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 28, 2016 | Randy Caparoso

Poetry in early Lodi autumn mornings

There is nothing like a late November walk through Lodi vineyards at the break of dawn; when vines are shrouded in ghostly fog, over a lush, green carpet soaked in numbing dew (waterproof boots recommended).

From afar, the dying leaves on the vines might look depressing – curled up or burnt crisp, another year of life on the wane – but up close, each leaf might also beguile the senses. As poets are apt to put it, there is beauty in death; particularly in cloaks of yellow, flames of orange, or rivers of blood-red color on gnarled spurs and trunks of more ancient vines. Who doesn’t find joy in such loud and violent cacophony?

Hence, the snippets of verse that these photos – recently snapped in the oldest block of Carignan vines (planted in the 1890s) in Spenker Ranch, now better known as the Jessie’s Grove property – seem to whisper, as Emily Dickinson does in...

As Summer into Autumn slips

And yet we sooner say

"The Summer" than "the Autumn," lest

We turn the sun away,

The familiar, deathly feel of cold air and shadowy days, as Robert Frost wrote, is My November Guest...

My sorrow, when she’s here with me,

   Thinks these dark days of autumn rain

Are beautiful as days can be;

She loves the bare, the withered tree;

   She walks the sodden pasture lane.

In Lodi, the early morning fog slithers in from the Delta, like insiduous waves of air in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind...

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,

Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead

Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing...

Like the moldy residuals of the past year's harvest pictured above, Thomas Hood envisioned the season's blurred, disquieting edges in the verse of his Autumn...

I Saw old Autumn in the misty morn

Stand shadowless like Silence, listening

Although in Emily Dickinson's reclusive yet whimsical mind, there was rhythmic mirth to be found in autumn's dying colors in her III. NATURE XXVIII. AUTUMN....

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.

Inevitably, in fall, Dickinson would find pulsating life in fields painted with red...

The name – of it – is "Autumn" –

The hue – of it – is Blood –

An Artery – upon the Hill –

A Vein – along the Road –

While Robert Louis Stevenson could proclaim, in Autumn Fires...

Sing a song of seasons!

Something bright in all!

Flowers in the summer,

Fires in the fall!

Emily Bronte waxed blithely, although with some glee, that Fall leaves fall...

Every leaf speaks bliss to me

Fluttering from the autumn tree.

While an emotional Carl Sandburg found in Autumn Movement...

I CRIED over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.

Edna St. Vincent found something of redemption in The Death of Autumn...

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?

And as Patricia L. Cisco chortles, this is a time of year to, like, "make like a tree and leaf"...

Sing to me, Autumn, with the rustle of your leaves.

Breathe on me your spicy scents that flow within your breeze.



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

Have a question? Complete our contact form.