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
August 23, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Road Trip! (passport to celebrating California Wine Month in Lodi)

Lodi roadtrip

Hunters Oak Vineyard, in Lodi's Clements Hills AVA

Most of the cats that you meet on the streets speak of true love,
Most of the time they’re sittin’ and cryin’ at home… 
Truckin’, like the do-dah man…
- Grateful Dead

Lodi sign, polaroin 2

Jenny Heitman, our marketing maven at the Lodi Winegrape Commission, goes all farklemt when she talks about what the Lodi growers and wineries have cooked up as part of Discover California’s official California Wine Month this coming September 1 through October 6, 2012:  a LoCA Road Trip calendar chock-full of fun exciting, illuminating stuff, complete with a LoCA Road Trip Passport that will get you into everything either for free or entitling you to fantastic discounts.

“There’s something about shouting Road Trip! that immediately makes you think of good friends,” says Heitman… “laughter and blaring tunes, windows down, fingertips grasping at handfuls of air as it whirs by, and bare feet up on the dash… by any other name a road trip is a chance to escape… to crazy good times.”

… or, as the Lodi wine folks have been saying since last fall, a chance to go “LoCA”:  an anagram (for Lodi, CA) that screams out their passion – or obsession, if you will – with good, honest grape growing.  In Lodi, more often than not this involves dedicated people; many of whom have been living and farming here in the Delta for over 100 years.  Why or wherefore Lodi?  The heck with more words:  if anything, you can taste it in their beautifully fresh and honest wines; which express, to quote a soulster name Marley, that “feelin’ in the one drop.”

If you haven’t yet taken a LoCA road trip, one thing you will also find:  the Lodi brand of hospitality is also a no-snobbery-or-robbery experience.  Says Heitman, “there won’t be a better time to go LoCA with us than during California Wine Month.  Lodi vintners will be rolling out the red carpet with a myriad of exciting activities.”

Lodi bus

What will make a LoCA road trip special?  Ms. Heitman counts some of the ways:  “you can unleash your inner artist at Acquiesce, Macchia and Jeremy Wine Co. by creating a pastel masterpiece, a mahogany cork trivet, or a custom wine label.  Check out fun and unique harvest tours given by the winemakers of LangeTwins, McCay Cellars, or Peltier Station.  Learn to make fresh goat cheese, blend your own port wine, or fine tune your tasting senses at Spenker, d’Art, and Kidder Family.

“Can’t find a sitter for the little ones? No problemo. Oak Ridge Winery, Borra Vineyards and Oak Farm will be offering family-friendly activities such as grape stomping, vineyard hayrides, or catch ‘n release fishing.”

How can you participate?  Simple:  you can pick up your LoCA Road Trip Passport for a mere $15 at the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center (209.365.0621), or online at   Your passport will entitles you to all special offers at participating restaurants, lodgings, and businesses, as well as special bottle and case discounts offered by the participating wineries.

The LoCA Road Trip Web site also has many of the details of the special events going down, plus information on great hotels, local restaurants and shopping (also see A foodie’s guide to Lodi wine country).  There’s a ton of events; but just so you don’t have to pass GO, here’s a rundown (click for further details) right here, on the first half (September 1-16) of this long, strangely cool trip:


Saturday, September 1

Sunday, September 2

Lodi downtown

Monday, September 3

Tuesday, September 4

Thursday, September 6

Friday, September 7

Saturday, September 8

Lodi dog

Sunday, September 9

Friday, September 14

Lodi harvest

Saturday, September 15

Sunday, September 16

Lodi cafe



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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