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
October 30, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Tom Hoffman goes against the grain at Heritage Oak


Tom Hoffman doing his canoe paddle punch-downs

Like his wines, Heritage Oak Winery’s Tom Hoffman has never been one for hyperbole or false deprecation:  he just says it like it is; and if it makes sense, that’s the way he does it.

One thing you can always depend upon when enjoying a Lodi grown Heritage Oak wine:  it will taste pretty much like the grapes it is made from, along with the vintage conditions shaping its sensations...

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Randy Caparoso
October 25, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

At Peirano, the power of believing – and the famous Red Shorts


Lance Randolph & his famous Red Shorts

As of Thursday, October 25, 2012, there are still grapes to be picked in Lodi, despite the dark weather and downpour at the start of the past week.

Meanwhile, the memo came in Monday (October 22) from Peirano Estate Vineyards, a property originally planted by an Italian immigrant named Giacomo Peirano in the 1890s:  Lance Randolph – Giacomo’s descendent, and current Peirano winemaker/owner – has taken off his red shorts!  Wrote Mr. Randolph...

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Randy Caparoso
October 23, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Silvaspoons Souzão picked for the prestigious R label


Ron Silva examining his tiny clustered 2012 Souzao

“It will be a European style vintage for the Souzão this year,” says Ron Silva.  While picking his Souzão grapes in his Silvaspoons Vineyards in Lodi’s Alta Mesa AVA last week Thursday (October 18), Mr. Silva elaborated on one of the peculiarities of the 2012 vintage...

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Randy Caparoso
October 18, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Viñedos Aurora’s 2010 reds are ripped & rich as a box of chocolates


Vinedos Aurora's Gerardo Espinosa field sorting Petite Sirah

Last week Thursday (October 11) Viñedos Aurora – on the western edge of Lodi’s Clements Hills AVA, near the little town of Lockeford – began their 2012 harvest, starting with their Petite Sirah, followed (two days later) by their estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon...

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Randy Caparoso
October 16, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Phillips Farms finishing up on “phenomenal” 2012 harvest


Kevin Phillips with his Jahant Vineyard Petite Sirah

If you’ve seen Kevin Phillips – Michael David Winery’s VP of Operations, and sixth generation Lodi farmer – walking around lately, you probably noticed a big smile on his face.  Like he’s just inhaled one of Phillips Farms’ surrealistic-pillowy grape pies, or taken in a fresh load of aromatic compost (hey, so Lodi farmers have slightly different predilections).

But what’s actually gotten Mr. Phillips turned on is Lodi’s 2012 wine grape harvest, which he’s calling “phenomenal.”  Mind you, farmers are by nature glass-half-empty types – dealing with the harsh realities regularly dished out by Mother Nature comes with the territory – and so words like phenomenal are indeed seldom heard...

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Randy Caparoso
October 11, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

New stars, music & winemaking 101 courses at Lodi’s Estate Crush



What Lodi AVA winery produces and sells no less than 65 different wines each year – the vast majority of these wines farmed by longtime Lodi growers?  The answer, of course, would be Estate Crush, located at the corner of Downtown Lodi’s W. Lockeford and N. Sacramento streets.

Estate Crush is actually a state-of-the-art custom crush facility specializing in small lot production for both boutique sized wineries (based in and outside of Lodi) and a number of Lodi growers turning tiny percentages of their grapes into wines sold under commercial brands of their own...

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Randy Caparoso
October 8, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Perfect day for wine & gazing at LoCA Uncorked


Macchia's Lani Holdener and Tanya McMahon at LoCA Uncorked

Businessmen they drink my wine
Plowmen dig my earth…
- Bob Dylan

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Randy Caparoso
October 5, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

McCay makes early call: 2012 Zinfandels could be Lodi’s best ever!


McCay's 2012 Truluck's Zinfandel harves

It’s always good news when a Lodi AVA winemaker makes good:  on a wine list in an hoity-toity restaurant like The Kitchen in Sacramento, or in the effusive columns of discriminating critics like San Francisco Chronicle’s Jon Bonné, who recently wrote...

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Randy Caparoso
October 2, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Sunset’s Zone 14: all the reason to attend LoCA Uncorked (October 6 on Treasure Island)


Walkin', talkin' Lodi: third generation grower/vintners Steve and Beverly Borra (left) with St. Amant's Barbara Spencer and The Lucas Winery's David Lucas

I feel a change coming on…
- Dickey Betts (Allman Brothers’ Pony Boy)

If you have not yet properly introduced yourself to the world of Lodi wines, you might seriously consider attending LoCA Uncorked – The Best of Lodi California Wines, taking place this Saturday, October 6, 1-5 PM (starting at 12 PM for trade and media) on beautiful Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay...

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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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