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
March 10, 2024 | Randy Caparoso

Vivid images of Lodi's Beauty of Days Gone By

Block of blooming almond trees cultivated in the midst of Lodi's vast expanse of vineyards.

In the seasonal rhythms of life, the cusp of spring (in 2024, coming up on March 19) is when the earth is exhaling, after months and months of breathing and holding still, conserving energy for the longer days, the warmer temperatures and brighter, more nourishing light.

We respond in kind, walking, talking, singing organic extensions of the Mother we call Nature. Spring awakens our appetites, and our thirst for wines and life is piqued, re-energized, hopeful, healing, as pent up and bracing as rushing uncontained snowmelt.

Wild early March growth springing up from the super-sandy loam soil beneath grapevines well over 100 years old in Lodi's Mokelumne River region.

Or as in Van Morrison’s The Beauty of Days Gone By: A song (listen to it here) that marvels at how youth is always served—within the awakening earth, and in the foods, the drinks, the words, and music inspired by and bestowed upon us by Nature, even as we find ourselves a little older, a little worse for wear, after every sobering winter.

Recent photo of Lodi grower—whose family has been farming in Lodi since the late 1860s—among prized old vines that he personally planted in 1956, just now coming out of their winter slumber.

Our appetite for life and beauty, though, never goes away, remaining as mental as much as it is physical, provided we keep our wits about us.

As in the words of this Celtic rock bard, matched to pictorial rhythms of Lodi, as this winegrowing appellation—by far the largest in the United States—makes its own yearly pilgrimage into the light and warm embrace of spring...

Burst of morning light peeping through old vine Zinfandel (planted in the early 1960s) in Lodi's Clements Hills appellation.

When I recall just how it felt
When I went walking down by the lake
My soul was free, my heart awake
When I walked down into the town...

Waters of March: the Mokelumne River, shimmering in the light of the rising sun, where it lazily flows into Lodi Lake.

The mountain air was fresh and clear
The sun was up behind the hill
It felt so good to be alive
On that morning in spring...

Blue oaks on a green knoll among grapevines in the rolling lower Foothills terroir of Lodi's Clements Hills appellation.

I want to sing this song for you
I want to lift your spirits high
And in my soul I want to feel
The beauty of the days gone by...

Pulling at the bursting new buds of old vine Zinfandel in Lodi's historic Mokelumne River appellation.

The beauty of the days gone by
It brings a longing to my soul
To contemplate my own true self
And keep me young as I grow old...

The first buds of March popped out from the long gnarly arms of the ancient vine Lodi Zinfandel, originally planted in 1901.

'Cause beauty of the days gone by
The music that we used to play
So, lift your glass and raise it high
Till the beauty of the days gone by...

Sheep munching on late winter shoots among old vines in Lodi's Mokelumne River Viticultural Area.

I'll sing it from the mountain top
Down to the valley down below
Because my cup doth overflow
With the beauty of the days gone by...

Late winter mustard, neglected old vines, and historic railroad tracks just north of the City of Lodi.

The mountain glen where we used to roam
The gardens there by the railroad track
Oh, my memory it does not lie
Of the beauty of the days gone by...

Peach blossoms ablaze in March light alongside trellised Syrah in Lodi's Mokelumne River region.

The beauty of the days gone by
It brings a longing to my soul
To contemplate my own true self
And keep me young as I grow old...

And keep me young as I grow old.

Vertically trained old, old Zinfandel in the heart of Lodi wine country, at the start of March bud break.



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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