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, 2023 | Randy Caparoso

Dangerously easy fun at Lodi's 2023 Wine & Chocolate celebration

Bourdon Wines' Becca Kufrin—also a "Bachelorette" and "Bachelor" star—with her winemaker, E2 Family Winery's Brett Ehlers, pouring her "dangerously easy" sparkling wines during the 2023 Wine & Chocolate Sunday Brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel.

"Dangerously easy to drink" is the way popular wine blogger Hannah Spiegel (find her on and @vinoforbreakfast on Instagram) described the uniquely dark and delicious Bourdon Sparkling Syrah she tasted at the 2023 Lodi Wine & Chocolate Brunch, this past Sunday, February 5th at the luxurious Wine & Roses Hotel.

You could, in fact, describe most of the wines produced in the Lodi appellation in exactly this way. It is the region's Mediterranean climate and rich yet eminently grape-friendly soils that naturally grow this style of wine: consistently round, smooth, and pungently aromatic in a fresh and intense fruit-forward fashion.

Lodi wine lovers at the Wine & Chocolate weekend Sunday Brunch. 

Thousands of other Lodi wine lovers enjoyed wines of this nature during this annual event's three-day festivities, which started with intimate dinners at Lodi wineries on Friday night, and drive-around winery visits on Saturday (February 3-4).

Ms. Spiegel went on to gush passionately about her meeting with the celebrity owner of Bourdon Wines: Becca Kufrin, whose countenance is better known as that of the star lead of season 14 on ABC’s “The Bachelorette" as well as the winner of season 22 of “The Bachelor.” Kufrin collaborates with Lodi's E2 Family Winery to produce sparkling wines that exactly fit her bottomless thirst and zest for life.

The vividly rich, deeply pigmented, and unique Sparkling Syrah by Becca Kufrin's Bourdon Wines.

Inspired by kufrin's wines and personality, Spiegel immediately posted this on her social media pages:

 🙋🏻‍♀️ It was such a treat to meet former bachelorette @bkoof at yesterday’s @lodi_wine white, sparkling, and rosé brunch. Her label @drinkbourdon produces three different sparkling wines—including a cuvée, a sparkling rosé, and my personal favorite, a sparkling Syrah that we took home. The sparkling Syrah has bright blackberry and blueberry notes but is much drier in style than a Lambrusco. It’s dangerously easy to drink and I have a feeling this was my first but not my last time buying this wine! 

Former Major League All-Star Greg Vaughn showing off one of his GV 23 wines at E2 Family Winery.

During the Saturday festivities, E2 Family Winery also showed off the wines produced in collaboration with two more celebrity personalities: Legendary Oakland Raiders-affiliated Pro Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff—the Biletnikoff 25 Wines personally presented by Mr. Biletnikoff's spouse, owner/CEO Angela Biletnikoff—as well as four-time Major League Baseball All-Star Greg Vaughn

Mr. Vaughn is also celebrated locally because he is a Sacramento native. After playing for 17 years in the majors, Vaughn' founded Vaughn's Valley Foundation™ and proceeds from his Lodi-grown GV 23 Wines support community organizations in his hometown benefiting at-risk youth and T1D education.

Sparkling rosés at Lodi's Wine & Chocolate Sunday Brunch.

Just before the weekend, E2 CFO/winemaker Brett Ehlers was quoted to say that events such as Lodi's Wine & Chocolate are an important way of giving exposure "to small Lodi wineries such as E2." Kudos definitely go to the Ehlers family—California farmers since 1821, and grape growers in the Lodi wine region since 1921—for not only having the gumption to cultivate celebrity partnerships but also for finding creative ways to introduce countless more wine lovers to the fresh and easy (even if "dangerous!") attributes natural to wines grown in Lodi.

More photographs illustrating what a great time was had by all who came out for 2023's Lodi Wine & Chocolate weekend...

Great gang of wine and chocolate lovers at Mettler Family Vineyards.

Moment of peace at Bokisch Vineyards in Lodi's Clements Hills appellation.

Keen anticipation during walk into Mettler Family Vineyards for Lodi's Wine & Chocolate's Saturday festivities.

Exceptionally wine-savvy couple at Sunday Brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel.

The widely followed wine influencer/educator/sommelier Samantha Capaldi (@samanthasommelier on Instagram) enjoying the end of Wine & Chocolate's Saturday tastings at The Lounge at Lodi Crush.

Musical corner at The Lounge at Lodi Crush at the end of Lodi's Wine & Chocolate Saturday tastings.

"Samantha Sommelier" visiting with Lodi Crush/Anaya Vineyards owner/winemaker Gerardo Espinosa (left) and Seis Soles Wine Co. owner/winemaker Christopher Rivera at The Lounge at Lodi Crush.

Goofing around at Mettler Family Vineyards.

Wine and chocolate lovers at Mettler Family Vineyards.

Mettler Family Vineyards matriarch Charlene Mettler personally pours her family's specialty vineyard-designate bottlings Zinfandel.

Letting the good times roll at Mettler Family Vineyards.

Lodi's Gina Licari feels the sudden urge to dance at Mettler Family Vineyards.

Kodak moment at Mettler Family Vineyards.

Mettler Family Vineyards GM Kim Mettler Eells overseeing another great, smoothly run Wine & Chocolate weekend.

Rocking it at Mettler Family Vineyards.

Piece of paradise at Bokisch Vineyards.

Leisurely Saturday in the Bokisch family's Terra Alta Vineyard.

Biletnikoff 25 owner/CEO Angela Biletnikoff showing off her eponymous wines at E2 Family Winery.

Good times at E2 Family Winery.

Enjoying the taste of celebrity wine brands at E2 Family Winery.

Wine and Chocolate lovers at E2 Family Winery.

Toast to red wine perfection at St. Amant Winery.

Forthcoming taste of the ultra-smooth and rich The Bootleg Society Speakeasy Red Blend at St. Amant Winery.

The LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards table at Sunday's Wine & Chocolate Brunch.

Burlington Chandler Wines owner/grower Mark Chandler (also the City of Lodi's two-time former mayor) with his son Dave Chandler, pouring their family wines at Woodbridge Uncorked Wine Bar.

The absolutely fabulous time during Sunday Brunch at Wine & Roses Hotel.

Music by Primitivo—violinist David Holob and guitarist Bill Russell—at Lodi's Wine & Chocolate Sunday Brunch.

Visiting bon viveur Erin DeSoto—an educator from Phoenix—savoring the goods during the Wine & Chocolate Sunday Brunch.

Bokisch Vineyards co-owner Liz Bokisch serving her amazing Rosado (Garnacha-based dry rosé).

Sampling the wines of Lodi's acclaimed white-wine-only Acquiesce Winery (although they also produce amazing dry rosés).

A good moment at the Wine & Chocolate Sunday Brunch.

Peltier Winery owner/growers Gayla and Rod Schatz with winemaker Gianni Abate (back) and former winemaker Susy Vasquez (now Senior Winemaker at LangeTwins Family Winery).

Savoring the moment during the Wine & Chocolate Sunday Brunch.

Relaxing at the end of another great Wine & Chocolate Saturday at Michael David Winery's cellardoor in Downtown Lodi.



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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