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
June 18, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Stunning beauty through the eyes of Lodi photographer Dena Marquez

Ancient, noble oak and vines (Jessie's Grove Carignan, planted in 1890s) memorialized by Lodi's Dena Marquez

My heart is drenched in wine...
- Norah Jones

To see the world of Lodi wine country through the lens of Lodi photographer Dena Marquez is to experience an unbridled enthusiasm and ardor for the natural elements that make Lodi Lodi.

Consequently, the colors in Ms. Marquez’s particular style of photography seem to spring from their surfaces like the fragrances of fruit driven wines (Lodi style wines) leaping from the glass. White clouds in blue skies become irrepressible, somersaulting acrobats. Sonorous sunsets are like dramatic endings to musical scores. Yellows in wild mustard chirp like newborn chicks. Lichen crusted old vines are like old men with wizened, wine stained hands, sitting in dark rooms, murmuring about vintages long past or forgotten.

Lodi photographer Dena Marquez

While taking up her first DSLR camera only about five years ago, Marquez attributes her explosive imagery to an instinctive passion for nature nurtured at an early age in Oregon; something also inherited from her father’s love of the outdoors – hiking through forests, boating, fishing and frequent camping. She moved to Lodi at the age of 12; graduated from Lodi High School, and settled permanently into the Lodi community with her husband of 20 years and three children.

Says Ms. Marquez, “I shoot a variety of photographs in Lodi. However, since Lodi is the heart of wine country, I feel that capturing vineyards best expresses my vision of home – especially for visitors coming from around the world, looking to experience the wine country we know. Lodi is the friendliest community, and the wine speaks for itself!

Dena Marquez's portrait of the historic Lodi Arch in mid-morning, capturing what she calls "cotton ball clouds"

“My Lodi photography comes from the heart, and makes me feel grounded. Therefore, I have bold style at times. My photography is a representation of who I am and how I would like others to see Lodi. The bold colors express my artistic style. It may not be for everyone, but it is the way I like to show the beauty of the valley, blessed as we are in such a bountiful agricultural region.”

Welcome to Dena Marquez’s world! Her images and thoughts:

According to Marquez: "I took this photo this past June 12th... beautiful orange glow peaking out from the horizon, showing off newly planted vineyards... summer sunsets are the best in Lodi wine country!"

"This is my 'Crimsom and Clover'... the cover crop in this vineyard (Michael David Winery's Bare Ranch) really makes the shot... I wanted to show the colors that drew me into this vineyard, even from a distance."

"I saw these painted train cars, sitting off Vicitor Rd. alongside a vineyard, and thought to myself, 'That's Lodi!'"

"I happened to get lucky with this shot of Lodi Lake, capturing a reflection on a bright morning after a rain, when even the sky looks bluer than normal."

"I like to make my colors pop, if only to share the moments I'm experiencing, like this golden sunset behind all those majestic old oak trees in Bokisch's vineyard."

"I like the relaxed country feeling of Lodi... it's different from other wine regions, especially around the old barn at Jessie's Grove."

"Spring mustard and promising new plantings along Peltier Rd. are also a very 'Lodi' scene"

"When taking the Nature Trail in Lodi Lake Park one foggy December morning, I couldn't help feeling like I was in the middle of a scary movie... pretty cool!"

I took this shot of this old oak surrounded by old vines in Bob Bishofberger's vineyard at sunset, with purplish sky and ominous looking clouds, just before one of our heavy rains this past winter."

"I just love Lodi's red barns with all those old trucks that no longer run, sitting in the front, looking like they will always belong."

"This rusted out tractor on Sargent Rd. with a big blue sky in the background represents, to me, Lodi's long agricultural history... a reminder of why Lodi has survived as the biggest wine region in the country."

"Macro-shot of wild mustard between the vines with a nice broken effect in the background... I took this picture this past February 1st... to me, mustard is one of our first signs of spring each year!"

"Blossoming almonds, like these on Peltier Rd., are as much a sign of Lodi spring as mustards and bud break in the vineyards."

"I call this 'Painted Sky on Lodi Lake'... the orange and purple backdrop just turned out looking that way, like a painting on a canvas, when I took this shot of a couple standing at the end of the dock, enjoying a very quiet moment."


"The vineyards along Turner Rd. are always among my favorite spots in early spring."

"Year-round, I always seem to come back to this particular old oak, surrounded by these crusted old vines (Jessie's Grove Carignan, dating back to the 1890s)."

One of the reasons I took up photography was because Lodi attracted so many visitors, I thought it would be a good idea to capture the scenic views of Lodi wine country... this winery sign points to many of my own favorite wineries!"



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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