Letters from Lodi

An insightful and objective look at viticulture and winemaking from the Lodi
Appellation and the growers and vintners behind these crafts. Told from the
perspective of multi-award winning wine journalist, Randy Caparoso.

Randy Caparoso
April 17, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

Is appreciation of wine as varietals becoming passé? Part 2, pain and controversy

Contrasting Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards: (Top) high cordon machine pruned trellis on single wire in Jahant-Lodi AVA; (bottom) vertical shoot position trellising (usually cultivated by hand) in Rutherford-Napa Valley.

Continued from previous post: Is appreciation of wine as varietals becoming passé? Part 1, history, terroir, rebellion

Pain and controversy wrought by push to go beyond varietal sameness

When many (if not most) Americans think of "California wine," they still think of Napa Valley, even though Napa Valley produces only 4% of California wines (re Capstone California). Non-Californians still have problems finding places like Lodi (which produces 20.5% of California wines), Lake County or Paso Robles on a map. For all they know, Santa Lucia Highlands is located north of the Bay and Anderson Valley is south of it...

  Continue »

Randy Caparoso
April 15, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

Is appreciation of wine as varietals becoming passé? Part 1, history, terroir, rebellion

Harney Lane Vineyards Zinfandel sources (from top): Home Ranch, Scottsdale Vineyard and Lizzy James Vineyard.

First, let's taste three different Lodi Zinfandels, all made by the same local winery, Harney Lane Vineyards:

• The 2020 Harney Lane "Home Ranch" Zinfandel ($32) is almost an essence of what many people love about Zinfandel—round, plumpish yet bouncy on the palate, with velvety flavors, almost plush in their softness, signaled by exuberant aromas of chocolaty fresh berries and a touch of strawberry. "Friendliness" personified...

  Continue »

Randy Caparoso
April 8, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

At the spring Lodi Wine Festival, wines were showing off the appellation better than ever!

Burlington Chandler proprietor Mark Chandler (middle) and his son Dave (right) pouring at the 2024 Lodi Wine Festival.

Lodi wines are better than ever. 

That's the happy thought I walked away with after a spin through the spring Lodi Wine Festival, taking place last Saturday (April 6, 2024) at the historic Ole Mettler Pavilion on the Lodi Grape Festival grounds.

In what ways are Lodi wines better? Number one, they're fresher and purer than ever, not so much overripe, overly alcoholic or overly oaked as many of them were just 10 or 15 years ago.

Sure, many homegrown Lodi wines are still made in "commercial" styles. A good number of, say, Cabernet Sauvignons or Zinfandels made to taste like what average consumers expect out of a Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel, no matter where they come from. Not, in other words, like it tastes like it could come from Lodi, and only from Lodi...

  Continue »


Lodi Wine Visitor Center
2545 West Turner Road Lodi, CA 95242
Open: Daily 10:00am-5:00pm

Lodi Winegrape Commission
2545 West Turner Road, Lodi, CA 95242
Open: Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm

Have a question? Complete our contact form.