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
March 20, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

Latest update on the 100+ grapes grown in Lodi

Harvesting of Nebbiolo—a rare (for California) grape native to Italy's Piemonte region—in Clements Hills-Lodi's Anaya Vineyards.

When the first-ever scholarly book on Lodi winegrowing was published in 2022, an entire chapter was devoted to 130 grapes, complete with photographs, representing each and every variety commercially grown in the appellation. Re Lodi! The Definitive Guide and History of America's Largest Winegrowing Region (2022, KitchenCinco Press).

Almost immediately after this 400-page tome was published, it was out of date. At least insofar as grape varieties.

A few grapes listed in the 2022 publication have since been dropped by growers, just over the past three years. A larger number has been added, simply because both new and established growers in Lodi have been a restless lot, busily cultivating brand new (at least for Lodi, if not most of California) varieties. The winegrowing industry, after all, is a fluid business, controlled by supply and demand, consumer trends and economic factors.

Grüner Veltliner (a native Austrian grape) harvest in Mokelumne River-Lodi's Mokelumne Glen Vineyards.

See our September 6, 2022 post on Lodi grapes not listed in the Lodi! book that were just harvested in 2022: Ancellotta, Assyrtiko, Chardonnay rosa, Macabeo, Parellada, Prieto Picudo and Xarell-lo are among the latest grapes of Lodi

Our official count for the number of commercially planted grapes in Lodi is now up to 136. All of these cultivars are variations of Vitis vinifera; meaning, belonging to the original European family of wine grapes.

Lodi grows more grapes than any other wine region in the United States—including more than all of Napa Valley and Sonoma County put together—because, well, grapes going into wines most Americans actually drink have to come from somewhere. Many consumers across the country think Napa Valley is California; although in reality, most Americans do not drink $50 or $100 wines now typical of those grown in Napa Valley.

Hand picking Assyrtiko—an ancient white wine grape of Greece—in Perlegos Family's Clements Hills-Lodi vineyard.

According to most recent economic research, the average price of a bottle of wine sold in the United States as of 2024 is $10.08, which is slightly up from the $9.26 average bottle price in 2020 (see FRED Economic Data). 

It is in Lodi where most of the grapes going into value priced wines are grown. These are wines produced by most of the seven largest domestic wine producers (according to Silicon Valley Bank's 2024 State of the U.S. Wine Industry's report: E. & J. Gallo Winery, The Wine Group, Constellation Brands, Trinchero Family Estates, Deutsche Family Wine & Spirits and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates).

Why Lodi? For the same reason why, during the 1960s and '70s, most premium grapes going into $10 wines used to come from Napa Valley and Sonoma County: Because these are good places to grow grapes.

Haarmeyer Cellars' Craig Haarmeyer field-sorting Chenin blanc—a grape that was far more popular in California during the late 1960s and early 1980s, but now making a modest comeback—in Lodi's Alta Mesa AVA.

The latest grapes being cultivated in Lodi, however, reflect the tiny yet growing consumer interest in more unusual wines, which are generally produced by the tiny yet growing number of small, handcraft wineries, as opposed to the gigantic, multi-brand companies. Ergo, the following 10 cultivars most recently added to the list of grapes grown in Lodi:

Chardonnay rosa
Grenache gris
Prieto Picudo
Uva Longanesi

Bokisch Vineyards' Markus Bokisch monitoring progress of his Macabeu grapes—a traditiional cava (i.e., sparkling wine) grape of Spain—in his Miravet Vineyard at the northern edge of Clements Hills-Lodi.

Granted, five of the aforementioned grapes are still being cultivated on an "experimental basis," in the words of owner/grower Jake Des Voignes. According to Chef Jake (Des Voignes's day job is at Wine & Roses Hotel, where he serves as Food & Beverage Director), "I have only seven vines each of these grapes, although I plan to expand all of them to 40 vines by next year [2025]."

Des Voignes is a quite an eclectic, curious east side Mokelumne River-Lodi AVA grower. In his family-owned Fernow Ranch, he cultivates several rows each of varieties that appeal more to tiny, handcraft wineries; including Clairette blanche, CounoiseGraciano, Greco, Grenache noir, Mourvèdre, Muscat blancNero d'AvolaPiquepoul, Tempranillo and Verdejo.

Chef Jake Des Voignes harvesting Fiano—a grape of Campania in Italy—in his family's Fernow Ranch on the east side of Mokelumne River-Lodi.

The other reason why growers such as Des Voignes, LangeTwins Family (cultivating the Ancellotta and Chardonnay rosa), PRIE Winery (Prieto Picudo) and Bokisch Vineyards (now producing varietals and blends from cava grapes such as Macabeo, Parellada and Xarell-lo) are now exploring unusual grape is a little simpler: Because they can.

That is to say, because the region's classic, moderate Mediterranean climate classification is naturally conducive to wine grapes—almost any kind of wine grape, but especially those that originated in the Mediterranean Basin as long ago as 2,500 years, if not earlier. Hence, Chef Jake's compelling interest in indigenous Mediterranean grapes such as Albana (said to be a favorite of ancient Romans in Emilia-Romagna), Centesimino (a black skinned grape, also from Emilia-Romagna), Famosa (a white wine grape native to Emilia-Romagna), Morenillo (a black skinned grape indigenous to Spain's Terra Alta, said to have almost gone extinct) and Uva Longanesi (still another ancient Emilia-Romagna red wine grape, recently experiencing a revival).

2023 Primitivo (a clonal variant of Zinfandel) harvest in Harney Lane Winery's home estate in Mokelumne River-Lodi.

The third yet no less important reason why there are so many grapes growing in Lodi is economical. The vineyard/winemaking consultant Nicholas Karavidas has recently compared the cost differentiations of vineyard farming in California, per 1 acre:

Napa Valley—$4,000–$10,000/acre 
Suisun Valley—$2,500-$6,000/acre
Lodi-Sierra Foothills—$1,800-$4,000/acre 

Lodi winegrower Barbara Huecksteadt with exceedingly rare Marzemino grape (native of Northern Italy) in her Mokelumne River-Lodi vineyard.

Simply put, it is land values, farming costs, and realities of market demand that currently make growing anything other than mainstream varieties (namely, Cabernet SauvignonMerlotPinot noirChardonnay or Sauvignon blanc) outside a region such as Lodi less and less feasible with each passing year. Even if a Napa or Sonoma grower wanted to explore grapes such as Albana, Centesimino, Famosa, Morenillo and Uva Longanesi, economic realities all but prohibit that possibility.

That said, the following is a photographic catalog of the 136 grapes of Lodi, as of early 2024, listed along with synonyms and (in the case of grape crossings) genetic origins. All photos are of grapes growing in Lodi, with the exception of photos credited to other souces:



Albalonga—Rieslaner (Silvaner x Riesling) x Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale)



Albariño (a.k.a., Alvarinho)

Alicante Bouschet—Petit Bouschet (Teinturier du Cher x Aramon) x Grenache


Ancellotta (a.k.a., Ancellotta di Massenzatico; Ancellotti)

Arnsburger—Riesling Clones 88 x 64


Bacchus—(Silvaner x Riesling) x Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale)


Bastardo (a.k.a., Trousseau noir)

Black Prince (a.k.a., Rose of Peru)

Blauer Affenthaler

Blauer Portugieser 

Blaufränkisch (a.k.a., Lemberger; Blauer Limberger; Blue Franc)


Burger (a.k.a., Monbadon)

Cabernet Dorsa—Dornfelder (Helfensteiner [Frühburgunder x Trollinger] x Heroldrebe [Blaire Portugieser x Blaufränkisch]) x Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Franc (a.k.a., Bouchet)

Cabernet Sauvignon

Carignan (a.k.a., Carignane; Cariñena; Mazuelo)

Carménère (a.k.a., Grande Vidure)

Carmine—(Cabernet Sauvignon x Carignan) x Merlot 



Charbono (a.k.a., Douce noir; Bonarda; Corbeau)


Chardonnay rosa

Chenin blanc (a.k.a., Pineau de la Loire)

Cinsaut (a.k.a., Cinsault; Black Malvoisie)

Clairette blanche

Colombard (a.k.a., French Colombard)



Domina—Blauer Portugieser x Pinot noir

Dornfelder—Helfensteiner (Frühburgunder [a.k.a., Pinot noir Précoce] x Trollinger) x Heroldrebe (Blauer Portugieser x Blaufränkisch [a.k.a., Lemberger])

Ehrenfelser—Riesling x Silvaner

Faberrebe—Pinot Blanc x Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale)




Flame Tokay (a.k.a., Tokay; Ahmer Bou'Amer)

Forta—Silvaner x Madeleine Angevine (Madeleine Royale x Précoce de Malingre)

Frühburgunder (a.k.a, Pinot noir Précoce)




Grand noir (a.k.a., Grand noir de la Calmette)

Greco (a.k.a., Greco di Tufo,, Greco di Bianco)

Grenache noir (a.k.a., Garnacha; Garnacha tinta; Garnatxa negre; Cannonau)

Grenache blanc (a.k.a., Garnacha blanca)


Grenache gris (a.k.a., Garnacha roja)


Grüner Veltliner

Gutedel (a.k.a., Chasselas; Fendant)

Huxelrebe—Gutedel (a.k.a., Chasselas) x Courtiller Musqué (a.k.a., Muscat Précoce de Saumur)

Kanzler—Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale) x Silvaner

Kerner—Trollinger x Riesling

Macabeo (a.k.a., Viura)

Malbec (a.k.a., Auxerrois)





Mission (a.k.a., Listan Prieto; Pais)




Morio Muscat—Silvaner x Pinot blanc

Moscato Giallo (a.k.a., Yellow Muscat)

Mourvèdre (a.k.a., Mataró; Monastrell)

Müller-Thurgau—Riesling x Madeleine Royale

Muscat Canelli (a.k.a., Muscat blanc; Muscat blanc à Petits Grains)


Nero d’Avola

Noblessa—Madeleine Angevine (Circe x Madeleine Royale) x Silvaner

Optima—(Riesling x Silvaner) x Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale) 

Oraniensteiner—Riesling x Silvaner

Orange Muscat

Ortega—Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale) x Siegerrebe (Madeleine Angevine [Madeleine Royale x Précoce de Malingre] x Gewürztraminer)


Perle—Gewürztraminer x Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale)

Petit Verdot

Petite Sirah (a.k.a., Durif)—Syrah x Peloursin

Phoenix—Bacchus ([Silvaner x Riesling] x Müller-Thurgau [Riesling x Madeleine Royale]) x Villard blanc (Le Subereaux x Siebel 6468)Villard blanc (Le Subereaux x Siebel 6468)

Pinot blanc (a.k.a., Weissburgunder; Klevner)

Pinot gris (a.k.a., Pinot grigio; Grauburgunder; Ruländer)

Pinot Meunier (a.k.a., Schwarzriesling)

Pinot noir (a.k.a., Spätburgunder; Blauburgunder) 

Pinotage—Pinot noir x Cinsaut

Piquepoul (a.k.a., Picpoul blanc)

Prieto Picudo

Primitivo (a.k.a., Zinfandel)

Prinzipal—Geisenheim 323-58 (Siebel 7053 x Riesling) x Ehrenfelser (Riesling x Silvaner)


Regent—(Silvaner x Müller-Thurgau) x Chambourcin (unknown Seibel-based hybrid)

Ribolla Gialla (a.k.a., Ribolla; Rumena rebula)

Rieslaner—Silvaner x Riesling



Rondo—Zarya Severa (Vitis amurensis x Malingre Précoce) x St. Laurent

Rotberger—Trollinger x Riesling

Roter Traminer (a.k.a., Savagnin Rose)

Roter Veltliner (a.k.a., Roter Muskateller)





Sauvignon blanc (a.k.a., Sauvignon; Fumé blanc)

Sauvignon Musqué (a.k.a. Sauvignon blanc)

Scheurebe—Riesling x unknown

Schönburger—Pinot noir x (Chasselas x Muscat Hamburg)


Siegerrebe—Madeleine Angevine (Madeleine Royale x Précoce de Malingre) x Gewürztraminer

Silvaner (a.k.a., Sylvaner)

Sirius—Bacchus ([Silvaner x Riesling] x Müller-Thurgau [Riesling x Madeleine Royale]) x Seyve Villard 12-375


St. Laurent

Sultana (a.k.a., Thompson Seedless)

Symphony—Muscat of Alexandria x Grenache gris

Syrah (a.k.a., Shiraz)


Tempranillo (a.k.a., Tinta Roriz; Tinta de Toro; Tinta Fino; Valdepeñas) 


Tinta Amarela (a.k.a., Trincadeira Preta)

Tinta Cão


Touriga Francesa (a.k.a., Touriga Franca)

Touriga Nacional


Trollinger (a.k.a., Schiava)


Uva Longanesi



Vermentino (a.k.a., Rolle; Pigato; Favorita)



Würzer—Gewürztraminer x Müller-Thurgau (Riesling x Madeleine Royale)








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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