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
June 26, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Culinary yin and yang of Hawaiian cuisine and Lodi wines

Hawaiian hukilau, or "pull" fishing (classic S.S. Lurline menu cover by Eugene Savage)

Lodi may be somewhat of an old fashioned farming community; but one thing everyone here knows: Lodi folks get out. Many of our successful farmers and vintners, in fact, are out and about every summer – exploring every nook and cranny of the world.

When in Rome, as they say, we do as Romans do – including eat, and drink, and hang around outdoor cafés from early afternoons to the wee hours of the morning.

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Randy Caparoso
June 21, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

International Wine Review gives Lodi Zinfandel its due respect

This past February 2017, International Wine Review's Mike Potashnik (third from left) and Don Winkler (fifth from left) meet with Lodi Native growers and winemakers; including (from left) Jeff Perlegos, Ryan Sherman, Chad Joseph, Layne Montgomery (with dog), Stuart Spencer, Tin Holdener, Mike McCay and John Perlegos

Zinfandel is not the only grape in which the Lodi Viticultural Area excels. But it has always remained the region's signature grape.

It is also a measure of Lodi’s standing in the world of Zinfandel that out of the seven days that the editors of the widely read International Wine Review spent in California this past February 2017, gathering material for a double-issue (released earlier this month) devoted completely to California Zinfandel, they set aside a full two days to research Zinfandel in Lodi. Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (a.k.a. ZAP) also played a major part in organizing the magazine's California visit...

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Randy Caparoso
June 18, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Stunning beauty through the eyes of Lodi photographer Dena Marquez

Ancient, noble oak and vines (Jessie's Grove Carignan, planted in 1890s) memorialized by Lodi's Dena Marquez

My heart is drenched in wine...
- Norah Jones

To see the world of Lodi wine country through the lens of Lodi photographer Dena Marquez is to experience an unbridled enthusiasm and ardor for the natural elements that make Lodi Lodi.

Consequently, the colors in Ms. Marquez’s particular style of photography seem to spring from their surfaces like the fragrances of fruit driven wines (Lodi style wines) leaping from the glass. White clouds in blue skies become irrepresible, somersaulting acrobats. Sonorous sunsets are like dramatic endings to musical scores. Yellows in wild mustard chirp like newborn chicks. Lichen crusted old vines are like old men with wizened, wine stained hands, sitting in dark rooms, murmuring about vintages long past or forgotten...

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Randy Caparoso
June 15, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi’s sophisticated dry rosés (or, the perfect way to beat the heat)

Glasses and glasses of Lodi rosé (image courtesy of Robin Black Photography)

Oh, it’s that time of year again – when red balls of mercury are shooting up to alarming notches above 100.

Lodi wine country’s sea of vines, if you haven’t noticed, has also been growing at a rampant pace this past spring. Out in the fields, curly tendriled canes seem to be striving for elephant eye heights, with lobed leaves looking downright tropical in size and, well, greenness. Biblical winter rains will do that to a wine region...

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Randy Caparoso
June 5, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

Riaza's unorthodox interpretation of Lodi grown fruit

Riaza Wines winemaker/co-owner Rick Taylor

First things first: Riaza Wines is different from other Lodi based wineries.

The back-story, perhaps, may not be so different: A young couple sharing a love of wine travel to Spain (finding a little town called Riaza, as it were), fall in love with the culture and gastronomy, and come home determined to produce their own Spanish inspired wines...

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Randy Caparoso
June 1, 2017 | Randy Caparoso

The Gnarly Head conundrum (can mechanically harvested head trained vines meet growing demand for Lodi Zinfandel?)

Delicato Family Vineyards viticulturist Bud Bradley, with 1940s-era head trained, extended spur Zinfandel in Lodi's Kramer Vineyard (the original inspiration behind their Gnarly Head program)

Although the Lodi Viticultural Area is becoming increasingly well known for its wide range of grapes and varietal wine types, the region’s single most important ambassador remains the classic Zinfandel grape, now produced primarily as a red wine (as the popularity of fruity, pink colored “White Zinfandel” continues to wane).

Lodi grown Zinfandel, of course, is also associated with the region’s thousands of acres of “old vine” plantings – largely planted between the 1890s (the oldest) and 1970s. The best selling bottling by Delicato Family Vineyards (i.e. DFV) – sold under their Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel label – is based upon the meager yet intensely flavorful fruits of these phenomenally wizened, gnarled, head trained, spur pruned vines; most of them planted on their own rootstocks in the rich yet porous (Tokay) sandy loam soils defining the historic Mokelumne River AVA, surrounding the City of Lodi...

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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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