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.
You can rock Lodi's 2020 Wine & Chocolate Weekend like you've never done before!
Like Christmas all over for lovers and friends, the Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend happens once a year, and in 2020 it comes a week earlier than normal, taking place from Friday night, February 7 through Saturday/Sunday, February 8-9. Now is the time to make your plans and book your dates!
Our customary Wine & Chocolate Weekend festivities take place on Saturday and Sunday at over 50 wineries in the Lodi Viticultural Area between 11 AM and 4 PM. You can obtain tickets for either one day or for both weekend days (easy to purchase on our 2020 Eventbrite page). Visit our Wineries page for a listing of every participating winery (also listed in this post below), that will be pulling out all the stops with special tastings (including from barrels) and culinary treats galore (including myriads of chocolate, of course, and in some places chocolate-infused dishes that taste amazing with Lodi's lush, fruit-forward style of wines!).
Something new! If you've never experienced this weekend before, you're gonna love it. But if you already have, you should know that in 2020 a few of the Lodi vintners are also doing something they've never done before: Friday night limited-seating extravaganzas when you can get up close and personal with winery owners (in Lodi, that usually means third, fourth, fifth and even sixth generation families) and winemakers.
All the Friday night events are one set price (please see our 2020 Eventbrite page), and they vary according to each participating winery's specialties. A quick rundown of what's happening the night of February 7:
ALL WHITE VALENTINE NIGHT
ACQUIESCE WINERY & VINEYARDS
22353 N. Tretheway Rd., Acampo, 95220
6:30 PM | SEATS: 24
Winemaker Susan Tipton and Chef Jennifer Kupka of Lodi Airport Café will pair four Rhône-style white wines with four courses. Dress all in white in the fashion of a French-inspired dinner en blanc (optional, but more fun if you do!) and a perfect photo op against themed décor — perfectly fitting for a night at Lodi's acclaimed white wine (only!) winery/estate.
2900 E. Peltier Rd., Acampo, 95220
6:00 PM | SEATS: 12
Co-owner/winemaker Layne Montgomery is renowned for his golden voice, wit, and magical touch with the wines. This will be an intimate exploration of chocolate from savory to sweet paired with wine samples from Mr. Montgomery’s favorite barrels.
PASSION FOR PORT
ST. AMANT WINERY
1 Winemaster Way, Lodi, CA 95240, USA
6:00 PM | SEATS: 24
Discover the magic of pairing Portuguese varietal table wines with savory chocolate foods. The decadent evening includes a winemaker-led vertical tasting of Vintage Ports going back 30 years.
BARRELS & BLENDING
13299 N. Curry Ave, Lodi, 95240
6:30 PM | SEATS: 12
Exclusive multi-course dinner and wine pairings in the company of winemaker and owners Dave and Helen Dart. The evening includes barrel tasting and a hands-on blending experience.
100 S. Sacramento St., Lodi, 95240
6:00 PM | SEATS: (SORRY) SOLD OUT
Multi-course dinner and wine pairings prepared personally by winemaker Michael McCay and his wife Linda, in the intimate setting of McCay's tasting room next to the City of Lodi's historic train depot.
Participating in Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend Wineries
A list of wineries opening their doors on Saturday and Sunday, February 8-9 (for a map of all the stops, please see Wineries), along with a partial listing of what they'll have to offer:
400 4th St., Suite 150, Galt, 95632
A warm and cozy tasting room in the charming little town of Galt, just north of the City of Lodi. Live music by Phil & da Pinots, chocolate fountain, appetizers, case and merchandise discounts.
17343 N Cherry Rd, Lodi, CA 95240, USA
Live music, chocolate treats, food truck ($), artisan crafts ($), and wine discounts.
18921 Atkins Rd., Lodi, 95240
You will find California's pioneering (and still the leading) producer of Spanish-inspired varietals just east of the City of Lodi (closer to the little town of Clements). Enjoy these amazing wines with fresh, hot churros dipped in thick, Spanish-style hot chocolate, Spanish cheeses, olives stuffed with Manchego, and sliced chorizo ($), plus wine discounts.
710 S. Beckman Rd., Suite D, Lodi, 95240
Live music 1-4 PM by Steve Brooks trio, truffles and jalepeño chocolate by Capital Confections, plus wine discounts.
CELLARDOOR BY MICHAEL DAVID WINERY
21 N. School St., Lodi, 95240
The streets of Downtown Lodi will rock with live, contagious music emanating from the Cellar Door tasting room, along with Freakshow brownies in raspberry coulis.
CONSUMNES RIVER FARM
28305 N. Thornton Rd., Thornton, 95686
From the multi-generational Lodi winegrowing family who also produces the amazing line of Bellindora Vinegars and Olive Oils — live music by The Albertson Duo (Saturday) & Ruby Jane (Sunday), brownies, charcuterie & cheese ($), and wine discounts.
13299 N. Curry Ave, Lodi, 95240
Chocolate chili, barrel port tastings, and "Lodi Love" red wine blend.
DELICATE FAMILY VINEYARDS
12001 S. Hwy 99, Manteca, 95336
This world-class, multi-brand producer (and big-time Lodi grape grower) always celebrates Wine & Chocolate Weekend with us at its Manteca winery (just south of Stockton), offering chocolate almonds, cookies, brownies, chili ($), meats & cheeses ($), and wine discounts.
1378 E. Turner Rd., Suite D, Lodi 952420
Handcrafted Lodi-grown wines inspired by the two winemakers/owners/brothers' Slovenian roots — grilled chocolate ganache sandwiches.
E2 FAMILY WINERY
9009 West Highway 12, Lodi, CA, USA
Chocolate truffles, BBQ ($), games, and wine discounts.
2 W. Lockeford St., Lodi, 95240
Experience a multiplicity of first-class Lodi grown brands (including owner/winemakers Bob and Alison Colarossi's own Estate Crush and estate-grown Stellina labels) at Downtown Lodi's custom crush facility. Grilled tri-tip with port reduction, wine discounts, and Wine Club status for all.
GOODMILLS FAMILY WINERY
17266 Hillside Dr., Lodi, 95240
Live music by DJ Vern and delicious food ($).
28001 N. Nichols Rd., Galt, 95632
Assorted chocolates and Cabernet demi-glace meatballs with basil mashed potatoes.
9291 E. Harney Lane, Lodi, 95240
Live music 12:30-3:30 PM by Albert & His 88 Keys, s'mores, BBQ, and artisan vendors.
HERITAGE OAK WINERY
10112 E. Woodbridge Rd., Acampo, 95220
Live music 1-4 PM (Saturday), chocolate bar, complimentary hot dogs and chips (Sunday only), and wine discounts at this bucolic riverside estate (over 100 acres of vines and riparian trails tucked along the north bank of the Mokelumne River on Lodi's east side).
HOUSLEY’S CENTURY OAK WINERY
22211 N Lower Sacramento Rd, Acampo, CA 95220, USA
Live cello music, Marich Chocolates for tasting and purchase ($), taco truck ($), Bellindora Olive Oil and Vinegars ($), Ohana Bros. Popcorn and Chips ($), wine discounts, and more.
JESSIE’S GROVE WINERY
1973 W. Turner Rd., Lodi, 95240
Home of Lodi's oldest ancient vines in a historic setting (dating back to the 1880s) plus the original grove (preserved by Jessie, among the second generation of the Spenker family who still owns this sprawling estate) of valley oaks dating back several centuries. Live music 11 AM-4 PM by ibthedj, a decadent chocolate fountain, wine slushies ($), artisan jewelry, woodwork, leather products, and wine discounts.
KLINKER BRICK WINERY AT LODI VINTNERS
3750 E. Woodbridge Rd., Acampo, 95220
Experience the consistently outstanding wines of Lodi's most celebrated winegrowing brands at the historic Lodi Vintners winery facility (where wine grapes have been crushed since 1899) just north of the City of Lodi. Live music, food truck ($), Bam Treats, barrel art, and wine discounts.
LANGE TWINS FAMILY WINERY & VINEYARDS
1525 E. Jahant Rd., Acampo, 95220
Visit the "Press Room" (a gorgeous tasting room housed in the barrel room below the winery grape receiving pad) to experience the amazingly authentic wines produced by one of Lodi's leading pioneers/growers. DJ and line-dancing instructor 11 AM-3:30 PM (Saturday), Brie-chocolate-basil paninis, and Valerie Coe's western-themed art for viewing and purchase.
3750 E. Woodbridge Rd., Acampo, 95220
Home of Rippey Family Vineyards, Concrete Wines, Reign Wines, SIP Wines, as well as (during Wine & Chocolate Weekend) the famed Klinker Brick Winery. Live music and chocolate "junk food" and wine pairings.
LONE GRAPE WINERY
12470 Locke Rd., Lockeford, 95237
Red velvet cake pops with red wine reduction & cream cheese frosting and food by Gypsy Bistro ($).
2900 E. Peltier Rd., Acampo, 95220
Live music, chocolate shots, food truck ($), Cru Chocolate by The SF Chocolate Factory, wine discounts, and more.
7099 E. Peltier Rd., Acampo, 95220
Macchia always hops with good vibes and intense wines during Wine & Chocolate Weekend, and in 2020 it will be no different — live music 11:30 AM-3:30 PM, meatballs with chocolate habanero Zin port reduction, food ($), artisan gifts, and wine discounts.
100 S. Sacramento St., Lodi, 95240
Sample one of Lodi's widest range of handcrafted, minimal intervention wines with live music, wine-infused cherry chocolate brownies, Black Bear Wood, and chances to win at games. (Maximum capacity of 50 guests at any time).
10686 W. Stockton Blvd., Elk Grove, 95757
Chocolate treats, & charcuterie, cheese, and crackers ($).
METTLER FAMILY VINEYARDS
7889 E. Harney Lane, Lodi, 95240
Exquisite, family estate-grown wines by Wine Enthusiast Magazine's 2018 "Winemaker of the Year" (Adam Mettler and that's for the entire world!) — offering live music and mole meatballs to go with these phenomenal wines.
NOSTRA VITA FAMILY WINERY
1150 W. Turner Rd., Lodi, 95240
Chocolate treats, food ($), and wine discounts.
OAK FARM VINEYARDS
23627 N. DeVries Rd., Lodi, 95242
At one of Lodi wine country's most stunning, and historic, winery estates — live music 11 AM-3 PM by The Ryan Hernandez Band, dark and milk chocolate sea salt caramels, A Moveable Feast ($), and CocoTutti Sweets ($), plus gifts from Mobaak Aromatherapy and Boxwood Finch.
OAK RIDGE WINERY
6100 E. Highway 12, Lodi, 95240
Home base for the OZV, Old Soul, Maggiao Family Vineyards, MossRoxx, Lodi Estates, Silk Oak, blazon, 3 Girls, and, of course, the Oak Ridge brands of homegrown Lodi wines. Live music, chocolate treats, and wine discounts.
PEIRANO ESTATE VINEYARDS
21831 N. Hwy 99, Acampo, 95220
Surrounded by over 300 acres of classic goblet-trained "bush" vines (the oldest dating back to the 1890s) — enjoy homemade chocolate-covered popcorn, cocoa wafers, food ($), and wine discounts.
22150 N. Kennefick Rd., Acampo, 95220
Experience the Schatz family's outstanding (as fine as any in California!) estate-grown wines with chocolate treats, delicious small bites, Paul's Rustic Oven Pizza ($), wine discounts, wine-by-the-glass ($), and Love Locks ($).
665 W Turner Rd, Lodi, CA 95242, USA
Chicken with chocolate mole sauce, delicious food ($), and wine discounts.
15628 Alpine Rd., Lodi, 95240
Meticulously handcrafted, "boutique" scale artisanal winemaking at its finest. Decorate-your-own cookie bar and premium photo op backdrops for creating Wine & Chocolate Weekend memories.
RIPKEN VINEYARDS & WINERY
2472 W. Sargent Rd., Lodi, 95240
Enjoy wines by one of Lodi's most important winegrowing families in a beautiful outdoor setting with s-mores around the fire and delectable dishes ($).
SCOTTO’S WINE & CIDER
14 S. School St., Lodi, 95240
Live music, chocolate cherry bombs, selfies with "Elvis," popcorn, and a hot chocolate bar (DDs), plus wine discounts.
9599 N. Hwy 88, Stockton, 95212
In a gorgeous Calaveras River-side setting dominated by the historic 1866 Dodge House, visit Lodi's leading specialist in Italian-inspired wines to enjoy a teeming chocolate fountain and wine discounts.
ST. JORGE WINERY
22769 N. Bender Rd., Acampo, 95220
Portuguese and Spanish-inspired estate-grown wines. Live music, chocolate-dipped Linguica, Linguica sandwiches ($), and wine discounts.
17521 N. Davis Rd., Lodi, 95240
In the heart of Lodi wine country's "west side," enjoy live music (12-4 PM) by Blues Mechanix, decadent chocolate brownies, and wine discounts.
THE DANCING FOX WINERY & BREWERY
203 S. School St., Lodi, 95240
Fox Delight ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, fudge brownies, pizza bites, focaccia, and wine, with merchandise discounts.
VAN RUITEN FAMILY WINERY
340 W. Hwy 12, Lodi, 95242
This major Lodi winery estate always rocks during Wine & Chocolate Weekend — this year, with live music by Crosstown 5, chocolate treats, food ($), and wine discounts.
VIAGGIO ESTATE & WINERY
100 E. Taddei Rd., Acampo, 95220
Live music Saturday (Fry & Chicks) and Sunday, candy and brownie pairings, pepperoni pizzas ($), and wine discounts.
WEIBEL FAMILY WINERY
1 Winemaster Way, Suite D, Lodi, 95240
Visit the Weibel family's winemaking facility to enjoy live music (11:30 AM-3:30 PM) by Working Class, savory bites, food ($), arts and crafts, plus wine discounts.
7 N. School St., Lodi, 95240
The posh Downtown Lodi home of Sorelle Winery and Six Hands Winery — offers wine-infused brownies, antipasto ($), chocolates ($), and wine discounts.
18911 N. Lower Sacramento Rd., Woodbridge, 95258
In the historic hamlet of Woodbridge (at the north-west edge of the City of Lodi), this is the tasting room for Hunter's Oak Vineyard, Mokelumne Cove Cellars, Grady Family Vineyards, Michael Klouda Wines, and Maley Bros. (the latter, also the producer of Lodi Native Wegat Vineyard Zinfandel). Live music 12:30-2:30 PM by American Hunnies (Saturday) and Dave From The Box (Sunday), Rocky Mt. Chocolate Factory, food truck ($), and wine discounts.