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
November 29, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

In Lodi autumn colors overflow like poetry

Riverbend vineyard on the east side of Lodi's Mokelumne River appellation

Mornings are dipping into nose-nipping sub-40 degree temps. Leaves on the trees are doing their yearly dance of death, and vineyards are preparing their wintry beds on frost-gilded coverlets of greens skirted with crinkly leaves of vines and oaks hued in fiery reds, oranges, yellows, and rusty browns.

It’s autumn in Lodi. Or as Robert Frost put it, Nature’s first green is gold… her hardest hue to hold… (and) nothing gold can stay.

Trellised gold along Lodi's W. Turner Rd.

A pictorial accounting of Nature's yearly, moving, poetic transition in 2019:

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.

(George Cooper)

Christmasy fall colors on west-side Lodi trellised vines

I CRIED over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.
(Carl Sandburg)

Lodi Zinfandel leaf on fire in November 2019

Listen! The wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!

(Humbert Wolfe)

Ancient vine Flame Tokay (planted 1889) in Jessie's Grove Winery estate

Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree. 

(Emily Brontë)

Terra Alta Vineyard in Lodi's Clements Hills Viticultural Area

October's bellowing anger breaks and cleaves
The bronzed battalions of the stricken wood 

(Siegfried Sassoon)

Crystal blue and orangy reflections on Lodi Lake

The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers. 

(Robert Louis Stevenson)

Fiery Zinfandel leaf in west-side Lod's TruLux Vineyard

The name – of it – is "Autumn" -
The hue – of it – is Blood –
An Artery – upon the Hill –
A Vein – along the Road –

(Emily Dickenson)

Pin Oak Row on Victor Rd. on Lodi's east side

There is music in the meadows, in the air –
Autumn is here;
Skies are gray, but hearts are mellow,

(William Stanley Braithwaite)

Golden wreathed old vine Zinfandel in Clements Hills-Lodi

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

(William Shakespeare) 

Second crop Zweigelt in Lodi's Mokelumne Glen Vineyards

No spring nor summer Beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one autumnal face.

(John Donne) 

Lodi's hilly Borden Ranch appellation in November colors

Hill-tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun,
And the rivers we’re eying burn to gold as they run;
Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air;
Whoever looks around sees Eternity there. 

(John Clare)

Zinfandel leaf on a frosty November morning

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

(Emily Dickenson)

Autumnal reds on old vine Barbera in Jahant-Lodi's Levantine Vineyard

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou mayst rest...

(William Blake)

Heritage Oak Vineyards Charbono block at the first light of dawn in mid-November

Sing a son of seasons!
Something bright in all, 
Flowers in the summer
Fires in the fall!

(Robert Louis Stevenson)

Golden late afternoon light in west-side Lodi old vine Zinfandel block

Autumn is a second spring
When every leaf is a flower

(Albert Camus)

LangeTwins Family Vineyards Sauvignon blanc in mid-November morning light

October is the month of painted leaves.
Their rich glow now flashes around the world...
How beautifully they go to their graves!

(Henry David Thoreau)

Crimson-wreathed old vine Zinfandel in Lodi's Clements Hills AVA

Come said the wind to the leaves one day,
Come 're the meadows and we will play
Put on your dresses scarlet and gold
For summer is gone and the days grow cold

(Children’s Song of the 1880s) 

Ancient vine Carignan (Rauser Vineyard, planted in 1909) on Lodi's east side

My heart. I know that Beauty must ail and die,
And will be born again - but ah, to see
Beauty stiffened, staring up at the sky!
Oh, Autumn! Autumn! - What is the Spring to me?

(St. Vincent Millay) 

Autumn grapevine leaves on Lodi's west side

The earth is just so full of fun
It really can't contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
The heavens seem to rain it.

(Paul Laurence Dubar)

Walnut trees and Zinfandel in Clements Hills-Lodi AVA

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf, 
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

(Emily Dickenson)

The old shed, Grüner Veltliner block, and oaks in Mokelumne Glen Vineyards

O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" 

(Percy Bysshe Shelley)

Vertical cordon trained Zinfandel at sunset on Lodi's west side

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream

(Ernest Dowson) 

Bear Creek-side vineyard on Lodi's east side




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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