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
July 17, 2023 | Randy Caparoso

Images, songs and odes to an unforgettable wine country summer

Sunlight on dried moss on ancient vine Zinfandel during a Lodi summer morning.

Summer of 2023 may very well go down as your most memorable. If you live your life to its fullest, like a cup of the world's greatest wine, of course, you will never forget it. Memories, as it's said, are made of this.

Like catchy songs, touching poems, and wine country photos that just scream... summer! Our rendering...

Dr. Stephanie Bolton, Lodi's director of grower education and sustainability, tasting ancient vine Zinfandel on a hot July afternoon under the shade of a weeping willow.

Strawberries, cherries, and an angel's kiss in spring
My summer wine is really made from all these things
—Lee Hazlewood

Summer sunset in Acquiesce Winery estate.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate
—William Shakespeare

Ripening Kerner in morning light peering through the vines in Lodi's Mokelumne Glen Vineyards.

In the summertime, when the weather is high
You can stretch right up and touch the sky
—Ray Dorset

Summer sunset dinner under a blue oak in Bokisch's Terra Alta Vineyard, Clements Hills-Lodi appellation.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You'll wish that summer could always be here
—Charles, Tobias, Hans Bradtke and Hans Carsle

First glimpse of July veraison—annual changing of colors in black-skinned grapes—among Lodi's old vines.

Brown and agile child, the sun which forms the fruit
And ripens the grain and twists the seaweed
Has made your happy body and your luminous eyes
And given your mouth the smile of water
—Pablo Neruda

Old school furrow irrigation on a blazingly bright July day between old vine Grenache and Zinfandel in Lodi's Manaserro Vineyard.

I love the colorful clothes she wears
And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair
I hear the sound of a gentle word
On the wind that lifts her perfume through the air
—Brian Wilson

Light and zesty red—perfect for summer—made from Lodi's oldest vineyard, Bechthold Vineyard Cinsaut.

Through loud crashes
And heroic smashes
Through long nights and lonely walks 
July you stayed by my side.
—Mark Steigerwald

Vivid colors of summer morning in Lodi's hilly Borden Ranch appellation.

Hot town, summer in the city
The back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
—John Sebastian

Musical tendrils among Lodi-grown Bourboulenc vines in the middle of summer.

S - Sun-drenched poolside, sweat dripping down my
U - Umbrella drink and forehead, watching kids grab
M - Melon balls from the fruit platter, their hands sticky in the 
M - Morning heat; swimming at 9 am makes for an
E - Easy schedule of fun and recreation, blankets of heat leading to
R - Restful nights under the stars.
—Jennifer Gunner

Wine lovers are unperturbed by the hot, sticky days of summer at Jessie's Grove on Lodi's west side.

The summer wind came blowin' in from across the sea
It lingered there, to touch your hair and walk with me
All summer long, we sang a song
And we strolled that golden sand
Two sweethearts, and the summer wind
—Johnny Mercer, Hans Bradtke, and Henry Mayer

"Old man Zinfandel" (122 years old) under the blinding summer sun in Lodi's Marian's Vineyard.

Summer loving had me a blast
Summer loving happened so fast
I met a girl crazy for me
Met a boy cute as can be
—Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey

Valley oak during a colorful summer sunset in Lodi's Mokelumne River region.

one with the sun
in trackless fields
of yellowgrass and thistle, scent
of humid heavy air and the wing music
of bees and flies.
—A.F. Moritz

Bird's nest and ripening old vine Lodi Zinfandel on July morning.

Summer rain taps at my window
West wind soft as a sweet dream
My love, warm as the sunshine
Sitting here by me
—Johnny Rivers

Historic 1863 farmhouse in Clements Hills-Lodi's Harris Vineyards.

Everybody’s missin' the sun
Everybody's sleepin’ through the afternoon
How can you have any fun
When everybody's missin' the sun?
—Nils Lofgren

Slowly ripening (pre-veraison) old vine Lodi Zinfandel at the beginning of July 2023.

He bought her a diamond for her throat
He put her in a ranch house on a hill
She could see the valley barbecues
From her window sill
See the blue pools in the squinting sun
Hear the hissing of summer lawns
—Joni Mitchell

Old GMC truck on a blazing hot Lodi summer day.

As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away-
Too imperceptible at last
To seem like Perfidy -
—Emily Dickenson

Lodi winemaker tending to ancient vines at the break of a July morning.



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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