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
May 29, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi’s Mettler Family and Chef Bradley Ogden team up for a culinary tour de force

At Wine & Roses Hotel's Towne House Restaurant, Mettler Family Director of Sales Kelli Mettler-Costamagna being served by sommelier Scott Reesman

Last week Wednesday (May 23, 2018), Lodi wine country's Mettler Family Vineyards hosted a most “unusual” wine dinner at Towne House Restaurant in Wine & Roses Hotel & Spa.

Instead of showing off the wines for which they are best known from Hawaii to New York – namely, their acclaimed, elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, their powerful Petite Sirah, and their classically rich and chunky Zinfandel – they presented a dinner highlighting their lesser known, alternative style wines...

  Continue »

Randy Caparoso
May 26, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Lasting images of Lodi's 2018 ZinFest weekend

Lodi grower/vintners Jorja and Kyle Lerner (Harney Lane Winery) at ZinFest Vintner's Grille

Another year, another memorable Lodi ZinFest, which took place last week May 18-19, 2018.

ZinFest is Lodi wine country's biggest event of each year, and the thousands of wine lovers who attend cannot be wrong about that fact! For those who have attended ZinFests of years past, the exciting thing is being part of a wine culture that has quickly become one of the world's most important... 

  Continue »

Randy Caparoso
May 23, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

16-wine blind tasting: Exactly how do Lodi grown wines compare to the rest of the world’s?

Taking notes on Tempranillo flight at pre-ZinFest blind tasting (photo by Frances Siria)

Exactly how do Lodi wines compare to not only those of the rest of California, but also to counterparts in France, Spain, New Zealand, or other wine regions of the world?

This was the question addressed at our 16-wine blind tasting held last week Friday (May 18, 2018), as a ZinFest pre-event. The goal was not to find who makes the “best” wines. As the classic British wine writer André Simon once put it: We can all have good taste, but not the same taste. Our purpose, rather, was to “discover” sensory distinctions. What makes Lodi different – and in that sense, what makes Lodi wines worthwhile?

  Continue »

Randy Caparoso
May 16, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Geeking out on three varietals personifying Lodi's ZinFest diversity

Grenache blanc harvest in Acquiesce Winery's Mokelumne River-Lodi estate

As one of our “pre-ZinFest” events this Friday (May 18), we are holding our second 16-wine “Lodi vs. the world” blind tasting – and event, alas, that has been sold out.

In preparing for remarks to share on the four Lodi grown grape varieties that will be featured in this tasting, we found ourselves geeking out on the fascinating history, going back hundreds of years, of each varietal category. If you’re a wine fanatic, this turns you on.

As it turns out, the exercise also makes a great preview of the dozens of different wine types that wine lovers will be able to experience at this Saturday’s (May 19) 2018 ZinFest Wine Festival – and for that, you can still purchase tickets at pre-event rates (please visit for online sales).

You don’t want to miss it! Meanwhile... the facts, ma’am, just the facts, on three of the four varietal categories we will be studying in earnest at this Friday’s blind tasting...

  Continue »

May 15, 2018 |

The story of Lodi vineyard manager Luis Reyes and his red-hooded sweatshirt

​Luis Reyes nearly got fired his day working on a crew for Mettler & Son. Now, he's the company's general manager.

They laugh about it now.

But if Kyle Lerner’s first encounter with Luis Reyes was made into a motion picture, the title might be “The Man in the Red Hoodie.”

The opening scene would find Lerner watching a lone figure wearing a red, hooded sweatshirt, leaning up against a stake in a newly planted Primitivo vineyard. There was much work to do and this guy Lerner had hired as part of a crew to pull leaves and drive stakes into the ground wasn’t doing anything.

“So, I call my foreman and supervisor at the time and said, ‘David, who’s the guy in the red hoodie?’” said Lerner, who owns Mettler & Son, the farming side of Harney Lane Winery in Lodi. “’What the heck’s going on? This guy’s lazy.’”

  Continue »

Randy Caparoso
May 10, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

The exhilarating range and food versatility of Lodi’s dry rosés

LangeTwins Family's Lodi Sangiovese Rosé (photo courtesy of LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards)

You may have noticed, lately here in Lodi, that everything’s been coming up rosés.

For good reason. Because of its warm yet mild and steady Mediterranean climate – not unlike France’s Provence region, the source of easily the world’s largest sea of rosés – dry pink wines of premium, and even world class, quality seem to come easily to the Lodi Viticultural Area...

  Continue »

Randy Caparoso
May 8, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Peltier leads the way with Lodi grown Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc

Peltier Winery winemaker Susana ("Susy") Rodriguez Vasquez

With the release of a second vintage of white wines crafted by winemaker Susana Rodriquez Vasquez, Peltier Winery & Vineyards has seized a leadership position within the Lodi winemaking community in respect to a couple of dry style varietal whites: Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc...

  Continue »

Randy Caparoso
May 3, 2018 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi's ZinFest Wine Festival is about far more than Zinfandel

ZinFest Cooking School guest chef/sommelier Lauren Rose O'Leary

Plethora of Uniquely "Lodi" Wines

It’s called “ZinFest,” but make no mistake: Lodi’s ZinFest Wine Festival – taking place Saturday, May 19, 2018 at bucolic Lodi Lake Park (12:00-5:00 PM) – is about far more than Zinfandel.
Dozens of wineries will be pouring over 200 different wines; including the light, fragrant, zesty styles of dry whites and rosés for which the region is becoming increasingly known...
  Continue »

May 1, 2018 |

In the Name of Zin

Lodi winegrower Pieter den Hartog rescued a stray dog and named him Zin.

Lodi proudly proclaims to be the Zinfandel capital of the world.

And rightly so.

The Lodi American Viticultural Area is responsible for producing roughly 40 percent of California’s premium Zinfandel.

People in Lodi show their Zinfandel pride in several ways.

Pets, license plates, the city’s largest annual wine festival and even a local restaurant are named in honor of a winegrape that has been part of the fabric of Lodi for more than 100 years.

  Continue »


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

Have a question? Complete our contact form.