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
October 10, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

2019 fall update on the ideal Lodi wines for cheeses we love to eat most

Classic wine cartoon from The New Yorker®

That wine and cheese go together is a concept that needs no explanation, much less justification. Fish swim, birds fly, and there’s nothing like a table set with wedges of cheese and glasses of wine from two, three or more bottles.

We will say this, though: Through experience, lots of wine lovers know that certain wines go better with certain cheeses than other cheeses, and vice-versa. It really is no different than knowing that when you have a piece of white fish, chances are that a light, dry, lemony crisp white wine will probably taste better with the fish than a heavy, oak enriched, bitter edged red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon. Or that a heavy, oaky Cabernet Sauvignon is more likely to taste better with a char-grilled steak than a light, tart white wine...

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Randy Caparoso
October 3, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

The story behind who picks Lodi’s grapes, and why they do it

Sorting out leaves from gondolas filled with Zinfandel picked in Jessie's Grove's 65-year-old Fancy Quest Vineyard this past week

Besides skill, there is a certain amount of brute strength, or at least a mental toughness, required to pick wine grapes. Otherwise, anybody could do it, when in fact not everyone is willing to do it, or even capable of doing it. It’s too damned hard.

Take your typical tote tub, or stackable plastic lug box, used for hand picking. When filled to the top with grape bunches, each tub typically weighs at least 30 pounds – closer to 40 pounds for certain types of (heavier weighted) grape varieties or when piled high in a mound. Each picker fills a tub, lifts it from the ground and carries it 10 to 30 feet to a half-ton macro-bin or steel gondola pulled by a tractor between the vine rows...

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Randy Caparoso
September 26, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Ten more grapes to know

Dornfelder grapes on an end-post in Lodi's Mokelumne Glen Vineyards

One of the joys of the annual wine harvest is being able to get up close and personal with a good variety of grapes, bursting with ripened flavors on the vine. Since there are over 100 wine grapes grown in Lodi alone, this time of year is paradisiacal for a professional oenophile able to walk freely among the vines.

In light of that, we’d like to share close-ups of ten grapes that we find of particular interest (starting below)...

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Randy Caparoso
September 19, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

What we learned from two Lodi vs. Europe blind tastings with visiting sommeliers

Krista Church, the sommelier at Austin, TX's EBERLY restaurant, tasting in Lodi's historic Marian's Vineyard

One of our endeavors during the four days last week when visiting sommeliers selected by SommFoundation explored the Lodi Viticultural Area was to find out where they thought Lodi grown wines fit with the wines of the rest of the world. So we did this in a way that sommeliers love best: blind tasting.

We conducted two blind tastings on two separate days, one comparing Lodi white wines with classic whites from Europe, and the other comparing Lodi vs. European reds. The purpose was not to demonstrate who makes “better” wines. Heck, here in Lodi we can’t even decide where you get the “better” Lodi wines – the ones grown on the east side of the railroad tracks running down the middle of Lodi, or the ones grown a few feet away on the west side...

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Randy Caparoso
September 16, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Visiting sommeliers experience Lodi's unique diversity and share thoughts on how to get the word out

Visiting sommelier, James Brim of Atlanta's City Winery restaurant, picking Zinfandel from 130-year-old vine in Jessie's Grove's Royal Tee Vineyard

Last week – from Sunday, September 8 to Thursday, September 12 – eight sommeliers selected from across the U.S. and Canada by the SommFoundation (a scholarship program associated with the Guild of Sommeliers) – visited Lodi wine country for a full-immersion course. These eight wine professionals were selected from a list of over 60 applicants.

One local sommelier, Benjamin Caldwell of Lodi’s Wine & Roses Hotel & Spa (relatively new to the region, Mr. Caldwell moved to Lodi earlier this year), also joined the group in their study of the appellation during this fortuitous time frame – the middle of the 2019 harvest!

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