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.
Cliff Ohmart shares his firsthand detailed history of Lodi's groundbreaking sustainable winegrowing program
Last month (June 2020) we received a note from Clifford P. Ohmart — called, simply, "Cliff" by his colleagues throughout the agricultural industry as well as in Lodi, where he served as Lodi Winegrape Commission's Sustainable Winegrowing Director from 1996 to 2009. Prompted by our recent series detailing the history of winegrowing in the Lodi Viticultural Area, Dr. Ohmart suggested that we also consider posting "a detailed history of the evolution of Lodi's sustainable winegrowing program." Cliff's reasoning...Continue »
Galloping Hills Ranch in Lodi's far eastern hills grows distinctively hand crafted Merlot and Albariño
On their website, Lodi's Galloping Hills Ranch describes itself as a "winery, vineyard, bed & breakfast." All of this is true, except for the fact that the current pandemic has prevented owners Fern and MaryAnn Simoneau from welcoming their very first guests to their Airbnb, ensconced on the floor above their horse stable and modest little winery/tasting room, sporting spectacular views of their 8.7 acres of Merlot and Albariño planted in the rolling hills of Clements Hills-Lodi.
The Simoneaus did not plant their vineyard — the vines came with their property when they purchased it in 2005 — but they were smart enough to know that the possibilities for a Lodi estate unlike any other would be endless. And besides, according to Mr. Simoneau, "Lodi has never been known for great Merlot, but we felt that this property was special enough to change that..."Continue »
A history of Lodi winegrowing, part 9 — Lodi's Jahant, Cosumnes River and Alta Mesa Viticultural Areas
San Joaquin Series Soil
The distinguishing common denominator shared by the Jahant, Cosumnes River and Alta Mesa AVAs — sandwiched between the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to the west and the lower foothill appellations of Clements Hills, Borden Ranch and Sloughhouse to the east — is their variations of the official California state soil (since 1997) classified in the San Joaquin series. San Joaquin soils are characteristic of the lower elevation (generally below 100-ft.), terraced, shallow-topsoil, floodplain topography predominant in much of Northern San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento Valley...Continue »
Why in the world, you may ask, should you sit up and pay attention to a wine called Marzemino when there are so many other fine wines out there, made from the usual, dependable grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, etc.)?Continue »
A history of Lodi winegrowing, part 8 — Lodi's Clements Hills, Borden Ranch and Sloughhouse Viticultural Areas
The Lodi Winegrowing Industry's Expansion Into Hillside Appellations
Most of Lodi's growth as a wine region over the past 25 years has been outside the original area surrounding the City of Lodi, which is defined by an extremely deep sandy loam (i.e. Tokay series) soil on a visibly flat, lower elevation (0 to 150-ft.) plain. This historic area — where the vast majority of Lodi’s old or ancient vine plantings (50 to over 100 years old) are located — is officially recognized as the Mokelumne River AVA...Continue »