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.
American pie: the Lodi Grape Festival
Celebrate the 2010 harvest with us at the Lodi Grape Festival…
September 16-19 – When was the last time you’ve savored true Americana? The annual four-day Lodi Grape Festival has been serving up sky-high slices of it, with sides of Tokay and glasses of teeth staining Zinfandel, continuously since 1934. The first grapefest was a celebration of the previous year’s repeal of Prohibition and (since unions were not in fashion then) the quelling of a labor strike during the harvest of ’33.
Long gone are the mustachioed honorary peace officers, the beauty queen pageantry and grand parades; but still going strong are the grape contests (Best Tokay Bunch, Largest Tokay Bunch, etc.) and, since the fifties, the annual grape mural contest (giant, colorful artistic displays made from grapes painstakingly glued to flat boards).
Admission into the earliest grapefests was just 25 cents; but relatively speaking, it’s about the same today: $8/adults; kids under 5 free; $4/6-12 year olds; and carnival ride wristbands for just $20.
Plenty more entertainment for the kids (like racing pigs and “Susan the Mistress of Mesmerism”), boogie chillin’ music for the adults (this year, highlighted by Edgar Winter and tribute bands like Led Zepplica and The Fab Four), and as always, liberty and cups of Zinfandel for all. Scenes from the first day of the 2010 grapefest…