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
November 30, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

The many faces of Lodi in 2012 (part 2)

Petite Sirah harvest in Vinedos Aurora's home ranch

There is strength and perseverance in Lodi faces — borne out of long hours under the sun, or when pinched by wintry chill — as well as wisdom and the signs of sheer joy that that are part and parcel of the Delta‘s main industry:  wine grapes.

In 2012 the Lodi American Viticultural Area took another giant leap in the world of fine wine, topped off by a harvest that may have been the region’s best ever:  grapes ripening under perfect, trouble-free conditions, and in sufficient enough quantities to allow prolonged, steady maturation (during years when  yields are cut short by poor spring sets or spotty autumn weather, grapes tend to ripen either too rapidly or not at all)...

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Time Posted: Nov 30, 2012 at 6:31 PM Permalink to The many faces of Lodi in 2012 (part 2) Permalink
Randy Caparoso
November 27, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

East side, west side, Lodi Zinfandels getting around the block


Beach blanket Zinfandel: November in Noma Ranch’s dry farmed planting on the east side of Lodi where the soils are the sandiest and deepest

Part 2 of our autumn paen to Zinfandel (starting with Lodi Zinfandel's transitioning styles and food moxie):

In 1991, some 600 of Lodi’s grape growers came together to form the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission (since shortened to Lodi Winegrape Commission). At that point in time, according to the Commission’s former Executive Director, Mark Chandler, “The trade and consumers viewed Lodi as a jug wine region, despite the fact that even then we were the largest producer of premium quality wine grapes in the state, which we still are.”

Today wine bottles bearing the Lodi appellation are seen on retail shelves and fine dining restaurant wine lists across the nation, and it is no longer a surprise when Lodi wines win double-golds and even “Best of Show” accolades in tasting competitions involving thousands of wines from other American wine regions...

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Time Posted: Nov 27, 2012 at 4:33 PM Permalink to East side, west side, Lodi Zinfandels getting around the block Permalink
Randy Caparoso
November 25, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

The many faces of Lodi in 2012 (part 1)

One Man Pruning Team

One man winter pruning team, on Lodi's west side

As we approach the end of another auspicious year in Lodi‘s wine country, it is as good a time as any to revisit the first half of 2012 with some of our favorite images of the people who are making this American Viticultural Area what it is:  one of the most exciting (no longer just one of the most prolific) winegrowing regions in the world...

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Time Posted: Nov 25, 2012 at 4:41 PM Permalink to The many faces of Lodi in 2012 (part 1) Permalink
Randy Caparoso
November 21, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Memories of The First Sip 2011

Memories of The First Sip 2011

Another First Sip in Lodi has come and gone! There were some memorable moments, during this annual harvest celebration this past November 12-13, when wine lovers can go around visiting over 40 of Lodi’s finest vignerons and taste unbottled samples of their latest vintages — including just picked 2011s. Born and raised here in the Delta, Dee Yates of Dee Yates Photography has always had a keen eye and natural feel for Lodi’s wine country. Below is a photographic accounting by Ms. Yates, mixed in with shots taken by (Yates’ artistic expessions identified by her signature). Good times at…..

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Time Posted: Nov 21, 2012 at 6:04 PM Permalink to Memories of The First Sip 2011 Permalink
Randy Caparoso
November 20, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi Zinfandel’s transitioning styles & unbeatable food-moxie


Classic old vine Zinfandel: Soucie Vineyard, planted in 1916 in the super-sandy loam soil of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA

This is the first of three consecutive parts of an autumn paen to Zinfandel. That is, Lodi‘s special Zinfandels…

Not too long ago, when people said “Zinfandel,” they usually meant something pink and sweet. But those days are gone; and aside from Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, virtually no winery in Lodi makes a (now) old fashioned, fruity White Zinfandel. Zinfandel is back to being a red wine, period.

The styles of Zinfandel, however, have undergone a few transitions since the White Zinfandel craze. Before Zinfandel became pink, varietal bottlings of red Zinfandel tended to be fairly light, soft in tannin, and fairly zesty with prickly acidity. 13% alcohol was considered “big,” and the grape was associated with traditional producers of the day, like Louis Martini and Sebastiani...

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Time Posted: Nov 20, 2012 at 4:58 PM Permalink to Lodi Zinfandel’s transitioning styles & unbeatable food-moxie Permalink
Randy Caparoso
November 15, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

The Phillips family’s turkey day run & killer chestnut stuffing


Holiday strutters at Phillips Farms

“We are not very exciting when it comes to Thanksgiving,” says David Phillips, co-owner and president of Lodi’s Michael David Winery.

Instead, what Mr. Phillips does – together with his wife Corene, and two sons Connor and Joseph – is wake up early every Thanksgiving morning, and hit the pavement in the Run and Walk Against Hunger in Downtown Stockton, benefitting the Stockton/San Joaquin Emergency Food Bank.  Par for the course for a family who also enjoys skiing, mountain biking, and competing in triathlons together.

Then after this year’s Thanksgiving run, they will go home and prepare a $700 turkey...

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Time Posted: Nov 15, 2012 at 5:07 PM Permalink to The Phillips family’s turkey day run & killer chestnut stuffing Permalink
Randy Caparoso
November 13, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Lange family Thanksgiving & wild rice


Thanksgiving table at the Langes'

“All happy families are alike,” wrote Tolstoy.  In this day and age, even the happiest and closest knit of families end up varying their Thanksgiving celebrations – that’s just the way it is, even in Lodi wine country...

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Time Posted: Nov 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM Permalink to Lange family Thanksgiving & wild rice Permalink
Randy Caparoso
November 7, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

New, exciting, even strange brews at m2 Wines


Layne Montgomery with artist's depiction of future m2 estate

For the past eight years, the compelling quality of m2 Wines has been all the impetus Lodi wine lovers have needed to beat a path to winemaker/proprietor Layne Montgomery’s unadorned warehouse/winery, on the far eastern side of town along Turner Rd.

Nonetheless, Montgomery thinks it’s high time that he makes a move into a “real winery.”  Thus, Montgomery and his original group of partners and investors have announced plans to break ground – as early as this December, if weather and permitting goes well – for a new m2 estate on a triangular 17 acre site south of Peltier Rd., just west of Hwy. 99 along the railroad tracks...

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Time Posted: Nov 7, 2012 at 11:23 AM Permalink to New, exciting, even strange brews at m2 Wines Permalink
Randy Caparoso
November 1, 2012 | Randy Caparoso

Get into holiday spirit with LoCA by helping with Lodi Community Food Drive


Holiday squash at Michael David Winery

‘Tis the season to give thanks and praise for everything we are fortunate to be blessed with in our lives:  family, friends, a caring community, and — especially for Lodi — the generosity of the 2012 wine grape harvest (a truly rare combination of exceptional quality and crop size)...

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Time Posted: Nov 1, 2012 at 11:34 AM Permalink to Get into holiday spirit with LoCA by helping with Lodi Community Food Drive 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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