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
July 30, 2015 | Randy Caparoso

What makes Lodi special? For Stuart Spencer, it's heroic vines and people

St. Amant's Stuart Spencer with 2014 Marian's Vineyard Zinfandel harvest

In part 2 of our series addressing the question of what makes the Lodi Viticultural Area special, we turn to Stuart Spencer, winemaker/owner of St. Amant Winery.

Is there any winery more respected by other Lodi winemakers and growers than St. Amant? Founded in 1979 by Barbara and the late Tim Spencer (Stuart Spencer’s parents), St. Amant has remained pre-eminent in the Lodi winegrowing community while retaining its original, unpretentious identity.

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Randy Caparoso
July 28, 2015 | Randy Caparoso

What makes Lodi special? According to Craig Rous, it's

Craig Rous among his 106-year-old Rous Vineyard vines

Craig Rous among his 106-year-old Rous Vineyard Zinfandel vines

Over the next two weeks we will feature words from a few winemakers and growers, speaking out on one subject: what makes Lodi special.

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Randy Caparoso
July 20, 2015 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi's stoned dry, soulful rosés

Bechthold Vineyard Cinsaut (ancient vines planted in 1886) during July 2015 veraison; source of some of the finest roses in California

Summer, as many Lodi wine lovers well know, is the time for backyards brimming with tinkles and laughter, hovering hummingbirds, and the pungently earthy scent of golden paellas or the wispy gray smoke of grilling vegetables and marinated white or red meats; the heat bending the optics of multi-colored flora through the dappled shades and blinding rays of sun penetrating through the typically towering trees nourished by our fertile Delta soil.

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Randy Caparoso
July 12, 2015 | Randy Caparoso

Are we brainwashed by wine prices and ratings?

The non-existent connection between quality and price

How much of what we perceive or think about wine is a mind trick - much less real than we may suspect?

Naturally, here in Lodi – where average bottle prices tend to be slightly lower than that of other wine regions because of a number of circumstances, beginning with grape prices – we have reason to dwell on this question. In our case: How much of what consumers (as well as critics and wine industry professionals) think of Lodi wines is real, and how much is simply unfounded perception?

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Randy Caparoso
July 7, 2015 | Randy Caparoso

How warm (or cool) is Lodi?


Taking Lodi’s temperature over the past century 

There are things about the Lodi Viticultural Area that are not exactly common knowledge among wine lovers.

The growing of wine grapes in this Delta region, for instance, dates back to the 1860s. Yet Lodi is still considered an “up and coming” wine region. Fair enough. Although Lodi is easily the largest wine grape growing region in the U.S. in terms of acreage (table grapes and raisins play almost no role in Lodi’s viticultural industry), top quality varietal wines that say “Lodi” on the label didn’t actually appear in the market until the late 1990s. In that sense, Lodi is very up and coming.


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Randy Caparoso
July 3, 2015 | Randy Caparoso

Sensible wines for summer barbecues

Lodi's Jon Bjork grilling up some Korean style short ribs

Who doesn’t associate summer with barbecue? It’s an American thing, but you might also consider it a return to primal instincts. “Ugh, me Tarzan, you Jane, we smoke ribs and drink Zinfandel tonight.”

Over the years we have gathered perfectly intellectual thoughts on the art of enjoying barbecues with wine. Not. It’s really more of a sensory thing – you feel what are the best wines for different barbecues, you don’t think it.

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Randy Caparoso
July 1, 2015 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi son cooks Hawaiian inspired lunch with Acquiesce wines

What happens when a young, curious, forward-thinking, Lodi raised chef, after rigorous training under one of Hawai`i’s most renowned chefs, is given the opportunity to create a menu to match the wines of the Lod Viticultural Area’s Acquiesce Winery?

Summery hot, fun, culinary fireworks, of course!

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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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