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 7, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

The year's best photos of Lodi wine country (July to November 2021)

July is the brightest time of year in Lodi wine country in terms of sunlight and the changing colors on the vine (called veraison) — in this photo, Wegat Vineyard (Zinfandel planted in 1958).

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


In June the vines go boom,
And spread out their leafy green canopies under a sun finally bereft of clouds.

Sea of June-green grapevines in Ripken family's Under the Sea Vineyard, on the western edge of the Lodi AVA in the California Delta, in the shadows of Mt. Diablo.

Still green, beady, tart yet rapidly growing Piquepoul on the east side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA.

Lodi vintners and visitors gather for vineyard dinner at Acquiesce Winery.

As the days reached their optimal length in 2021's summer solstice (June 21), a colorful sunset in Heritage Oak Vineyard on Lodi's east side.

At the tail end of June, the first sign of the annual veraison (change of color in red wine grapes) on the east side of the Mokelumne River-Lodi AVA.


July is a riot of color and sun-fueled energy,
As the grapevine clusters are set aglow by violets and reds.

Ancient vine Zinfandel (planted in the 1920s) during July veraison in Fathom Vineyard, on the east side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA

Guantonios Wood Oven chef/owner Nick Guantone serving up fresh summer joy.



Nature bestows its first fruits in August,
Unleashing the season of fermentation in the air.

Woodbridge Irrigation Canal on Lodi's west side brings cool water to parched vines on the hottest days of summer.

Back-of-the-car wine tasting and grape sampling in Clements Hills-Lodi's Stampede Vineyard.

"Head" of 132-year-old, own-rooted Zinfandel in Royal Tee Vineyard on the west side of Lodi's Mokelumne River appellation.

Between the long days and pre-dawn wake-up calls at the start of the harvest season, Lodi vintners fortify themselves with wines and food worthy of the finest restaurants.

Like perfectly aligned, purplish ornamental bulbs, ripening Syrah in Mokelumne River-Lodi's Abba Vineyard.

At the end of August, Anaya Vineyards' Gerardo Espinosa harvested Clements Hills-Lodi Pinot Gris.

Towards the end of August, the first picking of east side Lodi Zinfandel for dry rosé style wine.

Wine lovers at Jessie's Grove Winery enjoy the shade on a warm July afternoon.



All of September's days start long before dawn,
Zinfandel followed by Petites, Cabernets, and Carignan.

Ancient vine Zinfandel harvest in Rous Vineyard, originally planted in 1909 on Lodi's east side.

Lorenza's Mindy Kearney specializes in an exquisite dry rosé, with pre-dawn Cinsaut harvest in Lodi's oldest vineyard (Bechthold Vineyard, planted in 1886).

Field sorting of ancient vine Carignan (from vines planted in 1900) in Lodi's Spenker Ranch.

Weighing and field-packing Carignan grapes for home winemakers across the country in a Mokelumne River-Lodi vineyard.

Zinfandel picker showing off her picking knife in east side Lodi's Steacy Ranch.



The October rush can be compelled by rains not seen since spring,
While vivid, heady liquids are transferred from tank to barrel.

Discarded Zinfandel among vines growing in sandy loam soil along the Mokelumne River in Lodi's Clements Hills AVA.

The Portuguese grape Touriga Francesa, a mid-October ripener, under a canopy showing the onset of fall colors.

Lodi winemaker Christina Lopez practicing her levitation of stones in Lodi's Borden Ranch AVA.



November brings a collective sigh of relief,
And the spent grapevine leaves go from green to fiery hues, before the finality of fall.

Tempranillo leaves turning orangy red in Lot 13 Vineyard on the east side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA.

Pumpkins around Lodi barn in the early morning light of mid-November.

Intensely red colors are typical of Alicante Bouschet, an unusual grape variety that produces berries with red-colored juice.

Fall colors on a November morning in Lodi's hilly Borden Ranch appellation.





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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