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
March 30, 2023 | Randy Caparoso

Voluptuary + Lucid embraces Lodi grapes like gifts of nature, perfectly suitable for adventurous winemaking

Voluptuary + Lucid owner/winemaker Kevin Luther in a book lined corner of his urban Sacramento winery/tasting room.

A "natural" winemaker in flux

There is a micro-winery located in our State Capitol of Sacramento owned by a winemaker named Kevin Luther. Mr. Luther bottles wines under his Voluptuary + Lucid brand, all with curious, almost dreamy, artistic labels reflecting the restless dispostion of the winemaker himself.

Not that Voluptuary + Lucid wines are "all about Kevin." Surprisingly, they are not, despite the continuous compulsion to explore perspectives and techniques on the part of this particular Kevin in question...

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Randy Caparoso
March 27, 2023 | Randy Caparoso

Arianna Wines harbors a passion for Lodi-grown Torrontés, one of the world's most exotic white varietals

Arianna Wines owner/winemaker Arianna Spoto with Torrontés vines in Lodi's Silvaspoons Vineyards.

Many of America's best independent winemakers are driven by passion; and not uncommonly, it is passion first fired up by one moment of serendipity.

For Arianna Wines owner/winemaker Arianno Spoto, that moment came in 2014, while she was working a harvest in Argentina's Mendoza region, when a colleague shared a bottle of local white wine with her.

"It was a wonderful," recalls Spoto. "The wine had an amazing fragrance, like rose water and spice, reminding me a little of Gewürztraminer, but with a freshness that reminded me a little of a ripe Sauvignon Blanc. I asked, 'what is this?' I was told that it was made from Torrontés, a grape that grows everywhere in Argentina, sort of like Chardonnay is found everywhere in California... 

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Randy Caparoso
March 21, 2023 | Randy Caparoso

Mikami Vineyards continues to forge its identity by rolling with the flow of its provenance

Mikami Vineyards' owner Jason Mikami, a third generation Lodi grower, with his winemaker Kian Tavakoli, sampling newly fermented rosé from stainless steel casks.

After 15 commercial vintages, Mikami Vineyards is still a tiny brand. Current total production barely tops 500 cases. By comparison, most Lodi wineries falling in the "small" category produce a few thousand cases. Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi winery churns out several million. 

Still, Mikami Vineyards' first vintage, a 2008 estate grown Zinfandel, totaled just 50 cases. Modest progress has been made. The important thing, as owner/grower Jason Mikami recently told us, is, "We still sell out everything we make... we feel lucky to have such a loyal following..."

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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

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