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
December 1, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

The year's best photos of Lodi wine country (December 2020 to May 2021)

In early March 2021, end-of-winter pruning of old vines in Clements Hills-Lodi's Stampede Vineyard.

It's always hard to pick our "favorite" photos of Lodi wine country, but the less said the better about this collection, presented in order of the months and seasonal changes during the past year...


Depending on how you see it, December is the end or beginning of another cycle,
As grapevines retire after another year's work, in preparation for still another.

At the beginning of December 2020, these ancient vine Flame Tokay vines (over 100 years old) were clinging to their fiery-colored leaves.

A dilapidated, century-old water tower along Lodi's W. Turner Rd., finally fell a few months later during a 2021 winter storm.

Towering ancient valley oaks, native to Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA, and unpruned old vine Zinfandel.

In mid-December, a bare, weary-looking 119-year-old Zinfandel in Mohr-Fry Ranches' Marian's Vineyard.


January can be dismal,
The gray and damp days were punctuated by the green of moss growing on twisting vines.

Vineyard cat among stubby, wintering ancient vines, originally planted during the 1890s, in Mokelumne River-Lodi's Peirano Estate.

Winter pruner on a foggy January morning along Lodi's Alpine Rd.

Poco-sized birdhouse next to the muscular ancient vine (Zinfandel planted in 1903) in Charlie Lewis Vineyard.

Stonum Vineyards tasting room and winery in January fog.

Ring of blue oaks and recently mowed cover crop in Bokisch family's Terra Alta Vineyard at the end of January.


In February the sun peeks through the heavy clouds,
And the naked vines are cloaked by mustard and green cover crops between the rows.

Sprouting moss in old vine Zinfandel.

Shepherd (Frankie Aburea III) and sheep in Schulenburg Vineyard, on Mokelumne River-Lodi's west side.

Winter tying of spurs on trellised Cabernet Sauvignon on Lodi's east side.

Rust-colored lichen in Kirschenmann Vineyard (Zinfandel planted in 1915).

Mossy vineyard home tucked in among the oaks and vines of Mokelumne Glen Vineyards on Lodi's east side.

Split-canopy vines under February skies in Lodi's Clements Hills AVA.


March is a race to finish the last of the pruning,
Before the vines are stirred from their winter slumber.


Late winter old vine pruning in Clements Hills-Lodi's Stampede Vineyard.

Cane pruned VSP (vertical shoot position) trellising and rocky clay soil in Lodi's Borden Ranch AVA.

French-born winemaker Franck Lambert during a quiet moment in Lodi's Stama Winery.

Cattle grazing on federally protected wetlands between vineyard blocks in Lodi's Borden Ranch AVA.

Cinsaut in Bechthold Vineyard, Lodi's oldest vines (planted in 1886), just before spring bud break.


April showers bring the first glimmer of grapevine flowers,
And the annual 100-day race to ripening.

First bud break in Marian's Vineyard (Mokelumne River-Lodi Zinfandel planted in 1901).

April dawn in the hillside Zinfandel block in DeLuca Vineyard (Lodi's Clements Hills AVA).

Owl box above bones of hundreds of devoured gophers in Lodi's Marian's Vineyard.

Early spring growth on ancient vine Zinfandel (planted in 1907) in Steacy Vineyard, on the east side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA.


May is the commencement of blue skies and rising mercury,
And the setting of beady green clusters on Lodi's tens of thousands of vines.

Carignan bloom and fruit set in Spenker Ranch, planted in 1900 on the west side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA.

May growth and Zinfandel bloom Mokelumne River-Lodi's Lizzy James Vineyard, originally planted in 1904.

Fifth generation, east side Lodi farmers Jorja and Kyle Lerner enjoying the late May sunshine at their Harney Lane Winery.

Flower-shaped lichen in the crook of the arm of ancient vine Mokelumne River-Lodi Zinfandel.

Our next blog post: The year's best photos of Lodi wine country (June to November 2021)



Lodi Wine Visitor Center
2545 West Turner Road Lodi, CA 95242
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2545 West Turner Road, Lodi, CA 95242
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