oxbow in the river

The Significance of the Oxbow in the River.

(Or, what Lodi has in common with many of the world’s great wine regions.)

Bordeaux has the Dordogne and Garonne; Italy’s Piedmont region the Tanaro, and Germany’s Rhine valley has—well, the Rhine. Seems every great wine producing region has a river running through it. But here’s where it gets really interesting. Each of these locations is characterized by distinct river bends (oxbows, if you will). And the significance of that is? Well, as any geologist worth his or her salt will tell you, those oxbows indicate a concentration of sediment, deposited over time, large enough to create diversions in the course of a river. And in the case of Lodi and the Mokelumne River, that deposit of sediment is alluvium loam brought down from the high Sierras, which just so happens to be one of the richest and most desirable soils for growing (you guessed it) winegrapes. Here in Lodi, this river bend area is known to locals as the Victor Triangle and it’s home to some of the oldest, most established vineyards in the entire state which, of course, you can visit. You can even walk down to the river and see the oxbow. In fact, it’s a great place to sit with friends and enjoy a bottle of wine in the shade of a giant oak. You might even try slipping the term ‘alluvium loam’ into the conversation. You never know where that could lead.

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