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
September 30, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

What six visiting wine influencers are saying about Lodi

Six visiting wine influencers with Calhoun & Company's Katie Calhoun (center) in Phillips Farms' Bare Ranch on Lodi's west side, they they helped pick 2021 Primitivo.

Last week (September 19-22, 2021) Lodi growers and vintners hosted six wine influencers in a 3-day study of the Lodi wine region.

Sometimes it helps to ask someone what they think moments after their experience. Said one of the influencers, L.A.'s Elle Rodriguez, in a video/message transmitted while waiting to leave at Sacramento International Airport: “Omigosh, I'm shocked... Lodi is such a gem."

Upon further thought, Rodriguez added: "Lodi has all the right vibes. If you are into good people, great wine, authentic experiences, this is the place for you. It’s not at all corporate. The winemakers are hands-on. You see stains under their fingernails, and an absence of Rolexes. If this sounds like your kind of experience, come to Lodi before the word gets out..."

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Time Posted: Sep 30, 2021 at 7:00 AM Permalink to What six visiting wine influencers are saying about Lodi Permalink
Randy Caparoso
September 24, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

The fresh grape packing action (for the nation's home winemakers) in Lodi vineyards

Old vine Carignan, field-packed by Lodi's M & R Company, decked out with a vintage Sabor e Ducura (Portuguese for "Flavor and Sweetness") crate label, and headed out to home winemakers across the country and in Canada.

Every mid-September through early October, one of the common sights in vineyards in Lodi is pickers loading grapes into 40-pound lug boxes. Next to the vines, the pickers weigh each lug box on scales in order to be as precise as possible. At the edge of the vineyards, on the side of the road, the lugs are then emptied into colorful wooden boxes by grape packers. 

Each crate — filled with grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel or Carignan — is sealed with a curved wooden top, and the boxes are bundled together with steel strapping on 36-box pallets, before being loaded onto trucks...

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Time Posted: Sep 24, 2021 at 10:00 AM Permalink to The fresh grape packing action (for the nation's home winemakers) in Lodi vineyards Permalink
Randy Caparoso
September 16, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

More wine myths we have known

Do wine bottles need to be stored on their side or upright? We explore this and other common wine "myths."

The world is full of myths and legends. Why? Because, evidently, it's in our nature to be captivated by them. It's like in Peter Pan... "I do believe in fairies."

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Time Posted: Sep 16, 2021 at 12:00 PM Permalink to More wine myths we have known Permalink
Randy Caparoso
September 10, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

Three grapes of the moment during Lodi's 2021 harvest

Close-up of 2021 Carignan harvest in Lodi's Spenker Ranch, planted in 1900.

As we come into the middle of Lodi's 2021 wine grape harvest, it is as good a time as any to focus on three grapes that represent three sides of the Lodi winegrowing industry today:

• Innovation
• Tradition and history
• Terroir...

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Time Posted: Sep 10, 2021 at 12:00 PM Permalink to Three grapes of the moment during Lodi's 2021 harvest Permalink
Randy Caparoso
September 7, 2021 | Randy Caparoso

The meaning of brix and the start of Lodi's 2021 harvest

Harvest morning this past Saturday, September 4 in Lodi's historical Bechthold Vineyard, planted to Cinsaut in 1886.

Brix and alcohol levels in wines

The term Brix (also called Balling) is the name of the system for measuring sugar content in grapes, fermenting grape juices (musts) or finished wines developed by Adolph Brix in the early 1800s. Brix is credited with adding precision to the measurement of sugar content on a density scale known as Balling. 

Grape sugars have a direct impact on alcohol levels of wines and the resulting sense of body in the taste. Potential alcohol by volume (i.e., ABV) is typically calculated by multiplying Brix readings by .55. However, the reality is that conversion rates can be as high as .64, especially for grapes such as Zinfandel or Chardonnay that are known for uneven ripening (clusters with "hens-and-chicks"-sized berries), which usually results from millerandage or shot berries... 

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Time Posted: Sep 7, 2021 at 2:00 PM Permalink to The meaning of brix and the start of Lodi's 2021 harvest Permalink

Lodi Wine Visitor Center
2545 West Turner Road Lodi, CA 95242
Open: Daily 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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