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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
 
October 18, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Tokay fine sandy loam, part 1 — the Mokelumne River's defining natural feature

Indigenous valley oak and old vine Zinfandel on the west side of Lodi's Mokelumne River appellation.

The historic environment of valley oaks and grapes

Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA — an American Viticultural Area (i.e., AVA) established in 2006 by the TTB along with six other Lodi sub-appellations — is defined primarily by one common factor: Its deep (as much as 90 feet), porous yet high vigor soil, classified by the USDA as Tokay series fine sandy loam...

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Time Posted: Oct 18, 2021 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Tokay fine sandy loam, part 1 — the Mokelumne River's defining natural feature Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
October 12, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Burning questions about appreciating old vine wines

2021 Zinfandel harvest in Lodi's Rous Vineyard, originally planted on St. George rootstocks in 1909.

As a follow-up to our previous post on Why everyone loves old vines, some answers to pertinent questions usually brought up in discussions about old vine wines...

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Time Posted: Oct 12, 2021 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Burning questions about appreciating old vine wines Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
October 8, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Why everyone loves old vines

Winter pruning of old vines (planted between the 1920s and 1940s) in Stampede Vineyard, one of Lodi's premier old vine Zinfandel plantings.

Of all the different sides of Lodi winegrowing, none is more compelling than the region's old vines. There is beauty, to begin with it, in the thick, creviced, tree-like trunks of vines over 50 years old, and in their long, sturdy, twisting, muscular arms, or "spurs." There is beauty in each vine's story, what we know of them or what we just imagine. Older vines have histories, and the more we know, know, know about them the more we love, love, love them. 

So let's learn more about old vines. At least, those of the Lodi Viticultural Area, where thousands of acres of old plantings have been thriving since as far back as the 1800s (although, granted, in the late 1800s the vines considered "ancient" today were still young bucks). For starters...

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Time Posted: Oct 8, 2021 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Why everyone loves old vines Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
October 5, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Zinfandel is the ideal autumnal wine

2021 Zinfandel harvest on the east side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA.

Zinfandel is the ideal autumn sipper. Make that quaffer. Why fool around?

Why Zinfandel? Because it is one of the few red wines with a propensity for spice qualities in the nose and flavor. By spice, we mean a pungent quality ascribed to an aromatic compound called rotundone, the or sesquiterpene (or class of terpenes) responsible for the "spicy" or "peppery" aroma and taste commonly found, first and foremost, in peppercorns, but also in other plants like juniper, geranium, and various kitchen herbs... 

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Time Posted: Oct 5, 2021 at 11:00 AM Permalink to Zinfandel is the ideal autumnal wine Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
September 30, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

What six visiting wine influencers are saying about Lodi

Six visiting wine influencers with Calhoun & Company's Katie Calhoun (center) in Phillips Farms' Bare Ranch on Lodi's west side, they they helped pick 2021 Primitivo.

Last week (September 19-22, 2021) Lodi growers and vintners hosted six wine influencers in a 3-day study of the Lodi wine region.

Sometimes it helps to ask someone what they think moments after their experience. Said one of the influencers, L.A.'s Elle Rodriguez, in a video/message transmitted while waiting to leave at Sacramento International Airport: “Omigosh, I'm shocked... Lodi is such a gem."

Upon further thought, Rodriguez added: "Lodi has all the right vibes. If you are into good people, great wine, authentic experiences, this is the place for you. It’s not at all corporate. The winemakers are hands-on. You see stains under their fingernails, and an absence of Rolexes. If this sounds like your kind of experience, come to Lodi before the word gets out..."

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Time Posted: Sep 30, 2021 at 7:00 AM Permalink to What six visiting wine influencers are saying about Lodi Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
September 24, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

The fresh grape packing action (for the nation's home winemakers) in Lodi vineyards

Old vine Carignan, field-packed by Lodi's M & R Company, decked out with a vintage Sabor e Ducura (Portuguese for "Flavor and Sweetness") crate label, and headed out to home winemakers across the country and in Canada.

Every mid-September through early October, one of the common sights in vineyards in Lodi is pickers loading grapes into 40-pound lug boxes. Next to the vines, the pickers weigh each lug box on scales in order to be as precise as possible. At the edge of the vineyards, on the side of the road, the lugs are then emptied into colorful wooden boxes by grape packers. 

Each crate — filled with grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel or Carignan — is sealed with a curved wooden top, and the boxes are bundled together with steel strapping on 36-box pallets, before being loaded onto trucks...

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Time Posted: Sep 24, 2021 at 10:00 AM Permalink to The fresh grape packing action (for the nation's home winemakers) in Lodi vineyards Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
September 16, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

More wine myths we have known

Do wine bottles need to be stored on their side or upright? We explore this and other common wine "myths."

The world is full of myths and legends. Why? Because, evidently, it's in our nature to be captivated by them. It's like in Peter Pan... "I do believe in fairies."

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Time Posted: Sep 16, 2021 at 12:00 PM Permalink to More wine myths we have known Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
September 10, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Three grapes of the moment during Lodi's 2021 harvest

Close-up of 2021 Carignan harvest in Lodi's Spenker Ranch, planted in 1900.

As we come into the middle of Lodi's 2021 wine grape harvest, it is as good a time as any to focus on three grapes that represent three sides of the Lodi winegrowing industry today:

• Innovation
• Tradition and history
• Terroir...

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Time Posted: Sep 10, 2021 at 12:00 PM Permalink to Three grapes of the moment during Lodi's 2021 harvest Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
September 7, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

The meaning of brix and the start of Lodi's 2021 harvest

Harvest morning this past Saturday, September 4 in Lodi's historical Bechthold Vineyard, planted to Cinsaut in 1886.

Brix and alcohol levels in wines

The term Brix (also called Balling) is the name of the system for measuring sugar content in grapes, fermenting grape juices (musts) or finished wines developed by Adolph Brix in the early 1800s. Brix is credited with adding precision to the measurement of sugar content on a density scale known as Balling. 

Grape sugars have a direct impact on alcohol levels of wines and the resulting sense of body in the taste. Potential alcohol by volume (i.e., ABV) is typically calculated by multiplying Brix readings by .55. However, the reality is that conversion rates can be as high as .64, especially for grapes such as Zinfandel or Chardonnay that are known for uneven ripening (clusters with "hens-and-chicks"-sized berries), which usually results from millerandage or shot berries... 

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Time Posted: Sep 7, 2021 at 2:00 PM Permalink to The meaning of brix and the start of Lodi's 2021 harvest Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
August 31, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi is about to pick its first Assyrtiko

Ripening 2021 Assyrtiko in Perlegos Vineyard, east side of the Mokelumne River-Lodi AVA.

The Assyrtiko grape is pronounced ah-SEER-tee-koh, according to Jeff Perlegos, a second-generation winegrower of Greek heritage, who farms vineyards on both the east and west sides of Lodi with his brother John Perlegos...

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Time Posted: Aug 31, 2021 at 5:00 AM Permalink to Lodi is about to pick its first Assyrtiko Permalink
Contact

Lodi Wine Visitor Center
2545 West Turner Road Lodi, CA 95242
209.365.0621
Open: Daily 10:00am-5:00pm

Lodi Winegrape Commission
2545 West Turner Road, Lodi, CA 95242
209.367.4727
Open: Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm

Have a question? Complete our contact form.