The Lodi Life & Times

In Lodi, wine comes first. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Meet the passionate people behind our handcrafted wines and gnarly old vines.

Randy Caparoso
May 13, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Amazing variety of alternative wines to be poured at ZinFest

Planning or still thinking about coming out to Lodi ZinFest this coming Saturday, May 18 (12-5 PM at Lodi Lake Park)?

One thing to take note of:  it’s not just all about Zinfandel at ZinFest.  It will also be about Albariño and Alicante, Grenache and Grenache Blanc, Barbera and Sangiovese, Merlot and Montepulciano, Tempranillo and Graciano, SouzãoSyrah, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, and a dizzying host of other varietal wines and imaginative blends now being produced by Lodi’s finest.

As a matter of fact, the Lodi AVA has always grown a wider range of wine grapes than any other region in the U.S.  Why?  It is connected to Lodi’s history as a supplier to big production wineries.  We wonder if you know, for instance, that Lodi grows more Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay than Napa and Sonoma Counties combined.  On top of that, the big wineries have always asked Lodi’s growers to supply a large variety of “other grapes” for their blending purposes.

Today, of course, Lodi has also become known for its smaller, artisanal style wineries – there are over 80 Lodi based producers right now! – and many of these wineries have been taking advantage of the wide range of grapes at their disposal (especially since many of Lodi’s producers are, in fact, longtime growers-turned-winemakers).  Hence, the bewildering variety of wines now being produced in Lodi.

So whether you’re into Zinfandel, or into “alternative” style wines made from cutting-edge grapes, ZinFest is definitely for you.

The following is a rundown on the wines that our ZinFest wineries are planning to pour.  In reality, they’ll be bringing even more – well over 200 wines for your vinous pleasures.  Wines listed with asterisks (*) will also be available for purchase in the ZinFest Wine Shoppe

Since it all adds up to probably more than you can possibly taste, a good idea might be to prioritize the wines that interest you ahead of time.  To help you prepare, some remarks on the wineries and their listed wines thus far:

Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards | (209) 333-6102
Acquiesce owner/grower Sue Tipton focuses on wonderfully crisp, properly dry, strictly stainless steel fermented, contemporary style white wines (no oak barrels at this winery!), although she also make a deliciously bright, bone-dry rosé from the Grenache grape.  Do not miss the wines from one of California’s brightest, new Rhône grape specialists!
*2012 Grenache Blanc
*2012 Grenache Rosė
*2012 Roussanne
*2012 Viognier

Berghold Winery | (209) 333-9291
The Berghold family’s estate grown, hand crafted wine are all about immediacy of varietal fruit, couched in luxurious textures, as warm and welcoming as the Bergholds themselves.
2008 Syrah
2009 Viognier
2010 Zinfandel

Macchia’s Tim Holdener and Klinker Brick’s Steve Felten

Bokisch Vineyards | (209) 334-4338
Owner/growers Markus and Liz Bokisch have found fame as California’s leading growers of Spanish grapes; and with over 10 vintages now under their belt, their own wines have come to epitomize all that is fresh, bold, imaginative, refined and right about Lodi’s wine regions.  Stop by and see what all the fuss is about…
*2012 Albariño
*2010 Graciano
*2011 Rosado
*2010 Tempranillo

Borra Vineyards | (209) 368-2446
Although Borra (owned by third generation growers Steve and Beverly Borra) is Lodi’s oldest bonded winery (since 1974), winemaker Markus Niggli actually produces some of the most wildly imaginative, contemporary style wines in the state:  native yeast fermented, pure fruit focused, moderate in alcohol, and zesty in natural acidity.  Must-try!
2012 Members Reserve Rosė
2011 Rosé
2012 White Fusion
2010 Zinfandel

Cycles Gladiator | (209) 263-3131
Strong on value, and even stronger in lush, round, eminently smooth tastes – Cycles Gladiator is among the most consistent wine producers in the state.
*2012 Cycles Gladiator Viognier
*2011 Boneshaker Zinfandel
*2012 SIP Moscato
*2011 Cycles Gladiator Zinfandel

d’Art Wines | (209) 334-9946
Dave and Helen Dart are a wonderful couple — yes, truly accomplished in their “d’art” — who produce wines that are distinctive in their handcrafted qualities; beginning with their marvelously rich, supple and earthy Tempranillo…
*2011 Tempranillo
*N.V. Dog Day Red
*2010 Zinfandel
*2011 Zinfandel


Delicato Family Vineyards | (877) 824-3600
Ounce per ounce, you would be hard pressed to find a Zinfandel that delivers as much juicy varietal punch and precision as the Indelicato family’s Brazin bottlings, and their Gnarly Heads have set quality standards in their everyday price ranges.
2010 Brazin
2011 Gnarly Head Authentic Red
2012 Gnarly Head Pinot Grigio

E2 Family Winery | (209) 334-5911
The Ehlers family bring six generations of winegrowing experience to their bottlings, now led by their talented 29-year old winemaker, Elishia Ehlers.
*2009 Verdelho Elegante
*2009 Herman Walter Cabernet
*2008 Herman Walter Zinfandel
*2007 Zagan’s Fire Zinfandel

Estate Crush | (209) 368-7595
Lodi’s own “urban” custom crush winery produces wines for not only over 60 different clients, but also for their own label, representing fantastically high value and freshness (true Lodi hallmarks!).  This year Estate Crush has also produced the 2013 ZinFest Commemorative label Zinfandel (a 2011 vintage) — be sure to take home your own bottling of red headed girl!
2011 Estate Crush Chardonnay
2010 Estate Crush Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Estate Crush Rosė
*ZinFest 2013 Commemorative Old Vine Zinfandel (2011)

Fields Family Wines | (209) 327-6306
Owner/winemaker/growers Ryan Sherman and Russ Fields are fanatical, hands-on artisanal producers.  If you don’t like powerful yet elegantly polished wines, you won’t like Fields Family’s – but do not be a “crazy fool,” as Mr. T would say, and miss out on this impressive line-up:
*2011 Old Vine Zinfandel
2010 Old Vine Zinfandel
2012 Rosé
2012 White Cuvée

Harney Lane’s Kyle Lerner

Harmony Wynelands | (209) 369-4184
“GMA” stands for Grenache-Mourvèdre-Alicante Bouschet:  kick-butt, naked, deliciously pure and rambunctious red wine.  For good time, stop by and say hello to the Hartzell family, who will be pouring their distinctive estate grown wines.
2011 GMA Rhone Blend
2011 Old Vine Zinfandel

Harney Lane Winery | (209) 365-1900
This branch of the Mettler family, behind Harney Lane, has emerged as one of Lodi’s standard bearers:  with ties to the land going back 110 years, they produce state-of-the-art wines of delirious intensity, genuine generosity, amazing balance and pinpoint poise – what today’s Lodi is all about!
*2012 Albariño
*2012 Rosé
*2010 Zinfandel
*2010 Tempranillo

Heritage Oak Winery | (209) 986-2763
Grower/winemaker/owners Tom and Carmela Hoffman epitomize the type of boutique production, estate grown, handcrafted wineries that have completely transformed the image of Lodi wine over the past ten years.  Their exquisitely balanced wines are always among the finest.
2012 Sauvignon Blanc
2011 Block 14 Zinfandel
2012 Zinrosa
2011 Bartlam Zin

Hux Vineyards | (209) 368-0116
If you love an independent, micro-sized winery, you gotta love the work of owner/grower/winemaker Barbara Huecksteadt.  She crafts only a barrel or two of each of her wines, which are always exhilarating experiences.
*2009 Petit Verdot
*2010 Roussanne
*2008 Souzão
*2009 Zinfandel

Jessie’s Grove Winery | (209) 369-0880
Owners Greg and Suzanne Burns tend to vineyards originally planted by their family in the 1880s (to them, “young vines” are 80 years old), but they also know a thing or two about producing bright, contemporary style wines (their Earth, Zin & Fire Zinfandel, for instance, is always a crowd pleaser).  Every Jessie’s Grove wine tells a story!
*2010 Chardonnay
*2010 Earth, Zin & Fire Zinfandel
*2010 Jessence Blanc
*2006 Westwind Old Vine Zinfandel

Peirano’s Lance Randolph (in his famous red shorts)

Jeremy Wine Co. | (209) 367-3773
You won’t find a more dedicated, and more artisanally focused, couple than owner/winemakers Jeremy and Choral Trettevik.  This is the “new-gen Lodi” that everyone’s talking about.
*2011 Barbera
*2011 Sangiovese
*2012 Sauvignon Blanc

Kidder Family Winery | (209) 727-07
You will find owner/growers Aaron and Linda Kidder pouring some of the most meticulously crafted wines in Lodi, including a Syrah that would restore anyone’s faith in this often overlooked grape, and a Tempranillo/Graciano Duet that soothes the soothes the soul, stimulates the mind, and ravishes the palate.
*2010 Syrah
*2010 Duet
*2012 Sauvignon Blanc

Klinker Brick Winery | 209-224-5156
The Felten family personify modern-day Lodi:  longtime growers, heroically farming some of the oldest and most venerated vines in the state, deciding to take matters into their own hand and produce wines under their own label.  Their success, to put it succinctly, has been driven by the pure quality of their grapes and work – outstanding!
*2011 Farrah Syrah
*2011 Old Vine Zinfandel
*2012 Rosé
*2010 Brick & Mortar Red Blend

LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards | (209) 334-9780
LangeTwins is owned and operated by the fourth and fifth generations of Langes, growing and producing delicious wines distinguished by both depth and restraint, adding up to the age-old quality known as “elegance” – something that may not be associated with “Lodi,” except by those who have already experienced LangeTwins wines.  If you haven’t yet, it’s about time!
*2010 Malbec
*2010 Zinfandel
*2010 Caricature
*2011 Sauvignon Blanc

m2 Wines | (209) 339-1071
Owner Layne Montgomery is the consummate small-batch winemaker:  a devil when it comes to details, and a stickler when it comes to making sure that wines taste strongly of both the grape and terroir (that strong “sense of place” rarely found in today’s wine world, beset as it is by demands for uniformity or conformity).  There’s nothing “conformist” about Mr. Montgomery or his wines!
*2011 Artist Series Zinfandel
*2011 Old Vine Zinfandel
*2011 Tormenta Tempranillo
N/V Ruby’s Muse Dessert Wine

Macchia | (209) 333-2600
Tim and Lani Holdener are contemporary pioneers, and torch bearers, for single-vineyard bottlings in Lodi:  they don’t just talk about reverence for the region’s unique plantings, they back it up by producing an amazing array of fantastic Zinfandels, Barberas as well as Sangioveses and Petite Sirahs that truly personify the land-rich and generous spirit of Lodi.
*2011 Delicious Barbera
*2010 Mischievous Zinfandel
*2011 Amorous Sangiovese
*2011 Outrageous Zinfandel

Maley Brothers | (209) 327-5597
The Maleys have been farming grapes on Lodi’s west side for over 140 years, and their wines represent the crème de la crème of what they grow:  velvety, deep, earthy yet elegant qualities, inimitably “Lodi.”
*2007 Zinfandel
*2010 Zinfandel
*2011 Petite Sirah

McCay Cellars | (209) 642-5756
In recent years perhaps no Lodi winemaker has attracted as much media attention as Michael McCay.  It definitely hasn’t been about the looks (that wasn’t him in The Bachelor – at least according to Linda McCay) – it really and truly has been all about the juice.  McCay’s wines are primarily native yeast fermented and crafted more towards restrained (subtle oak, alcohol, tannin, etc.) styles.  If this is for you, stop by to say hello…
*2009 Jupiter Zinfandel
*2012 Tres Blanc
*2009 Truluck’s Zinfandel
*2012 Rosé

McConnell Estates Winery | (916) 685-5368
Winemaker Chad Joseph (the unerring mind behind other top Lodi producers, like Harney Lane, Sorelle, Maley, and Harmony Wynelands) has quietly been composing pure, silken red wines for this fifth generation Lodi farming family.
N.V. 6 Gen Zin
2007 Merlot
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 Zinfandel

Mettler Family Vineyards | (209) 369-3045
The Mettlers are one of Lodi’s great farming families, producing estate grown wines under their own name take take a back seat to absolutely no others (winemaker Adam Mettler also happens to be the GM/head winemaker for Michael David Winery).  One sip, and you will understand the depth that this family brings to Lodi.
2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Petite Sirah
2010 Zinfandel

Michael David Winery | (209) 368-7384
Six generations of the Phillips family have driven this winery all the way to the top as, without a doubt, Lodi’s best known, most internationally acclaimed ultra-premium winery.  From top to bottom, these are amazing wines, very “Lodi” in generosity, freshness and originality, yet as fine and elegant as any made in the U.S.
*2010 7 Deadly Zins
*2011 7 Heavenly Chards
*2012 Symphony
*2011 Earthquake Zinfandel
*2010 Petite Petit
2010 Lust Zinfandel
2011 6th Sense Syrah
2010 Freakshow Cab

Mettler family pouring at ZinFest

Mokelumne Glen Vineyards | (209) 369-5755
Grower/owners Bob and Mary Lou Koth grow a mind-blowing 40 different grapes native to Germany or Austria.  ZinFest is one of the few times they show their stuff, and you’ll be amazed and thankful for the opportunity to try them.
*2009 Gewürztraminer
*2009 Reserve Late Harvest Dreirebe
*2008 Late Harvest Kerner
*2009 Dornfelder

Oak Farm Vineyards | (209) 365-6565
Come over and experience the wines of one of Lodi’s newest wineries, located on the historic site of the DeVries estate, originally built in 1864.
2011 Barbera
2012 Sauvignon Blanc
2012 Verdelho
2011 Zinfandel

Oak Ridge Winery | (209) 369-4758
Oak Ridge is owned and run by multi-generational families now headed by Rudy Maggio and Don and Rocky Reynolds, and their schtick is honest, eminently drinkable wines that are also huge bangs for the buck.  The bucks stop here!
*2009 OZV
*2011 3 Girls Chardonnay
*2011 Robert Reynolds Zin
*2010 Moss Roxx Zinfandel

Peirano Estate Vineyards | (209) 369-9463
The 80 acres of tiny, own-rooted vines on this estate were originally planted by the enterprising Italian immigrant Giacomo Peirano in the 1890s, and the current heir to this incredible family legacy is Lance Randolph, who still tends to these plants with love – something you can taste in each and every Peirano wine (beginning with The Immortal Zin – one of the finest in the state).
2011 The Immortal Zin
2010 The Other Red Blend
2010 “The Other White Blend
2009 The Unknown
2012 Chardonnay
2010 Sauvignon Blanc

Peltier Station | (209) 365-9634
Owner/growers Rodney and Gayla Schatz, and their immensely talented winemaker J.C. van Staden, produce some of Lodi’s most cutting-edge wines under their Hy·brid brand, plus compellingly powerful ones under their Peltier Station label.
*2011 Hy·brid Sauvignon Blanc
*2011 Hy·brid Zinfandel
*2010 Peltier Station Zinfandel
*USB Dessert Wine

Robert Lauchland Vineyards | (209) 747-1429
Boutique production “grower-wines” are some of the most interesting things coming out of Lodi today, and Bob Lauchland is one of the region’s most respected growers.  In short, really cool stuff:
*2011 Crazy Legs Old Vine Zinfandel
*2010 Jubilee Cabernet Sauvignon

St.Amant Winery | (209) 367-0646
Owner/winemaker Stuart Spencer carries on the legacy of Tim Spencer, a legendary vintner that locals still speak of with awe.  It also helps that Spencer still has exclusive access to Mohr-Fry Ranches’ “Marian’s” block – 112 year old vines that fellow winemakers still call the “mother of all Zinfandels.”  Stop by and prepared to be awed…
*2011 Barbera
*2011 Mohr-Fry Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel
*2011 Speakeasy Red

St. Sophia | (209) 369-1851
The most discriminating judges at competitions like California State Fair, Orange County Fair and American Fine Awards, as well as consumer panels at Consumer’s Wine Awards, have consistently bestowed Golds, Double-Golds, “Best of Class,” and Platinum awards on St. Sophia’s Zinfandels – Lodi at its best!
*2007 Zinfandel
*2008 Zinfandel
*2009 Zinfandel

Scotto Family Cellars | (209) 815-0700
Although owning one of Lodi’s newest wineries (est. 2009), the Scottos trace their wine heritage to Salvatore Scotto, who in 1883 moved his family from the beatific island of Ischia (in Italy’s Bay of Naples) to the East Coast, where they produced and sold wines for over 100 years before coming out to Lodi.  Stop by and say hello to 4th and 5th generation winemakers, Anthony Scotto II and Anthony Scotto III.
2009 Regio Moscato
2009 Regio Zinfandel
2010 Scotto Family Cellars Malbec
2009 Scotto Family Cellars Zinfandel

Stama Winery | (209) 727-3314
The Kapiniaris family trace their winegrowing tradition as far back as five generations, in the vineyards of Southern Greece, and bottled their first vintage of Stama in 2005.
*2009 Merlot
*2007 Zany Zin
*2009 The Nymph Cabernet Sauvignon
*2012 Zinfandel Rosé

The Dancing Fox | (209) 366-2634
Winemaker/owner Gregg Lewis has been cultivating his own vineyard in Lodi’s Clements Hills AVA since the late ‘90s, producing smooth, accessible wines that are as much fun as his colorful “wine country-fantasy” labels.
N.V. Firedance White
*2009 Petite Sirah
*2009 Red Zorro

Toasted Toad Cellars | (925) 234-6205
The Werter family, who do everything at Toasted Toad, admit that they founded their winery “on incredible passion and a small dose of insanity.”  Their mantra: “family, friends, food and fun” – to which you can add, “wines for everything from tuxedoes and little black dresses to picnics and hot tub parties.”
*N.V. Sapo Dourado
*2010 Toadilly Lickable Wine
*2011 Viognier Frizzante
*2010 Zinfandel


Beautiful Lodi Lake Park

Upstream Wines by Watts Winery | (209) 329-1569
Longtime Lodi grower/owner Craig Watts, with his French born winemaker Franck Lambert, produce a first class Chardonnay under the family’s Upstream label; but for connoisseurs of adventure, the Watts Montepulciano (made from a fantastically black, exotically spiced grape native to Abruzzo, Italy) is the must-experience.
2010 Montepulciano
N/V Red Blend
2012 Upsteam Chardonnay
2011 Upstream Malbec

Van Ruiten Family Winery | (209) 334-5716
Van Ruiten’s “new” winemaker Matt Ridge (since last June) has all the skills and experience worthy of the 800+ acres of wine grapes grown by the Van Ruiten family since 1952; including some of the region’s most pristinely grown, 50 to 100-year old Zinfandel and Carignane plantings. 
2011 Glory Days Zinfandel
2010 Old Vine Zinfandel
2012 Zinfandela

Vicarmont Vineyards & Winery | (209) 481-3386
20 years ago today Vic and Carrie Mettler committed 40 acres of his Locust Tree Vineyard to Merlot – that “Marilyn Monroe” of grapes – and they continue to set the standard today:  a sip of Vicarmont Merlot is like a plump, posh, happy landing on a chocolate bar.  And their other wines are just as sumptuous!
*2011 Chardonnay
*2011 Merlot
*2010 Sauvignon Blanc
*2011 Zinfandel

Viñedos Aurora | (209) 810-0824
It’s been barely a year since this winery’s first releases, which have been smash hits:  sinewy, sensuous wines (like their blend of Tempranillo, Merlot and Petite Sirah, called Síntesis) grown by the four Anaya brothers (Victor, Ramon, Armando and Gerardo), and crafted by their talented nephew Gerardo Espinosa.  Stop by to taste this incredible success story – a family following the footsteps of their tireless patriarch, Victor Anaya Rocha (who first came to the Delta from Michoacán, Mexico to work the fields in 1944).
*2010 Petite Sirah
*2010 Síntesis
*2011 Albariño

ZinFest dance…


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