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 27, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi's Lange family emerges as one of California's leading specialists in Italian varietals

Dropped Nero d'Avola in LangeTwins Family's Redtail Vineyard, Lodi's Jahant AVA.

How does a fourth and fifth generation-operated Lodi grower with roots traced back to Germany end up as one of California's leading producers of premium quality Italian varietals?

It's all about the climate, says David Akiyoshi, the head co-winemaker (with Karen Birmingham) of LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards. "We've gravitated to Italian varieties because we discovered that these are the types of grapes that can ripen with maximum flavors in Lodi's Mediterranean climate," says Akiyoshi, "yet at the same time they ripen at moderate sugar levels, and across the board, they retain great natural acidity..."

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Time Posted: May 27, 2021 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Lodi's Lange family emerges as one of  California's leading specialists in Italian varietals Permalink
Randy Caparoso
May 20, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Unique rosés and rosé-food affinities we have known and loved

Cinsaut clusters in Lodi's venerated Bechthold Vineyard, originally planted in 1886 and still producing one of the most unique and marvelously expressive dry style rosés in the entire world

There is something about a rosé that keeps a wine lover humble. It is made from black-skinned grapes, the same types of grapes that produce red wines — the kinds of wines that make casual wine lovers go ooh and the most pretentious of connoisseurs go aah.

Yet rosé, as fine as it can be, is never an ooh-aah wine. You might sip and savor it in discreet draughts, like any fine wine, but in the end it is a wine that compels you to enjoy it without a second thought. Maybe it's the pinkish color that invites such non-intellectualizing pursuit. We drink rosés like white wines — with a good chill, or even on ice (on the hottest days) — yet even white wines often invite more serious contemplation/...

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Time Posted: May 20, 2021 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Unique rosés and rosé-food affinities we have known and loved Permalink
Randy Caparoso
May 17, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

It's okay to love Chardonnay

Delectable Chardonnay clusters in Lodi's Bare Ranch, west side of Mokelumne River AVA

Sorting out the misperceptions

Please excuse the title of this post. No one who loves Chardonnay need ever apologize for harboring a hankering for this varietal, the world's best selling white wine of any sort for going on 30 years. When it comes to wine, or anything of an artistic nature (art, music, literature, fashion, even cars!), you rule your own roost. To heck with what anyone else says.

Reading about Chardonnay in books, magazines or online, however, invariably reminds you of the old adage: Don't believe everything you read.

In a surprising number of places, for instance, you read that Chardonnay is a "neutral" grape. Probably because the grape is grown all over the world and has adapted to many different types of terroirs (i.e., growing conditions strongly influencing the way grapes, and ultimately wines, turn out), and therefore appears to be something of a malleable variety. "Malleable," however, is not a synonym for "neutral..." 

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Time Posted: May 17, 2021 at 8:00 AM Permalink to It's okay to love Chardonnay Permalink
Randy Caparoso
May 13, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Hibachi salmon and all three colors of Lodi-grown Grenache perfectly fill May's sultry evening hours

Old vine Grenache, planted in 1938-1939, just entering veraison in Manassero Vineyard, Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA

The weather here in Lodi wine country is warming up. The days are long enough to enjoy the local farmers markets up until the late-evening sunsets (already past 8:00 PM!), and guess what: It's time to dust off the grills for outdoor dining!

Barbecuing, of course, doesn't have to be the usual steaks or smoked meats — or in Lodi's case, varieties of gourmet sausages from our famous, local Lockeford Meats and Sausage (where lines, which are always out the door, start to wind around the block once the barbecue season begins). The perfect, heart-healthy fish for grilling is fresh salmon...

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Time Posted: May 13, 2021 at 8:00 AM Permalink to Hibachi salmon and all three colors of Lodi-grown Grenache perfectly fill May's sultry evening hours Permalink
Randy Caparoso
May 7, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi grapevines during the merry, merry month of May

Shoot thinning of trellised Zinfandel in Phillips Farms on west side of Mokelumne River-Lodi AVA

What is happening out in Lodi vineyards today, during the merry, merry month of May? Pretty much the same as in most of California's vaunted wine regions, since vineyard growth patterns in Lodi mirror all but the most extreme regions of California (more extreme examples being the tiny pockets of ultra-cool climate zones in Santa Barbara, nosebleed ridgetops in Mendocino or Santa Cruz Mountains, or super-hot regions like Kern County).

But in moderate regions like Lodi, Sonoma County, Napa Valley, Livermore Valley, or most of San Luis Obispo County — all sharing the commonality of a coastal Mediterranean climate — shoot growth on grapevines is currently somewhere between 1 to 4-feet in length, and pushing out further at a rate of about an inch a day...

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Time Posted: May 7, 2021 at 7:00 AM Permalink to Lodi grapevines during the merry, merry month of May Permalink
Randy Caparoso
May 4, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Oh lord, a blog from Lodi! (revisited)

Mohr-Fry Ranches' Jerry Fry (left) in the mid-1960s with fresh-picked Flame Tokay, grown in a vineyard that has gone on to produce red wines that have garnered "Best of Class" awards in the most recent San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competitions

On August 9, 2010 we posted our very first blog on this page,, entitled Oh lord, a blog from Lodi. The following is a rewrite, which entails a few thoughts and observations accumulated over the past ten and a half years...

By now you've heard that Lodi is more than just a song (point of fact: After he wrote his famous (Stuck in) LodiCreedence Clearwater Revival's John Fogerty admitted he'd never visited this historic California town, but that he simply came across it and thought it had "the coolest sounding name")...

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Time Posted: May 4, 2021 at 3:00 PM Permalink to Oh lord, a blog from Lodi! (revisited) Permalink

Lodi Wine Visitor Center
2545 West Turner Road Lodi, CA 95242
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