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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.

Bob Highfill
 
January 11, 2018 | Bob Highfill

Wine & Chocolate Weekend offers fun-filled passport to sensory overload

 

The holiday rush has passed, but the party hasn’t ended.

Lodi is gearing up for the 21st annual Wine & Chocolate Weekend, easily the most anticipated passport winery event on the calendar.

Save the time and dates: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, February 10 and Sunday, February 11.

Whether new to Wine & Chocolate Weekend or a seasoned W&C veteran, prepare yourself for two days of fun-filled, sensory overload.

More than 50 wineries, many family-owned, will open their doors and offer samples of their handcrafted wines paired with inventive sweet and savory chocolate bites.

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Time Posted: Jan 11, 2018 at 12:00 PM
Bob Highfill
 
December 19, 2017 | Bob Highfill

Here Are Five Gift Ideas For Wine Lovers

The Lodi Wine & Visitor Center has lots of gift ideas for the holiday season.

It happens to most.

Life gets hectic and the Christmas season sneaks up. Suddenly, it’s late December and you still have gifts to buy.

Need some suggestions? These ideas are sure to be a big hit.

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Time Posted: Dec 19, 2017 at 8:00 AM
Bob Highfill
 
December 12, 2017 | Bob Highfill

Kautz Family Golden When it Comes to Wine … and Much More

The 44-pound Crown Jewel at Ironstone Family Vineyards is the largest piece of crystallized gold in existence today.

Hundreds gathered recently to wish happy birthday to the largest piece of bling anywhere.

The Crown Jewel, some 44 pounds of rare crystalized gold, celebrated its 25th year with a party at Ironstone Family Vineyards, which is owned by Lodi residents, growers and winemaking pioneers Gail and John Kautz. The staff at Ironstone pulled out all the stops with music, food and, of course, samples of delicious wine inside the magnificent tasting room.

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Time Posted: Dec 12, 2017 at 5:56 PM
Bob Highfill
 
November 14, 2017 | Bob Highfill

Bare Ranch is a quiet, peaceful step back in time

Lori Phillips runs Bare Ranch, a historic property more than 100 years old in Lodi.

 

Behind a cluster of towering pines, past a botanical garden and along a gravel path stands a beautiful link to Lodi’s past.

The Bare Ranch mansion exudes opulence from a foregone era.

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Time Posted: Nov 14, 2017 at 4:00 PM
Bob Highfill
 
October 31, 2017 | Bob Highfill

Scary vineyard inspires Klinker Brick's Old Ghost

Klinker Brick's Old Ghost is born from a tale worthy of Halloween.

 

On a dark, foggy morning long ago

In a place few would dare to go

There stood a grower in the eerie light

Gazing at a frightful sight

Gnarled vines cast shadows in the mist

Causing the grower to wonder, what is this?

As the sun rose, it became all too clear

The grower had nothing to fear

The shadows cast were old and true

Zinfandel clusters showing flecks of blue

The gnarled vines would soon bring cheer

For their fruit went into bottles loved far and near

No one could have known on that dark, foggy morn

A beautiful wine would be born

So, what to name this wine crafted from its spooky host?

But simply and aptly ... the Old Ghost

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Time Posted: Oct 31, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Bob Highfill
 
October 17, 2017 | Bob Highfill

Lodi winemaker enjoys bringing people together through his craft

Todd Ziemann has made wine in Lodi since 1988, first with Sebastiani Family Vineyards and for the last 12 years as Senior Director, North Valley Winemaking at Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi and Turner Road Vintners.

Behind an iconic wine brand, such as Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, are everyday people like Todd Ziemann: Talented, committed and above all, passionate.

“The way I like to make wines is fruit with layers of complexity,” Ziemann said. “Fruit is the focus.”

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Time Posted: Oct 17, 2017 at 10:00 AM
Bob Highfill
 
October 13, 2017 | Bob Highfill

Participate in a statewide fire relief effort

Our hearts ache in the wake of the devastating fires in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino counties.

But together we can help.

California’s regional wine associations have united in the #CAWineStrong statewide fundraising project from now through the end of October. Whether winery, restaurant, other business owners or individuals, there is a way for you to pitch in and help. Here’s how:

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Time Posted: Oct 13, 2017 at 3:00 PM
Bob Highfill
 
October 3, 2017 | Bob Highfill

It's easy to be cheesy

Cindy Della Monica has one of the tastiest shops in town, Cheese Central in downtown Lodi.

Cindy Della Monica started baking bread when she was 8 years old growing up in Cupertino.

She took to gardening at age 10.

She clearly embraced farm-to-fork before it became a movement.

“The farm-to-fork movement is huge,” she said, “though that’s what we used to do all the time.”

And Della Monica still is following her childhood passion.

Cheese Central, a boutique, stand-alone cheese shop at 11 North School Street in downtown Lodi, is the culmination of Della Monica’s 40-plus years in the culinary arts. She enjoys helping educate visitors about the wonderful world of cheese – an art form nearly as old as civilization itself.

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Time Posted: Oct 3, 2017 at 1:00 PM