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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
 
February 16, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

A Lodi based sheep company begins work on sustainable vineyard farming

Rambouillet (unshorn) and Dorper (dark patched) sheep grazing among 75-year-old Zinfandel vines in Lodi's Schulenburg Vineyard, under the watchful eye of F Ewe Sheep Company owner Frankie Arburua III

"This holiday [Presidents' Day] weekend has been super-busy!" proclaimed Frankie Arburua III, the sole proprietor of Lodi's F Ewe Sheep Company. Arburua is far from the first sheep rancher in Lodi, but he is the first that has also been established for this additional, specific purpose: to supply a natural, and sustainable, way of farming vineyards — something that the Lodi Viticultural Area has in far greater number in sheer acreage than any other wine region in California, or the entire U.S for that matter...

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Time Posted: Feb 16, 2021 at 2:00 PM Permalink to A Lodi based sheep company begins work on sustainable vineyard farming Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
February 11, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Silicon Valley Bank's 2021 State of the U.S. Wine Industry report focuses on immediate and unimaginable challenges

Michael Klouda Wines owner/winemaker Mike Klouda walking among ancient and trellised vines during harvest on the east side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA

In Silicon Valley Bank's yearly State of the U.S. Wine Industry report released last month (January 2021), the focus was on, naturally, the "unimaginable challenges" of 2020.

Silicon Valley Bank has served as one of the major lenders to the grape and wine industry over the past quarter-century (its website cites over $4 billion in loans), and its yearly report is meticulously assembled each year by Rob McMillan, Executive Vice President and Founder of the SVB Wine Division.

Writes McMillan, "2020 will go down as the year in which we answered the heretofore rhetorical question, what else can go wrong?" At the same time, says McMillan, "we can also admire the year for the way the wine industry — known for its glacial adaptation to change — took on the obstacles of a worldwide pandemic head-on and found new approaches to sell... 

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Time Posted: Feb 11, 2021 at 1:30 PM Permalink to Silicon Valley Bank's 2021 State of the U.S. Wine Industry report focuses on immediate and unimaginable challenges Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
February 9, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

The dangers of COVID-19 to serious wine lovers

Lodi winemakers Markus Niggli (left) and Layne Montgomery, tasting wine back in the "good ol' days" before masks were required for social gatherings

In one of the most recent issues of The New York Times Magazine (January 31, 2021), there is a fascinating article entitled "The Forgotten Sense."

The story addresses one of the most alarming symptoms of those afflicted by COVID-19: the sudden loss of smell.

Loss of smell, of course, is as common as, well, the common cold. When your nose gets stuffy or inflamed, you often lose your sense of smell for a few hours or days. This is more or less a momentary nuisance...

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Time Posted: Feb 9, 2021 at 2:00 PM Permalink to The dangers of COVID-19 to serious wine lovers Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
February 4, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

In 2021, what's a wine brand to do to stay ahead?

Bokisch's Terra Alta Vineyard (Clements Hills-Lodi) in February light

"What's a wine brand to do?" is the question posed by Australia's CommsClass in a recent post entitled Top Wine Marketing Trends In 2021." CommsClass is a Melbourne-based marketing blog specializing in wine, food, tourism and hospitality.

As in the U.S., the Australian wine industry has recently turned to brand, marketing, digital and social media marketing to make up for sales lost over the past year due to the global pandemic. Also like in the U.S., in Australia this has meant that many old-time winery and vineyard owners who once barely found the need to open up a laptop and do email, let alone open social media apps or host webinars, have had to learn whole new ways of communicating. Like toddlers, stumbling out of the block as they learn to walk...

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Time Posted: Feb 4, 2021 at 12:00 PM Permalink to In 2021, what's a wine brand to do to stay ahead? Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
January 27, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

ZAP offers free Zinfandel livestream tastings and how Lodi Zinfandels compare to Zinfandels from other regions

Lodi Zinfandel lovers

ZAP's Legendary Vineyards/Winemaker Tastings (offered free!)

This weekend, January 30-31, 2021, ZAP's annual ZinEX tastings will be a "Social Distancing [or 'Zinstancing'] Experience."

ZAP is Zinfandel Advocates & Producers, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that has successfully promoted the knowledge and appreciation of Zinfandel — specifically, red Zinfandel — since 1991, when it was founded by a small group of California Zinfandel specialists. ZAP's Zinfandel Experience usually takes place at the end of each January or sometimes in the beginning of February in San Francisco, and has always been one of the world's best organized programs focusing on a single wine type.

Naturally, Lodi, where over 40% of California's Zinfandels are grown, has always played a major part in this yearly celebration... 

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Time Posted: Jan 27, 2021 at 9:00 AM Permalink to ZAP offers free Zinfandel livestream tastings and how Lodi Zinfandels compare to Zinfandels from other regions Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
January 25, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

How Lodi wineries have adjusted to pandemic challenges and changes in how they do business

Does Acquiesce Winery's "Awaken" logo presage brighter days soon to come in Lodi wine country?

The good news as of today is that stay-at-home restrictions in California are being lifted re CNN report), albeit within the state's color-coded tier system. Again. 

Coronavirus infections may be leveling off, but let's not kid ourselves. As we speak, hospitals are still overrun, and death tolls in California alone are still over 500 a day, more than a quarter of the entire country's. There have been over 419,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. over the past year, and vaccinations are being distributed at a very, very slow pace...

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Time Posted: Jan 25, 2021 at 12:00 PM Permalink to How Lodi wineries have adjusted to pandemic challenges and changes in how they do business Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
January 19, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

French students break down Lodi winegrowing, marketing, and its Alta Mesa appellation

Cabernet Franc grapes (left), emblematic of France's Saumur-Champigny, compared to the Touriga Francesa grape (right), one of over two dozen different varieties grown in Lodi's Alta Mesa AVA

How does the "outside world" look at the wine regions of Lodi, which were almost unknown to the rest of the world up until the 1990s? Or, in fact, not until after the Lodi Winegrape Commission was formed by the region's growers in 1991.

An interesting perspective can be gleaned through an in-depth report recently authored by six students at ESA, France's School of Agricultures. This past December 2020, these French agricultural engineering students, as they describe themselves, contacted the Lodi Winegrape Commission for help in conducting an unusual research assignment: a comparison of France's Saumur-Champigny appellation with Alta Mesa, one of Lodi's seven sub-AVAs (i.e., a federally recognized American Viticultural Area)...

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Time Posted: Jan 19, 2021 at 2:00 PM Permalink to French students break down Lodi winegrowing, marketing, and its Alta Mesa appellation Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
January 13, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Alternative style Lodi wines reflecting the wave of the future — part 2, new interpretations of heritage grapes

Precedent owner/winemaker Nathan Kandler (right) harvesting Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel, a phenomenal east side Lodi vineyard he turns into something equally spectacular in his masterful, minimal intervention style

Continued from Alternative style Lodi wines reflecting the wave of the future — part 1, an unfamiliar white and red

The Lodi Native Revolution

While subtle changes in consumers' sensory preferences are bound to be reflected in the proliferating diversity of wines made from alternative grape varieties, we are already seeing these changes in wines made from heritage grapes.

It's bound to happen. In Lodi, for instance, the introduction of the first Lodi Native Zinfandels, from the 2012 vintage, represented a significant first step. The Lodi Native project, however, did not start off as an experiment on sensory profiles.  It began as a project to highlight characteristics in wines related directly to individual heritage vineyard sites — that is, well established Lodi Zinfandel blocks planted over 50 to 100 years ago... 

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Time Posted: Jan 13, 2021 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Alternative style Lodi wines reflecting the wave of the future — part 2, new interpretations of heritage grapes Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
January 11, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Alternative style Lodi wines reflecting the wave of the future — part 1, an unfamiliar white and red

Master Sommelier Christopher Miller venturing into the "wilds" of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA, among the towering Mission vines in Somers vineyard in July 2018

In our previous post — Discerning wines of the immediate future through what we know about the past and what's going in Lodi — we outlined three small yet significant changes in consumer tastes that are beginning to emerge, here at the start of the third decade of the twenty-first century...

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Time Posted: Jan 11, 2021 at 2:00 PM Permalink to Alternative style Lodi wines reflecting the wave of the future — part 1, an unfamiliar white and red Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
January 5, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Discerning wines of the immediate future through what we know about the past and what's going in Lodi

Entertainment during "Freakshow" party at Lodi's Michael David Winery, reflecting (in a sense) the bold diversity of Lodi-grown wines

In 2018 Dr. Liz Thach—a Master of Wine and Sonoma State University professor—came out with something she calls the "Wine Palate Life Cycle Wheel," illustrating the natural evolution of consumer tastes in wine. For full details, visit her article in Wine Business Monthly entitled "Do Wine Consumer Preferences Change Over Time?".

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Time Posted: Jan 5, 2021 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Discerning wines of the immediate future through  what we know about the past and what's going in Lodi 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.