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
August 30, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Just picked: one of Lodi’s top Zinfandel vineyards and last of Bechthold Cinsaut

One of the “meticulous” women picking Stellina Zinfandel

“I was on fire when I woke up this morning,” says Jillian Johnson, the owner/winemaker of Onesta Wines.  On Friday, August 30, Ms. Johnson was the last of the slate of stellar winemakers to pick Cinsaut grapes from Bechthold Vineyard, the Lodi AVA‘s oldest vineyard (originally planted by Joseph Spenker in 1886).  “I’m always stoked the day I pick Bechthold,” says Johnson.  “Year in and year out, this vineyard performs no matter what, giving us beautiful, balanced fruit.  It was a great day when Mother Nature first gave us Bechthold.”  Johnson, in fact, has been working with Bechthold  longer than any of the winemakers currently sourcing from this venerated growth (since 2004, when she was the winemaker for Bonny Doon Vineyard)

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Time Posted: Aug 30, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Randy Caparoso
August 26, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi Road Trip Contest: win a Weekend Getaway for 2 at luxurious Wine & Roses Hotel!


The 2013 Lodi Road Trip begins September 1 and ends on the 30th.  Are you ready to ramble through the ripening grapes?  Yes, this also takes place during the time of year when wine grapes are being harvested, so you’ll be able to see many wineries in action:  grizzled, bleary eyed pickers, cellarers and vignerons…  the sweet smell of crushed fruit and oak barrels… maybe even the chance to jump in and do some punch-downs (i.e. pushing down the cap of skins and seeds in fermenting red wine vats) — safer than juggling chainsaws and sure as heck good on the upper body!

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Time Posted: Aug 26, 2013 at 11:15 AM
Randy Caparoso
August 23, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

2013 harvest continues (Kerner, Albariño, and Cinsaut from Lodi’s oldest vineyard)

Borra Vineyards picks Kerner grapes this past week

Yesterday (August 21, 2013) Borra Vineyards picked their Kerner grapes, which are grown by Brett Koth at his family’s Mokelumne Glen Vineyards, tucked into the tip of the Mokelumne River’s “Peninsula” (where the river bends into an upside-down u-shape, on the east side of the Mokelumne River AVA).  The Lodi AVA‘s Mokelumne Glen, for the record, cultivates the most extensive collection of German and Austrian grapes (over 40 varieties, whites and reds) on the entire West Coast.

Kerner, in case you’re also wondering, is a white wine grape of German origin – a crossing of Riesling and another grape called Trollinger.  Borra’s crafty winemaker, Markus Niggli, blends Kerner with smaller percentages of Riesling (also grown by the Koths) to produce a fantastically crisp, light, dry and lemony/minerally/apple-fresh white wine under the winery’s “Artist” label.  We recently named the 2012 Borra Artist Series Lodi White Wine ($18) as one of the 10 Most Interesting Wines of Lodi.

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Time Posted: Aug 23, 2013 at 11:06 AM
Randy Caparoso
August 15, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

How to taste wine, and separate cinnamon from clove, women from the men, etc.

Wines at Lodi ZinFest

Wine tasting, as most people would tell you, can be difficult (please see Wine 101:  tasting and talking).  But here’s one thing most wine experts agree on:  women make better wine tasters than men.

A lot of it is cultural:  more women than men, to begin with, cook meals in kitchens, and being able to distinguish smells – which in foods and wines are what constitute “flavor” – is key to being able to cook well.  Many men, of course, also cook well (needless to say, most restaurant chefs are males).  Thus, many men taste wine just as well as women.

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Time Posted: Aug 15, 2013 at 10:57 AM
Randy Caparoso
August 12, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

LangeTwins kicks off 2013 harvest with picking of Sauvignon Musqué

One of the LangeTwins Family harvester crews, just finishing the midnight-to-dawn picking

Last week Friday and Saturday (August 9-10), LangeTwins Family Winery & Vineyards kicked off their 2013 harvest in Lodi by picking their 50-acre Jahant Rd. vineyard planted to Sauvignon Musqué – a clonal variant of Sauvignon Blanc that produces more flowery, less herbaceous white wines than other varieties of Sauvignon Blanc.

The LangeTwins Family Lodi Sauvignon Musqué has recently emerged as one of the region’s finest white wines:  always scintillatingly crisp, fragrant and bone-dry, with a lemony lightness that makes you want to jump on a plane to Hawai`i and devour all the tropical fish you can (in lieu of that, of course, you can always enjoy Dungeness crab, lemon squeezed abalone or pan fried brook trout here on the West Coast – all perfectly delicious matches for this classic dry white).

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Time Posted: Aug 12, 2013 at 10:53 AM
Randy Caparoso
August 7, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Michael David picks 2013 Chardonnay (early spring leads to one of Lodi’s earliest harvests)

2013 Chardonnay picked at Phillips Farms’ Bare Ranch

This past Monday, August 5 Lodi’s Phillips Farms (the agricultural arm of Michael David Winery) began its second week of harvest 2013 with a picking of Chardonnay at their Bare Ranch property on Woodbridge Rd.  “In my lifetime,” says Kevin Phillips, the Phillips family’s VP of Operations and vineyard manager, “2013 is only the second time we ever started picking in July… the first time was in 2003.”

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Time Posted: Aug 7, 2013 at 10:48 AM
Randy Caparoso
August 1, 2013 | Randy Caparoso

Having a “Dream” International Albarino Day (August 3)

Albarino in Bokisch Ranches’ Vista Luna Vineyard

TAPAS – the Tempranillo Advocates Producers & Amigos Society – has announced that this Saturday, August 3, 2013 will be the second International Albariño Day, during which wine lovers around the world are encouraged to show a bottle of Albariño some love, while sharing the experience via Twitter with the hashtag #AlbarinoFiesta .

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Time Posted: Aug 1, 2013 at 10:42 AM