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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.

Randy Caparoso
 
March 22, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

The past, present and future usages of head trained vines in Lodi

Classic 8-spur head trained vine in Burness Vineyard on the east side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA

In the 1850s and 1860s, when pioneering growers first began planting wine grapes in Sonoma County, Napa Valley, the Santa Cruz Mountain area, Amador County and, of course, the Lodi Viticultural Area, they planted their vines as free-standing plants – with no trellis wires, just one supportive stake per vine – in a fashion known as "gobelet."

Gobelet literally translates as “goblet,” in reference to the virtual shape of the vine: classically, a trunk topped at no more than a foot or two from the ground, crowned by eight (give or take) “spurs,” which are shortened canes kept as permanent arms positioned around the top (i.e. “head”) of the trunk. In this style of cultivation – said to date back to the ancient Egyptians and Romans yet still commonly practiced throughout Southern France and Spain – most of each year’s growth is pruned back during winter months, leaving buds or nodes at the top of each spur for the growth of typically two new canes in early spring...

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Randy Caparoso
 
March 20, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Spring, glorious spring in Lodi wine country!

Spring pruning of old vine Zinfandel in Stampede Vineyard (Clements Hills-Lodi AVA)

Okay, so it’s still a little gray out there, and the ground has not yet completely dried up from the winter rains (but hey, water!), on the first day of spring – or the vernal equinox (as of Wednesday, March 20 in the Northern Hemisphere), when day and night are just about equal in length – here in Lodi wine country.

But if you look closely, buds are just beginning to break out in the fields and vines, and in our annual bushes and trees. That means something, doesn’t it? It’s a yearly reconfirmation of life, just when we thought winter would never end (or rather, as it’s often seemed in recent years, just when we were wondering if we somehow overslept and missed “winter” completely)...

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Randy Caparoso
 
March 14, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Sacramento Bee’s Mike Dunne shares honest feedback on Lodi's latest wines

The Sacramento Bee's Mike Dunne, judging in The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition's sweepstakes round (photo courtesy of Eric Degerman/Great Northwest Wine)

Mike Dunne is one of those newspapermen whose unimpeachable creds as a published wine pundit were established roughly in the Stone Age. That is, when The Rolling Stones were still considered a voice of “youth” (who knows what you should call them now).

Mr. Dunne officially “retired” from The Sacramento Bee in 2008 after working for this flagship McClatchy daily as a food editor, restaurant critic and wine columnist for some 30 years. But like the Stones, he just never goes away. Instead, he continues to regularly file his impeccably composed “Dunne on Wine” columns at the Bee, covering every conceivable wine region from Washington and Oregon to Chile and Australia, every nook and cranny of California and much of the “old country” in Europe as well. His interests, and therefore insights and erudite commentary, are decidedly global. Plus, as a professional wine judge, Mr. Dunne’s services are in demand up and down the West Coast, and beyond (for a short time, Dunne also served as head judge for the venerable California State Fair)...

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Randy Caparoso
 
March 12, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Mountain Tides succeeds with one grape (Petite Sirah), inaugurated with Clements Hills-Lodi fruit

Mountain Tides winemaker/owner Scott Kirkpatrick at Clements Hills-Lodi's Viñedos Aurora Vineyard

There are plenty of American wineries founded with the intention of specializing in one grape, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir or Zinfandel. There is a much smaller handful hanging their hats on grapes like Tempranillo, Syrah, Mourvèdre or Grenache. But Petite Sirah? That may take some guts.

And there is one, based in Napa, sourcing most of its Petite Sirah fruit from... Lodi!

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Randy Caparoso
 
March 8, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Why half of LODI RULES sustainable vineyards are now located outside of Lodi

View of Vino Farms' Grand Vin Lands - a showcase LODI RULES for Sustainable Winegrowing vineyard - through one of its meticulously cultivated, bio-diverse insectories

Lodi is known for its heritage Zinfandel and, increasingly, its huge diversity of grapes and wines (over 100 commercially grown varieties, by recent count). Where else in California can you say, for instance, you can find more brands of Albariño and Tempranillo than Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon?

You can also think of the Lodi Viticultural Area’s place in the American wine grape industry in the same way you think of Salinas Valley, which is often called the nation’s “salad bowl.” Salinas Valley doesn’t grow all of the country’s lettuce, spinach and broccoli, but it easily grows more of that than any other single agricultural region...

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