The Lodi Life & Times

In Lodi, wine comes first. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Meet the passionate people behind our handcrafted wines and gnarly old vines.

Randy Caparoso
May 30, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi wineries June concert calendar: honeyed moons & silvery tunes

On June 2, Bill Russell plays on the Patio at Van Ruiten Family Winery

Ah, the first rays of summer:  if you love to sip and dip while spooning and crooning love tunes under the honeyed moons of June, then Lodi Wine Country is where it’s at!

As they do every summer, Lodi’s wineries are offering numerous ways to enjoy wine together with song during the coming month, providing (as Heritage Oak Winery’s Tom and Carmela Hoffman like to put it) the perfect “stress therapy.”  Better yet, for ticket prices that do not gouge the pocketbook!

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Time Posted: May 30, 2013 at 8:23 AM
Randy Caparoso
May 28, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

The Landsman Lodi Zinfandel is not just kosher, it’s a doozy

Kosher Lodi grown Zinfandel?  Maybe not something you can say was “bound to happen,” but there now is one, and it’s a doozy – produced and bottled by the Napa Valley based Covenant Wines.

The newly released 2011 Landsman Lodi Zinfandel ($40), crafted by Covenant winemaker/owner Jeff Morgan, is a genuinely rich, vivid, powerfully aromatic expression of Lodi grown Zinfandel:  teeming with raspberry and blueberry fruit qualities that are not quite jammy, yet generous enough to coat the palate with sensations akin to eating drippy berries with svelte, black lambskin gloves.  Medium-full body – that is, not coming across as fat or ponderous – and nuanced by faintly gamey whiffs that are more like the animal smells you find in black, oily, dark roast coffee beans than red meat, laced with suggestions of cardamom and cinnamon.

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Time Posted: May 28, 2013 at 8:20 AM
Randy Caparoso
May 23, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

LangeTwins wines epitomize the heartfelt smiles and spirit of Lodi

Guest chef dinner among barrels at LangeTwins’ Press Room

Last week Wednesday, May 15, LangeTwins Winery & Vineyard christened their Press Room – their recently completed, sleek yet organic looking tasting room, located right alongside their barrel room beneath their crush pad – with their first-ever guest chef/winemaker dinner.

Their choice of guest chef – in several ways, very much “LangeTwins,” and very much “Lodi” – was Dan Landsberg of DragonFly Restaurant in Dallas, TexasHotel ZaZa.  Chef Dan’s five courses were exquisitely fine, balanced, strikingly contemporary, yet honest, almost plain (only in the sense of being easily perceived) in its power and freshness – just like LangeTwins’ Lodi grown wines.

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Time Posted: May 23, 2013 at 8:16 AM
Randy Caparoso
May 20, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Photos from 2013 ZinFest — real peeps at Lodi Lake Park

Lodi ZinFest 2013 began this past Friday night, May 17, in Lodi Lake Park with the Vintner’s Grille barbecue, attended by over 500 people.  The Friday night dinner sells out every year because it is the perfect opportunity for Lodi wine enthusiasts to mix and mingle with Lodi vignerons, who make up nearly half the crowd and are identifiable by their blue buttons saying “Lodi Growers… we’re kind of a big deal.”

And they’re becoming a bigger and bigger deal every year, judging from the number of tickets (over 4,000) pre-purchased for the following Saturday afternoon’s ZinFest Wine Festival.  While, of course, many of the ZinFesters were returnees from at least one of the previous eight ZinFests (2014 will mark the big 10th Anniversary of ZinFest!), many were first-timers coming from as nearby as Sacramento and Stockton, and from as far away as Utah, Texas, or Pennsylvania.

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Time Posted: May 20, 2013 at 8:12 AM
Randy Caparoso
May 13, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Amazing variety of alternative wines to be poured at ZinFest

Planning or still thinking about coming out to Lodi ZinFest this coming Saturday, May 18 (12-5 PM at Lodi Lake Park)?

One thing to take note of:  it’s not just all about Zinfandel at ZinFest.  It will also be about Albariño and Alicante, Grenache and Grenache Blanc, Barbera and Sangiovese, Merlot and Montepulciano, Tempranillo and Graciano, SouzãoSyrah, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot, and a dizzying host of other varietal wines and imaginative blends now being produced by Lodi’s finest.

As a matter of fact, the Lodi AVA has always grown a wider range of wine grapes than any other region in the U.S.  Why?  It is connected to Lodi’s history as a supplier to big production wineries.  We wonder if you know, for instance, that Lodi grows more Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay than Napa and Sonoma Counties combined.  On top of that, the big wineries have always asked Lodi’s growers to supply a large variety of “other grapes” for their blending purposes.

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Time Posted: May 13, 2013 at 7:51 AM
Randy Caparoso
May 9, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Abba Vineyards grows Grenache comparable to “Pinot Noir”

Phil Abba’s meticulously tended vines

Michael McCay, the owner/winemaker of McCay Cellars, believes that Lodi might have discovered “its own Pinot Noir.”  He’s thinking, however, that it may be red wines made from the Grenache grape.

“There is a lot of potential for Grenache in Lodi,” says McCay.  “It may become one of the great grapes of Lodi, right up there with Zinfandel.  It’s the perfect fit for our Mediterranean climate.”

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Time Posted: May 9, 2013 at 7:45 AM
Randy Caparoso
May 7, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Michael Klouda’s Stem Theory magnifies the wild side of Cabernet grapes

Michael Klouda with his Stem Theory…

If you dig super-rare wines no one else knows about, lend us your ears:  the 2011 Michael Klouda Lodi Stem Theory ($26) is a worthy follow-up to winemaker/owner Michael Klouda’s debut wine from last Spring, the 2010 Michael Klouda Broken Vine Lodi Zinfandel. 

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Time Posted: May 7, 2013 at 7:42 AM
Randy Caparoso
May 2, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

The wine & cheese goddesses’ choices at the ZinFest Wine School

Catherine Fallis MS leads ZinFest Wine School…

Catherine Fallis MS & Cindy Della Monica share “Secrets of Wine & Cheese Matching”

“ZinFest wine lovers,” says Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis, “prepare your taste buds for lift-off!”

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Time Posted: May 2, 2013 at 7:39 AM