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 28, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Premier grower Leland Noma says “it’s a great time to be a farmer in Lodi”

Leland Noma, in one of his classic old head trained Zinfandel vineyrds

Leland Noma, says Tim Holdener, winemaker/proprietor of Macchia Wines, “is one of Lodi’s premier growers… always agreeable, and a really good partner.”  Holdener adds that Noma also grows “some of the highest priced grapes in Lodi,” but he’s not complaining.  Especially when you consider the consistently award winning acclaim Noma’s grapes have won for Macchia:  particularly for Holdener’s Outrageous Zinfandel – sourced from a shining relic of a 100+ year old vineyard farmed by Noma along Victor Road, just east of the town of Lodi – as well as for a Barbera supplied from a 42 year old vineyard kept on something of life support by Noma’s stubborn labors...

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Randy Caparoso
February 22, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

The story continues: Lodi’s magical Bechthold Vineyard

Tegan Passlacqua (left) and Christina Turley of Turley Wine Cellars, harvesting Bechthold Cinsault

Part 2 – Why Lodi’s Bechthold Cinsault may be the “future” of wine

The well known phenomenon of “old vines” is, first of all, the fact that they tend to produce more intense wines because older vines naturally set lower crops.  Bechthold Vineyard, planted in 1886, is as old as it gets for Lodi – an American Viticultural Area replete with vines planted prior to 1960 (although the label designation “old vines” is unregulated, for our purposes what we call old vines would be vineyards with vines planted over 50 years ago — but there is more, much more, to the story...

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Randy Caparoso
February 20, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi’s oldest existing vines: the magical Bechthold Vineyard

Wanda Woock Bechthold, Lodi's Renaissance woman

Part 1 – The rediscovery of a diamond in the Delta mists

Tegan Passalacqua, the vineyard manager of the esteemed Turley Wine Cellars, calls it “one of the last of the great dry farmed vineyards in Lodi.” Jillian Phoenix, the former winemaker of Bonny Doon Vineyard and current winemaker/co-owner of Phoenix Ranch in Napa Valley, calls it “a magical vineyard” planted to Cinsault grapes that are “by far the most interesting I have ever worked with in California.” Bonny Doon’s famed owner, Randall Grahm, calls the vineyard “the future of California wine… if people can ever become civilized.”

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Randy Caparoso
February 13, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi’s memorable 2012 Wine & Chocolate Weekend

Good times during Wine & Chocolate Weekend at Klinker Brick Winery...

Nearly 5,000 lovers of love, life, chocolate and all the variations of lush, juicy Lodi wine cannot be wrong about Lodi’s Wine & Chocolate Weekend this past weekend, February 11-12, 2012.

Just four of the many vinous and chocolate infused highlights that were enjoyed...

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Randy Caparoso
February 8, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Oak Ridge is all about Lodi heart (and spice!)

The Oak Ridge Winery tasting room (housed in Tank No. 150)

If we told you that there is a successful 300,000 case Lodi winery owned by some of this American Viticultural Area’s oldest families, producing wines that are flying off store shelves across the U.S. as well as in European countries like Sweden, then you might say, “yep, Michael-David sure has grown.”

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Randy Caparoso
February 6, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

What chocolates go with Lodi’s dry red wines?

Raw, pre-fermented cacao seeds and nibs

On the cusp of Lodi Wine Country’s upcoming Wine & Chocolate Weekend (this weekend, February 11-12, 2012), it behooves us to talk about a favorite subject:  the ideal wines for drinking with chocolates.

One the best and easiest wine matches in the world is sweet red wine – fortified sweet reds like Port and late harvest style Zinfandels – with chocolates.  The commonality of sweetness is why this pairing is a classic; but another reason is because, in their raw form, both red wines and chocolates have bitter elements at their core...

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Randy Caparoso
February 2, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Harney Lane’s historic Lizzy James has a sister!

Harney Lane's Kyle Lerner in Lizzy James Vineyard, Jan. 2012

Since its inception in 2008, Harney Lane Winery has shot up the proverbial charts of Lodi wine lovers with hit after hit of outstanding Lodi grown wines.

A flowery fresh Albariño, a first class barrel fermented style of Chardonnay, a velvet lined leather glove-y Tempranillo, and a cigar blast of a Petite Sirah have all found favor among Harney Lane aficionados; but it is Zinfandel – Lodi’s heritage grape – that still anchors the brand...

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Lodi Wine Visitor Center
2545 West Turner Road Lodi, CA 95242
Open: Thursday - Monday 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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