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 23, 2011 | Randy Caparoso

A year in Lodi 2011 (part 1)


Against the typical cloudy backdrop of January, ancient Lodi vines, just pruned and conserving energy for their upcoming spring bud break...

Looking back on another fruitful year in the Delta

Looking back at our favorite photos of the past year also gives us a good sense of how vintage 2011 developed, and more to look forward to in the years to come when we finally uncork and taste the year in our mouths.  Some of our favorite scenes from the past year:



Tucked in for winter's nap: 2nd generation Lodi winemaker David Akiyoshi looking at the 100+ year old vines -- the backbone of LangeTwins' elegant yet ferociously intense black label Zinfandel -- owned by Charlie Lewis on the east side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA

Hoffman, 12-10

December topping: Heritage Oak's Tom Hoffman tops off his barrels; one of the constant chores in any winery, big or small...


Hollowed out (but still thriving) trunk of 80 year old vine going into McCay's Truluck's Zinfandel



Pruning begins in earnest in January...

Noma 12-10

Sand dune intensity: these wizened, prostrate 100+ year old vines in Leland's Noma Vineyard (east of 99, going into Macchia's Outrageous Zinfandel) produce miniscule yet powerful vines...

Sorelle 01-11

New stars: Mike Scott parlayed success engineering Delta wind turbines to turn the historic Dodge House (1866) into Sorelle Winery, with daughters Kim and Melissa...


Harney, chocolate chili 02-11

Chocolate chili at Harney Lane: thousands of wine lovers descend upon Lodi for Wine & Chocolate Weekend...

Harmony, chocolate weekend 02-11

Harmony Wynelands: while wine and chocolate revelers hopped from winery to winery, the work of pruning the vines went on...

Amrik Daliwal 02-11

Ray Rd. success story: Amrik Dahliwal came to Lodi from Punjab in the early '80s to pick grapes for $11 a day, and now farms over 300 acres of his own...


Todd Maley, March 11

Ray Rd. roots: Todd Maley, tapping one his old zins, represents a family tradition of agriculture entwined with the Phillips (Michael-David) going back a century in Lodi...

Rod Schatz, March 11

Third generation grower Rod Schatz typifies many of Lodi's families, turning to winemaking (Peltier Station and Hybrid) rather than depending upon other wineries...

Patrick,  Jessie's Carignane, March 2011

Patrick Campbell -- who popularized Lodi with his "ZaZin!" and "Reds" bottlings -- photographed these 100 year old Carignane vines (Jessie's Grove) while in their naked wintry splendor...

Layne, March 11

m2's Layne Montgomery blending his commemorative zin for the upcoming Lodi ZinFest/p>

Ripken March 2011

Spring started off gray and wet, but that didn't keep DIY Network from building a new outdoor tasting room for Ripken Vineyards...


Lucero, April 11

Vintage strawberry: Lucero Organic Farms' Ben Lucero shows off the first of his exquisite Seascape strawberries...

Galt Market, April 11

Alebrijes chef/owner Ruben Larrazolo does his weekly Saturday shopping at Galt's open market...

Harney, April 2011

Spring activity: at Harney Lane, the trellised vines and creaky old truck limber up under brightening spring skies...

Mohr-Fry buds, April 11

First buds: Mohr-Fry vines burst into spring...

Mohr-Fry, Marian's April 11

Old men walking: zin vines a staggering 110 years old at Mohr-Fry Ranches

Old timers, April 11

Old timers of another sort: Steve Borra, Michael-David's Michael Phillips and David Lucas were three of Lodi's winery pioneers...

Peirano, buds, April 2011

Ancient dwarves: these budding, 2 ft. zin vines were originally planted by Giacomo Peirano at the end of the 19th century...

Brazin-Cusumano Vyd, April 11

Prized buds: Delicato's Sue Hoffman in Cusumano's Hwy. 12 vineyard, the primary source of the ultra-premium Brazin zin

Harney, April 11

Spring blue hours: as days get longer, sunsets get brighter in Harney Lane's vineyards, still soggy from April showers...


Downtown, April 11

Downtown Lodi: sculpted shopper

Zinfest, Vicarmont gang, May 14

ZinFest smiles: May is also ZinFest month in Lodi, when the Vicarmont gang (pictured here) pour for thousands of wine lovers coming from far and near...

Downtown, May 23

More Downtown Lodi: live boy, sculpted painter

Zinfest May 14

Like a pro: ZinFest wine lovers know their stuff...

Zinfest, Lance Randolph

Famous red shorts: by May, Peirano's Lance Randolph has already been wearing his red shorts for at least a month (never removed until the last of Lodi's wine grapes are picked each year)...

Zinfest, McCay 7 Bokisch

Tres amigos: Michael McCay,'s Randy Caparoso and Markus Bokisch at the annual ZinFest on Lodi Lake

Zinfest dancers, May 13th

ZinFest tarantism: wine lovers by the lake...


Lodi farmers market, June

Ferrari Farms' certified organic fruit stand at the spring opening of Lodi's Farmers Market

Addy's paella, June

Addy's paella at Lodi Farmers Market

Steve Felton, June

Zin rehab: Klinker Brick's Steve Felten with 94 year old, dry farmed Cherry Rd. vine he is nursing back to full health...

OV zin, June 19

117 year old east side zin vines in a lush stage with burgeoning clusters within two months of bud break...

wild growth, June

Wild growth starting to cover the bare ground under century year old vines in Schmiedt Ranch...

School St Bistro, June

School Street Bistro proprietor David Akiyoshi (also LangeTwins' winemaker) greets Dave Phillips (left) and his Lodi visitor friends...


Dancing Fox Grenache, July 8

Gregg Lewis (Dancing Fox grower/proprietor) and Adam Webb (Odisea winemaker/partner) taking a peek at their rapidly growing Grenache...

Grenache eating dog, July 8

Adam Webb's dog enjoys green Grenache grown by Bokisch...

W&R Bastille Day, July

Wine & Roses Hotel celebrates Bastille Day...


Wine & Roses' Russ Munson and Kim Nejak toast to Bastille Day...

Ripken bike race, July 10

The Ripken gang gearing up for the Lodi Cyclefest


Mettler Family Vineyards' Jason Eels and Larry Mettler...



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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