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
November 26, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

In Lodi autumn is poetry

Mornings are dipping into nose nipping sub-30 degree temps.  Leaves are doing their yearly dance of death, and grape vines are preparing their wintry beds on frost gilded coverlets of greens skirted with crinkley leaves hued in fiery reds, oranges and yellows.

It’s autumn in Lodi.  Or as Robert Frost put it, Nature’s first green is gold… her hardest hue to hold… A pictorial accounting of that poetic transition in 2010...

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Time Posted: Nov 26, 2010 at 3:10 PM
Randy Caparoso
November 23, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi knows alternative Thanksgivings

Winery cat (Jessie's Grove's Royal Tee Vineyard)

“Happy families,” wrote Tolstoy, “are all alike, and every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”  Or are they?  As it’s also often said, we don’t get to choose our families, but to a large extent, we can certainly control the circumstances under which we see them.  Especially for Thanksgiving, which is all about everyone returning to the nest.

One thing we also know about families:  not all of them have the same taste.  Not everyone, for instance, digs turkey.  In a prior blogpost, A Lodi wine country Thanksgiving, we furnished a treatise on the ideal wines for many of the variations of turkey we love.  But what if your idea of Thanksgiving is, as illustrated by yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle piece called Crab makes you forget turkey on Thanksgiving, is some kind of fruits de mers (fish or shellfish), or roast beef, leg of lamb, baked ham, wild boar or shotgunned game birds?

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Time Posted: Nov 23, 2010 at 3:05 PM
Randy Caparoso
November 10, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

A Lodi wine country Thanksgiving

Let your turkey guide your wine choices, and one Lodi family’s Thanksgiving menu and secret family recipe for potato rolls…

The turkey is one of our greatest comfort foods.  When we were kids we simply traced our fingers to draw them.  It has also remained as all-American a culinary delicacy as any:  as ubiquitous as it may seem to us, it’s never caught on in other countries, even in Europe (because they used to confuse native Americans with Indians from India, the French still call it coq d’Inde, the “cock of India” – how twisted is that?).

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Time Posted: Nov 10, 2010 at 3:02 PM
Randy Caparoso
November 9, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

Fields Family post-holiday throw-down

Partners in wine: Ryan Sherman and Russ Fields

Russ and Melinda Fields (and their three kids) and their partner/winemakers at Lodi’s Fields Family Wines, Ryan and Jalynn Sherman (with their two kids), celebrate Thanksgiving in the usual tradition.  But the during the weekend after, according to Ryan, the families and their friends get together to commence their “post-holiday throw-down.”

The Fields and Sherman families share a passion for cooking, which goes hand in hand with the passion for grapegrowing and winemaking they have shared since their first meeting of like minds in 2004.

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Time Posted: Nov 9, 2010 at 3:58 PM
Randy Caparoso
November 9, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

Thanksgiving sweets everybody loves

Who doesn’t love a great sweet wine?  Your Aunt Gladys and Uncle Boyd, your brother the wine geek, your sister the foodie, mom who loves everything and dad who always proclaims “I know what I like” but still can never remember what he had last week:  they all love the wines winemakers probably work the hardest on which, incidentally, always taste great with dessert.

Gotta love it!

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Time Posted: Nov 9, 2010 at 2:54 PM
Randy Caparoso
November 5, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

Taste Lodi: Woodbridge Moscato

Vinous sweet matched with Chef Didier’s poached pears…

The goods: A compelling array of orange blossom, rose petal, tropical flowers (jasmine and frangipani) and honeysuckle perfumes tease the nose; and then totally deliver on the palate:  feathery light(10.3% alcohol) and modestly sweet (4.8% residual sugar) sensations, with the airy crispness of lemon cookies and a tingly touch of effervescence (what the Italians would call frizzante).

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Time Posted: Nov 5, 2010 at 2:50 PM
Randy Caparoso
November 4, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

Woodbridge, we hardly knew ye…

Discover startlingly innovative wines and Childrens’ Comfort Foods during THE FIRST SIP weekend at Woodbridge…

Have you heard about one of Lodi’s newer “boutique” wineries:  Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi?

We kid you not, since April Fool’s is in April, not November.  If you’re planning to cover the Lodi winefront during THE FIRST SIP weekend this coming November 13-14, it might be a good idea to set aside a few minutes to visit the giant Woodbridge winery (yes, it’s built to process a quarter of what Lodi grows, and over 8 million cases of wine each year) and taste their lineup of boutique style wines (no more than 200 cases of each) made from decidedly cutting-edge grapes like Vermentino, Verdelho, Malvasia and Marsanne.

You may not have heard of he small, innovative side of Woodbridge, but make no mistake:  these wines are go-o-od.

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Time Posted: Nov 4, 2010 at 2:47 PM
Randy Caparoso
October 30, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

Your game plan for Lodi’s “First Sip”

Block out November 13 & 14 on your calendars for Lodi’s annual THE FIRST SIP!

The one wine region that holds an all-weekend party allowing visitors to preview wines from the spanking new vintage (this year:  2010s!) just days after coming off the vine?

What is:  Lodi, of course!  Comparing visiting Lodi with most other wine regions is like kissing a boy or girl:  you can either catch pneumonia or fall in love.  In most places, when you walk into a tasting room, you get the putyourmoneydownautomatonattitude from the usual hourly employee.  In Lodi, you’re almost always warmly greeted by a winemaker, an owner or some member of the family who has a personal stake in the business, and can speak intelligently from that perspective about the wines.

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Time Posted: Oct 30, 2010 at 6:32 PM
Randy Caparoso
October 27, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

Zintastic Lodi Wine & Art Auction

“Gala” doesn’t quite describe Artisan Masters’ Lodi Wine & Art Auction that took place in Lodi’s Hutchins Street Square this past Saturday (10/23).  How about, say, an extra-sensory, fantastical, phantasmagoric vinous adventure?  The eye opening spices and vividly flavorful barrels of ’09 and 2010 Zinfandels presented by twenty of Lodi’s top wineries certainly made many of our tongues skip such a light fandango. 

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Time Posted: Oct 27, 2010 at 6:23 PM
Randy Caparoso
October 24, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

Tokay & Zinfandel’s affair to remember

One of our most illuminating conversations during the 2010 harvest – pretty much wrapped up, here in Lodi, by almost everyone just before the rain this past weekend (10/23-24) – was with Jonathan Wetmore.  Mr. Wetmore owns the boutique sized Grands Amis Winery; and his vineyard management company, called Round Valley Ranches, has been farming grapes for other wineries (currently, over 2,000 acres for folks like Jesse’s Grove, Bogle, Delicato, E&J Gallo, Geyser Peak, and many more) since 1976.

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Time Posted: Oct 24, 2010 at 6:14 PM