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
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
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
Randy Caparoso
January 31, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

What makes Lodi Zinfandel different? Conversation with Mike McCay

McCay Cellars' Mike McCay in his Lot 13 Estate Vineyard

In our second interview conducted this past January 20, 2018 during the Grand Tasting/Zinfandel Experience put on by Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (a.k.a. ZAP) in San Francisco, we sat down with Michael McCay, owner/grower/winemaker of Lodi’s McCay Cellars.

McCay Cellars may be small-fry in terms of commercial production – barely 5,000 cases a year, a drop in a bucket compared to Lodi neighbors Michael David Winery (over 950,000 cases) and Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi (about 10 million cases) – but has been big time in terms of contribution to the perception of “prestige” slowly but surely being accorded the Lodi Viticultural Area. Of course, this is not to be terribly naïve about this – for a lot of consumers as well as people in the wine trade, media or simply not in the know, Lodi still stands for vin ordinaire. Lodi, after all, grows the grapes for most of California's value priced wines, and California grows more than 61% of the wines consumed in the U.S. (re We've come a long way, baby)...

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Time Posted: Jan 31, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
January 26, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Can Zinfandel be saved? Conversation with Turley's Tegan Passalacqua

Turley Wine Cellars' Tegan Passalacqua in his Kirschenmann Vineyard on east side of Mokelumne River-Lodi (photo courtesy of John Curley Photography)

This past Saturday (January 20, 2018), Turley Wine Cellars winemaker Tegan Passalacqua announced, during our talk at Zinfandel Advocates & Producers’ (a.k.a. ZAP) Zinfandel Experience in San Francisco, that he recently purchased the old, abandoned Eastside Meats building on the east side of Lodi, where he intends to establish the winemaking facility for his personal brand, called Sandlands.

Passalacqua had much more to say on subjects bearing a number of implications for the rest of the wine industry. When Mr. Passalacqua talks, the entire wine world – not just Zinfandel lovers – listens...  Continue »

Time Posted: Jan 26, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
January 18, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi’s 2018 Wine & Chocolate Weekend promises to be another illuminating affair!

During the 2012 Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend, good times at Klinker Brick Winery

Hard to believe, but Lodi’s Wine & Chocolate Weekend is now 3 x 7 years old! This coming February 10 & 11, 2018 will mark 21 years of this annual event, which has always been a great opportunity for wine lovers to enjoy Lodi wine country under ideal conditions...

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Time Posted: Jan 18, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
January 15, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

For this week’s ZAP celebration, answers to frequently asked questions about Zinfandel

Tegan Passalacqua pruning his east-side Mokelumne River-Lodi ancient vine Zinfandel in Kirschenman Vineyard, planted in 1915

It’s that time of year again: the week of the yearly “Zinfandel Experience” put on by Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (a.k.a. ZAP) in San Francisco. For dyed-in-the-wool (or purple tongued) Zinfandel lovers, this is like Christmas and Halloween together – a sacred time for serious fun! For tickets or more information on ZAP’s January 18-20, 2018 events, please visit their ZinEx page.

In lieu of the big ZinEx events, here is our take on answer to questions in the minds of many a burgeoning Zinfandel lover – particularly those lovable many who have recently jumped aboard the Lodi bandwagon...

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Time Posted: Jan 15, 2018 at 7:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
January 8, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Cliff Ohmart, original architect of LODI RULES and sustainability giant, announces his retirement

Dr. Clifford P. Ohmart, early 2017

It is largely agreed, within the American winegrowing industry, that the Lodi Viticultural Area’s crowning achievement has been the establishment, in 2005, of LODI RULES for Sustainable Winegrowing. What you might not know is that LODI RULES was originally the brainchild, for the most part, of one person: Dr. Clifford P. Ohmart.

Dr. Ohmart – who prefers to be called, simply, Cliff – was Lodi Winegrape Commission’s Sustainable Winegrowing Director for 14 years (1996 to 2009). During the past eight years he has been serving as Senior Scientist for SureHarvest (a sustainable agricultural management company)...

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Time Posted: Jan 8, 2018 at 7:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
January 4, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

The perfect sweet reds and blue cheeses for wintry days

Shriveling Zinfandel grapes in early November, destined for The Lucas Winery's Late Harvest Zinfandel

When the weather is nippy, days are short, and you’re hunkered down in a cozy room with an open fire and friends, enjoying the moment after a dinner, old-time music playing on a turntable, that’s when a good sweet wine seems to take the cake.

Especially sweet red wines; which, served at cool room temperature, come off a little deeper in aroma and flavor than sweet whites. Versions of Port – full bodied wines made from black skinned grapes, fortified to 19%-20% alcohol – are, perhaps, the ultimate sweet reds. Here in Lodi, there is also a handful of sweet reds made in a more natural style: red grapes left hanging (i.e. as “late harvest” red wines) or dried on trays until they raisin to higher sugars, then fermented with no fortification of spirits to more moderate alcohols (say, 16% or 17%)...

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Time Posted: Jan 4, 2018 at 7:00 AM