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 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
Randy Caparoso
July 3, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

At 2017 Economics Symposium, Lodi in pole position as America's leading wine grape supplier

Lodi on fire: ancient oak and vines during early summer sunset of 2017

When you come to a fork in the road, take it. - Yogi Berra

The Lodi wine region, along with American wine consumers, have recently reached another crossroad; at least according to several industry observers speaking at the Second Annual Lodi Vineyard & Wine Economics Symposium, held last week at Lodi’s Wine & Roses Hotel, and attended by about 150 industry professionals...

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Time Posted: Jul 3, 2017 at 8:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
June 26, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Culinary yin and yang of Hawaiian cuisine and Lodi wines

Hawaiian hukilau, or "pull" fishing (classic S.S. Lurline menu cover by Eugene Savage)

Lodi may be somewhat of an old fashioned farming community; but one thing everyone here knows: Lodi folks get out. Many of our successful farmers and vintners, in fact, are out and about every summer – exploring every nook and cranny of the world.

When in Rome, as they say, we do as Romans do – including eat, and drink, and hang around outdoor cafés from early afternoons to the wee hours of the morning.

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Time Posted: Jun 26, 2017 at 4:00 PM