These are people with vision, drive and confidence who are well ahead of their time.

The operative phrase in this observation is “well ahead of their time...”

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Time Posted: Jul 5, 2017 at 10:00 AM