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
February 8, 2022 | Randy Caparoso

Joyous visual of Lodi's 2022 Wine & Chocolate weekend

Visiting wine influencers Sarah Unser (@winowanderlust, left) and Paige Comrie (@winewithpaige) pondering glasses of Peltier Winery's Fumé Blanc at the Sunday Brunch taking place at Wine & Roses Hotel.

Although there are many "serious" wine lovers who look forward to Lodi's Wine & Chocolate weekend each year, the participating Lodi wineries, as well as the organization behind the event (Lodi Winegrape Commission), also look forward to this celebration for what it is: an opportunity to turn on wine aficionados who are discovering the joys of Lodi grown wines for pretty much the first time. And the first time is always so... sweet!

This past weekend (February 4-6, 2022) we saw exactly that. We met numerous wine lovers either making a Lodi day trip for their first time, or coming to Lodi to finally spend a night or two in order to partake in several parts of this year's Wine & Chocolate celebration — Friday night winemaker dinners, the Saturday afternoon winery tastings, and the lavish Sunday morning brunch at the luxurious Wine & Roses Hotel & Spa. We met wine lovers coming from as close by as Turlock, Fairfield, San Francisco, and Sacramento, and from as far away as San Diego, Nevada, and British Columbia.

Here is a visual of many of the fun, delicious moments I happened to have captured on my sneaky Canon PowerShot:

At Lodi's celebrated Calivirgin (home of perennially award-winning Lodi Olive Oil), wine lovers enjoy each other with sips of Calivines wines.

The "LOVE" photo booth at Consumnes River Farm.

m2 Winery owners Ted Woodruff (far left) and Layne Montgomery (far right) personally greet their Wine & Chocolate weekend visitors at their vineyard estate.

Wine lovers enjoy the perfect weather and immaculate setting during the Sunday brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel.

Lodi's Tina Borra (center) utilized Wine & Chocolate weekend as a perfect opportunity to hang out with longtime friends visiting from out of town, here at a stop at Jeremy Wine Co.

The Wine & Chocolate Saturday was, as usual, a perfect chance for a "Galentine's" day for many Lodi wine lovers.

Taking a sip of m2 Wines' refreshingly dry rosé crafted from Lodi-grown Zinfandel.

"Love wall" at m2 winery.

Mother and daughter savoring a common predilection (Lodi wine!) in Jeremy Wine Co.'s barrel room.

The aptly shaped labels of Jeremy Wine Co.'s "Lovely Red" blend (left) and "Chocolate Port."

Jeremy Wine Co. owners Choral and Jeremy Trettevik in front of their spanking new winery facility in Lodi's Clements Hills AVA (they project an "official" opening on February 25).

Zinfandel from the surrounding block (Süss Vineyard) aging in French oak barrels at Jeremy Wine Co.

Weibel Family Winery team member showing off the "Disturbed Vine" sparkler in their Downtown Lodi tasting room.

Wine & Chocolate lovers enjoying a "civilized" moment at Caliwines' expansive new tasting room in the Flag City area of Lodi.

Group selfie in front of the Calivirgin wall.

Consumnes River Farm owner/winemaker Jackie Gifford showing off bottlings of her exquisite Bellindora vinegars (she makes 27 different ones in all).

Good friends, fine wines, and delicious chocolates are enjoyed at Oak Ridge Winery.

Moment of levity at Oak Ridge Winery.

Sacramento country singer/songwriter Rachel Lee Roberts doing her thing at Oak Ridge Winery.

Wine & Chocolate pow wow beneath the barrel rings at Downtown Lodi's Cellar Door (a Michael David Winery outpost)

Michael David Winery hospitality honcho James Boore showing off the famous "Petite Petit" and "Inkblot" labels.

Wine & Chocolate lovers just beginning to warm up during the reception of the Friday night winemaker dinner at McCay Cellars' tasting room in Clements.

Lodi personalities (from left), Estate Crush's Alison Colarossi, LangeTwins Family's Amanda Lange, and St. Amant's Stuart Spencer (Spencer is also Executive Director of Lodi Winegrape Commission).

Hor d' oeuvres around a giant lemon branch arrangement during Sunday brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel.

Colorful wine lover during Sunday brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel.

Towne House Restaurant executive chef Ian Bens and general manager Tricia Maley during the Wine & Chocolate brunch set-up Sunday morning at Wine & Roses Hotel.

Putting finishing touches on blood-orange glazed wagyu beef during the Sunday brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel.

Maybe even better, lamb roulade skewers in Meyer lemon nori vinaigrette during Sunday brunch at the luxurious Wine & Roses Hotel.

The Wine & Chocolate Sunday brunch was wild with dry, fragrant, minerally Lodi-grown rosés.

Visiting wine lovers under the towering fern trees at Wine & Roses Hotel.

A serene corner during the Sunday brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel.

During the Sunday brunch, David Holob (left) and William Russell, known as Primitivo, perform their irresistible "Latin rhythms."

The matching couple thoroughly enjoyed the perfect morning topping off Lodi's Wine & Chocolate weekend during the Sunday brunch.

The ever-dapper Steve Felten, Klinker Brick Winery owner/grower, poured his sparkling as well as still Albariño during the Sunday brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel.

A joyous moment during the Sunday brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel.

Acquiesce Winery & Vineyard owners Sue and Rodney Tipton sharing their Lodi-grown wines during the Wine & Chocolate Sunday brunch.

Beet chèvre sliders and endive spears with crescenza cheese are among the many delectable bites prepared by the Wine & Rose's talented chefs during the Sunday brunch.

Three wine and chocolate lovers from Sacramento, conferring their stamp of approval on Lodi-grown wines during the Sunday brunch.

Wine lovers enjoy the impeccably crafted wines by Peltier Winery, plus the opportunity to converse with the winery's acclaimed winemaker, Susana Vasquez.

CocoTutti chef/owner Elyce Zahn (of Brisbane, CA) showed off samples of her exquisite chocolates during the Sunday brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel.

Group shot of Wine & Chocolate weekend wine lovers during the Sunday brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel.



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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