Ben Kolber and Kris Gutierrez were working in the middle of the night when a grape harvester broke down, bringing things to a screeching halt.
As they fixed the machine, the pair of Tokay High graduates looked at each other and said, “What are we doing fixing someone else’s machine?”
Fast forward 15 years: Kolber and Gutierrez own KG Vineyard Management on Terminous Tract in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta – a multi-faceted farming operation with 60 to 80 full-time employees tending some 2,000 acres in the Lodi American Viticultural Area, as well as Stanislaus, Yolo and Sacramento counties.Continue »
Like a lot of teenagers in his day, Kelly Brakel worked in the fields to make extra money.
He and his brother and their Lodi High buddies pruned vineyards, mowed lawns, drove tractors and did just about any odd job that paid on weekends and school breaks.
Little did Brakel know his odd jobs would turn into a career.Continue »
Paul Verdegaal had big shoes to fill.
His predecessor at the University of California Cooperative Extension of San Joaquin County, Jim Kissler, walked on water, according to several winegrowers and colleagues who spoke at a recent reception to celebrate Verdegaal’s retirement during the 66th annual Grape Day at Hutchins Street Square.
Verdegaal not only filled those big shoes, he created his own indelible footprint on the winegrowing community in Lodi and beyond. Jim Kissler’s son, Brad, said Verdegaal earned the nickname “Jim Jr.,” the ultimate compliment.Continue »
Amber Spinetta sat next to her father and listened attentively during a recent LODI RULES meeting.
Amber is only 11 years old, so she isn’t yet a winegrape grower or scientist, like many in attendance.
But she understands and appreciates what sustainability means.
Amber is intimately involved in her community and school, Plymouth Elementary in Amador County. She has followed her passion for the environment, wildlife and the welfare of other people, the same tenets as LODI RULES, California’s first third-party sustainable winegrowing program.Continue »
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.Continue »
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.Continue »
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 GhostContinue »
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.”Continue »