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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.

 
February 27, 2018 |

It's all in the family for Lodi grower Kelly Brakel

Lodi winegrower Kelly Brakel has worked for the Lange Family since 1973.

Like a lot of teenagers in his day, Kelly Brakel worked in the fields to make extra money.

He and his brother and their Lodi High buddies pruned vineyards, mowed lawns, drove tractors and did just about any odd job that paid on weekends and school breaks.

Little did Brakel know his odd jobs would turn into a career.

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Time Posted: Feb 27, 2018 at 8:13 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
February 23, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Historic Lodi buildings and images (Part 1 - Sacramento and Main Streets)

Lodi Transit Station

Lodi is not just America’s most widely planted wine region. It is also something inextricably anchored to the City of Lodi – first settled in 1846, and incorporated in 1906 – with its own proud past, prosperous present, and even brighter future.

When the vast majority of people visit Lodi wine country today, they arrive by car. Which is a shame, since they are not stepping foot upon the platform of the beautifully restored Lodi Transit Station where they immediately learn that the City of Lodi sits at about a 45-ft. elevation, and is now home to about 68,000 residents – not exactly a tiny community, yet far from a big one. Lots of people would call that “just right...”

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Time Posted: Feb 23, 2018 at 7:00 AM
 
February 15, 2018 |

Verdegaal served Lodi's growers with knowledge, commitment and straight talk

Paul Verdegaal, left, and Lloyd Martell share a laugh during a reception to honor Verdegaal, who is retiring from the University of California Cooperative Extension of San Joaquin County. (Photos by Marcy Sousa)

Paul Verdegaal had big shoes to fill.

His predecessor at the University of California Cooperative Extension of San Joaquin County, Jim Kissler, walked on water, according to several winegrowers and colleagues who spoke at a recent reception to celebrate Verdegaal’s retirement during the 66th annual Grape Day at Hutchins Street Square.

Verdegaal not only filled those big shoes, he created his own indelible footprint on the winegrowing community in Lodi and beyond. Jim Kissler’s son, Brad, said Verdegaal earned the nickname “Jim Jr.,” the ultimate compliment.

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Time Posted: Feb 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
February 13, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Images of Lodi's 2018 Wine & Chocolate Weekend by Frances Siria

Luscious Lodi Zinfandel straight from the barrel during 2018's Wine & Chocolate Weekend

For our photographic memories of Lodi’s 2018 Wine & Chocolate Weekend, we enlisted local Digital Marketing Specialist Frances Siria to chronicle some of her favorite moments, with images taken with her stealth smartphone. Ms. Siria currently serves as the Social Media Specialist for Wine & Roses Hotel, Restaurant & Spa, and has helped build a strong online presence for a number of businesses and nonprofits.

Asked about her general impressions on how the weekend went, Siria told us...

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Time Posted: Feb 13, 2018 at 11:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
February 8, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

m2's Lodi wines are as fresh, terroir driven and iconic as ever

m2 Wines' Layne Montgomery in his iconic Zinfandel source, Soucie Vineyard

We have always described Lodi’s m2 Wines as a connoisseur's brand. From the moment winemaker/co-owner Layne Montgomery opened for business in 2004 – first in a cramped industrial warehouse on the east side of town, then later (in 2014) in a sleek, ultra-modern, 6,000-square-foot customized winery/tasting room on the west side, plopped down in an open field like a geometric crop circle next to the old Western Pacific Railroad tracks – wine lovers have flocked to the m2 tasting counters for what’s in the bottle, not for the hype or stately glamour.

Montgomery himself – who is rarely seen outside a t-shirt, mismatched socks, shorts or jeans – is known more for his facetious personality, occasional grumpiness, and wit as dry as the Mojave. Loyal m2 customers love it...

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Time Posted: Feb 8, 2018 at 4:00 AM
 
February 6, 2018 |

It's never too soon to think LODI RULES

Michael Spinetta and his 11-year old daughter Amber attended a recent LODI RULES meeting in Woodbridge. Amber has adopted the spirit of LODI RULES at her school, Plymouth Elementary.

 

Amber Spinetta sat next to her father and listened attentively during a recent LODI RULES meeting.

Amber is only 11 years old, so she isn’t yet a winegrape grower or scientist, like many in attendance.

But she understands and appreciates what sustainability means.

Amber is intimately involved in her community and school, Plymouth Elementary in Amador County. She has followed her passion for the environment, wildlife and the welfare of other people, the same tenets as LODI RULES, California’s first third-party sustainable winegrowing program.

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Time Posted: Feb 6, 2018 at 8:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
February 3, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Mary Orlin on Lodi's 2018 Wine & Chocolate Weekend - love is in the air and in the glass!

Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend lovers

First, Lodi Wine is pleased to welcome our guest blogger Mary Orlin, who brings amazing credentials to our page. Orlin is the former wine and food writer for San Jose's The Mercurey News (2014-2017), a James Beard Award and Emmy award-winning journalist, a Certified Sommelier and WSET Advanced Certified Wine Professional, and frequent professional wine judge. Prior to 2014, Orlin contributed to local and national wine publications; most notably, producing the wine TV show "In Wine Country" on NBC for nine seasons. Her journalism career began at CNN in Atlanta, and she continues to blog her own WineFashionista site.

Mary Orlin (photo by Jon Orlin)

Take it away, Mary!

Love Is in the Air

Your perfect wine match is waiting to be discovered. With some 125 varietals growing in the Lodi region, there’s a wine for every taste, from aromatic whites, bold and spicy reds to sparkling bubbles and crisp, dry rosé. And the best way to discover something new? Sipping and noshing your way through the 21st annual Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend, Feb. 10-11, 2018...

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Time Posted: Feb 3, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
 
February 2, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

2018 statistics on American wine consumption (and what it means for Lodi)

Toast to Lodi wine country at ZinFest Vintners Grille

In her latest Overview of the U.S. Wine Industry, released this past January 31, 2018, Master of Wine/Sonoma State University Professor Liz Thach remarks: Many of the statistics for 2017 U.S. wine sales are in and the results show steady growth, but with increasing competition from imports and other beverages. The outlook is still positive because it is expected that 2018 will continue to see steady growth pattern of previous years, at around a 2% increase in U.S. wine sales value.

What do the latest statistics mean for consumers of Lodi wine, as well as for growers and producers in the Lodi wine region? Lodi, after all, crushes about 20% of California’s entire wine grape crop (currently averaging over 4 million tons) each year...  Continue »

Time Posted: Feb 2, 2018 at 7:00 AM