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
May 8, 2014 | Randy Caparoso

Grape Goddess, the perfect salad for Zinfandel, and bevy of new stuff at Lodi ZinFest!

Chef Tony Lawrence (right, with St. Amant’s Stuart Spencer) will demonstrate his amazingly Zinfandel-friendly “chocolate salad” at this year’s ZinFest

Chef Tony Lawrence (right, with St. Amant’s Stuart Spencer) will demonstrate his amazingly Zinfandel-friendly “chocolate salad” at this year’s ZinFest

The 2014 Lodi ZinFest Wine Festival, taking place next week Saturday, May 17, will be funner and more educational than ever!

First, have you ever wondered what would be the perfect, healthy salad for Lodi grown Zinfandel? Better yet, one made with chocolate? Chef Tony Lawrence, the “Global Wine Chef” of A Chef For You, has been demonstrating his incredibly zin-friendly "chocolate salad" for years at the yearly ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) Grand Tasting in San Francisco, and he'll be sharing his secrets on the ZinFest Cooking School stage at 4:00-4:40 PM. But wait, there's more… Chef Tony will also taste you on his absolute favorite Lodi Zinfandels – the 2012 St. Amant Mohr-Fry Zinfandel, and the legendary, rare and amazing 2012 St. Amant Marian's Zinfandel. Prepared your senses to be amazed!

“Grape Goddess,” Catherine Fallis MS

“Grape Goddess,” Catherine Fallis MS

Second, certified Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis – a.k.a. the “Grape Goddess” of – will be making a return-by-popular-demand; this time, on the big stage of the Cooking School (3:00-3:40 PM), talking about ideal Lodi wine and food matches with Chef Julie Hoskins of Chic Le Chef Catering and Summertime In a Glass. Ms. Fallis will taste their Cooking School audience on the 2013 LangeTwins Family Sauvignon Blanc and 2010 LangeTwins Family Zinfandel, while Chef Julie demonstrates green olive tapenade with goat cheese mousse crostini, followed by Zinfandel sangria tri-tip skewers.

Not to be outdone, the rest of the ZinFest Cooking School slate will include:

  • Chef Ken Landis of Half Moon Bay’s beautiful Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn (1:00-1:40 PM); demonstrating his ancho chili mole, with a taste of 2010 Sorelle Vineyards Primitivo
  • Chef Mike Midgley of Ernie's Food & Spirits in Manteca (2:00-2:40 PM); demonstrating lamb chops with plum sauce, with a taste of Jessie's Grove's Earth, Zin & Fire Zinfandel

While 2014 marks ZinFest's 10th vintage, there is always something totally new going on each year. This year, for the first time, ZinFesters may enjoy:

"Up in Smoke!" ZinFest BBQ Demo
Keith Breedlove, Executive Chef of the N’awlins style French 25 in Stockton, will be sharing tips on how to put on the perfect tailgate or backyard BBQ parties throughout the day. Stop by to learn from a pro!

Lodi Lake

Lodi Lake

Vintner's Regatta (in "barrel" crafts!)
It's always fun to watch local winemakers bravely fling away. At 1:00 PM, a few of Lodi’s finest will take to the water as they race across a section of Lodi Lake in "boats" creatively crafted from wine barrels. The winner of the Vintner's Regatta will receive a custom trophy and bragging rights for their winery.

Barrel Building Demo
Speaking of barrels of fun, ZinFesters will be able to learn and appreciate the time and energy that goes into wine barrel making from premium broker, Barrel Builders, Inc. in St. Helena. The wine barrel building demonstration will be ongoing throughout the day (12:00-4:00 PM). We invite you to stroll on by to see this master craftsmanship on display.

Obviously, you don’t want to miss Lodi’s 10th annual ZinFest. Tickets are still available online at Come on out for some civilized fun, the LoCA way!

ZinFest love…

ZinFest love…



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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