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
July 9, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Pop-up restaurant dinners come to Lodi wine country!

Pop-up dinner at R&G Family Farms' Bing cherry orchard

“Welcome to our family’s first ‘Evening In the Orchard!’” exclaimed Drew Rotner, co-owner of R&G Family Farms, to a table of 24 Lodi wine and food lovers set in the shade of 29-year-old Bing cherry trees.

For the event, the Rotner and Gotelli families collaborated with three extraordinarily talented chefs with Lodi backgrounds, now working as independent contractors in the modern day tradition known as “pop-up restaurants.” Pop-ups are more like restaurants with no walls: Chefs put together gourmet meals, usually very adventurous multi-course affairs, and invite “friends” to sit down and enjoy. For a set fee, of course. It can take place in the rented space of a warehouse, an old Victorian, a penthouse or professional catering kitchen; or maybe in someone’s backyard, the middle of a desert or top of a remote, forested hill. Or in this case, this past Saturday (July 7, 2018), the pop-up happened in the middle of a Lodi Bing cherry orchard planted in 1989 by Gotelli family...

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Time Posted: Jul 9, 2018 at 11:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
July 5, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Paskett’s summer releases reflect abiding respect for regional history and sense of place

Herb Paskett; modern day pioneering grower of Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon (photo by Goff Photography)

Since opening their tasting room doors just this past Thanksgiving weekend (2017), Paskett Vineyards & Winery’s reputation as an artisanal estate has grown steadily.

This past June 30, 2018, about 45 friends, family and winery club members came together to taste Paskett’s latest summer releases, under the shade of stately trees that (once upon a time) were part of the historic Langford Colony – a 320-acre showcase ranch farmed by Benjamin F. Langford, known as the “Father of the California State Senate,” where he served between 1879 and 1900...

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Time Posted: Jul 5, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
June 29, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Premiumization of Lodi grapes and wines addressed at 2018 Lodi Vineyard & Wine Economics Symposium

The historic Bechthold Vineyard; Lodi's oldest continuously farmed planting (Cinsaut planted in 1886)

Lodi needs to actively fight against commoditization and move more decisively towards premiumization,” said Jeff Bitter, the recently appointed President of Allied Grape Growers; yesterday afternoon at the 2018 Lodi Vineyard & Wine Economics Symposium, taking place at Wine & Roses Hotel in front of an audience consisting primarily of Lodi wine grape growers and producers...

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Time Posted: Jun 29, 2018 at 12:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
June 27, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Do women drink wine differently from men? (Lodi gold medals at International Women’s Wine Competition)

LangeTwins Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc in mid-June 2018

Last week, the International Women’s Wine Competition announced the results of their 2018 (and 11th Annual) judging, which took place June 19-20 in Sonoma County, California. More than 1,190 wines were reportedly entered in this judging; and out of that, 171 gold medals were awarded, along with 56 “Best of Class” winners.

Among the Lodi grown wines produced by Lodi based wineries garnering golds:

• 2017 Acquiesce, Lodi Picpoul Blanc ($28)
• 2017 Acquiesce, Lodi Grenache Rosé ($25)
• 2015 Mettler Family, Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon ($25)
• 2017 Sand Point, Lodi Sauvignon Blanc ($12) 

In addition to a gold, Sand Point's Sauvignon blanc – grown and produced by Lodi’s LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards – was also distinguished by a Best of Class award...

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Time Posted: Jun 27, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
June 21, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Bokisch's Lodi grown wines making a huge splash in Hawaii

Exotic fermented honeydew with nasturtiums served at Club Kukui'ula with Bokisch's Garnacha Blanca

The Lodi grown wines of Bokisch Vineyards – predominantly made from grapes that originated in Spain – have been sold in the Hawaiian Islands for over ten years. But in a way, it is mostly within the past two years that they have really begun to make a huge splash.

Why? We suspect for the same reasons why Bokisch Vineyards wines have been selling out faster and faster right here in Lodi: Because more and more consumers are gravitating to lighter, crisper, fresh fruit (and less oak) focused styles of white wines and dry rosés; and are also going more for red wines that are unabashedly fragrant and spice scented, with less emphasis on tannin, excess alcohol and (as in whites and rosés) oak...

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Time Posted: Jun 21, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
June 14, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

The Zen of barbecue: Michael David’s Petite Sirahs and two ways of baby back ribs

Lodi's Mike McCay (winemaker/owner, McCay Cellars) smoking his dry rubbed baby back ribs

The summer of 2018 is upon us (starting June 21st!), and you can almost hear the squeaky sound of grills being wheeled out into backyard patios in preparation for that season of all seasons for the outdoorsy, culinary minded: Barbecue!

Barbecue is like Zen, in that (to borrow an analogy from when trying to describe the taste of barbecue to someone who has never tasted it, you can try to explain the aromas and sensations of it, or you can compare and correlate it with similar foods. However, barbecue is barbecue... when you live it, you know it!

And what we know is that barbecue is not the same kind of food you prepare indoors, in your kitchen. Barbecue means foods with smoky or even charred and caramelized flavors. Maybe it’s the caveman in all of us, but for some reason that taste sensation gets the mind, and palate, salivating. And like cavemen, we frequently need a good beverage; perhaps beer or iced tea, but preferably a good, zingy wine of a certain type...

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Time Posted: Jun 14, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
June 8, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

America’s first Mencía and sharpened tastes of Lodi terroir at PRIE Winery

2017 Mencía in Lodi's Silvaspoons Vineyards

In 2017 Silvaspoons Vineyards’ Ron Silva harvested his first crop of Mencía at his Alta Mesa-Lodi ranch. As far as we know, this is the U.S.’s first commercial planting of the grape.

Mencía – native of the northwest regions of Spain, close to Portugal – is a late-to-the-party black skinned grape, enjoying relatively modest yet intense adoration among connoisseurs of Spanish red wines only within the past 15 years...

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Time Posted: Jun 8, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
June 5, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Why big time producers like Ridge and Neyers are mining Lodi for Zinfandel

Bokisch Ranches' Vista Luna Vineyard in Lodi's Borden Ranch AVA (the rocky hillside source of Neyers' Vista Luna Zinfandel)

Over the weekend we received a note from David Gates, who is V.P. of Vineyard Operations for Ridge Vineyards – a winery that deserves all the credit in the world for being the first modern day California producer to take Zinfandel seriously.

According to Gates: “We are excited about coming back to Lodi after a loooong hiatus. We are looking to diversify our Zinfandel portfolio to help spread out the harvest; and we have seen how Lodi has changed in the last ten or so years – with better, or different, viticulture...”

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Time Posted: Jun 5, 2018 at 11:30 AM
Randy Caparoso
May 29, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi’s Mettler Family and Chef Bradley Ogden team up for a culinary tour de force

At Wine & Roses Hotel's Towne House Restaurant, Mettler Family Director of Sales Kelli Mettler-Costamagna being served by sommelier Scott Reesman

Last week Wednesday (May 23, 2018), Lodi wine country's Mettler Family Vineyards hosted a most “unusual” wine dinner at Towne House Restaurant in Wine & Roses Hotel & Spa.

Instead of showing off the wines for which they are best known from Hawaii to New York – namely, their acclaimed, elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, their powerful Petite Sirah, and their classically rich and chunky Zinfandel – they presented a dinner highlighting their lesser known, alternative style wines...

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Time Posted: May 29, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
May 26, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Lasting images of Lodi's 2018 ZinFest weekend

Lodi grower/vintners Jorja and Kyle Lerner (Harney Lane Winery) at ZinFest Vintner's Grille

Another year, another memorable Lodi ZinFest, which took place last week May 18-19, 2018.

ZinFest is Lodi wine country's biggest event of each year, and the thousands of wine lovers who attend cannot be wrong about that fact! For those who have attended ZinFests of years past, the exciting thing is being part of a wine culture that has quickly become one of the world's most important... 

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Time Posted: May 26, 2018 at 8:00 AM