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
December 31, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

Gotta luv Lodi Petite Sirah!

Michael David's award winning Petite Sirah

For dyed-in-the-wool red wine lovers, Petite Sirah is the Sara Lee of grapes – who doesn’t love it?

It makes big, yet round and comfortable red wines – think Gerard or Charlize throwing kisses from a down topped Tempu-Pedic mattress – satisfying the nose and touching every part of the mouth with its purple stained, pungent flavors that are ripe yet sturdy, more often than not suggesting baked blueberry pies with black pepper and brown stick spices.

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Time Posted: Dec 31, 2010 at 3:49 PM
Randy Caparoso
December 29, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

Tasting royal-tee at Jessie’s Grove

Jessie's Grove's Greg Burns with one of his ancient Carignane vines

When you stroll through the Royal Tee Vineyard belonging to Lodi’s Jessie’s Grove Winery, you literally brush up against history.  This 5 acre vineyard was originally planted by Joseph Spenker in 1889; so long ago, even American history buffs have trouble recalling who was president then (it was Benjamin Harrison).

Today, these majestic vines – twisting, whirling arms rising from tree-like trunks, like graceful, oversized bonsai – produce red wines that are emblematic of the recent growth of Lodi as a region known for ultra-premium wine growing: namely, Jesse’s Grove’s Ancient Vine Carignane and Royal Tee Zinfandel.

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Time Posted: Dec 29, 2010 at 3:46 PM
Randy Caparoso
December 24, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

McCay’s Truluck ways with Lodi zin

Michael McCay among 80 and 40 year old Truluck plantings

We read the news today, oh boy:  the 2007 McCay Cellars Jupiter Lodi Zinfandel ($24) was named among the TOP 100 Wines of 2010 by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The significance?  There are, after all, thousands upon thousands of wonderful wines produced around the world each year that don’t make prestigious top 100 lists.  More importantly, this is one of the first times a Lodi wine was conscientiously picked to be among an elite.  Sure, in recent years Lodi grown wines – especially our heritage Zinfandels – have stockpiled awards like golds, platinums, double-golds, double-platinums and occasional Best of Shows, but those have been circumstances under which mainstream wine judges (i.e. “experts”) were forced to recognize Lodi wines:  situations where the wines were tasted “blind” – the identities unbeknowst to the judges – and thereby circumventing the usual prejudices against wines produced in a place John Fogerty once castigated in song (although, years later, Mr. Fogerty revealed the fact that when he originally wrote Stuck in Lodi, he had never been to Lodi – he actually picked “Lodi” because he thought the name sounded “cool”).

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Time Posted: Dec 24, 2010 at 3:39 PM
Randy Caparoso
December 22, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

Zin, Langes, gumbo & Elvis sightings

A slice of Lodi’s Zinfandel past…

Elvis was always a dutiful child, and here everybody was thinking he’s wild…

– Jesse Winchester (Just Like New)

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Time Posted: Dec 22, 2010 at 3:34 PM
Randy Caparoso
December 14, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

The zin lovers’ last minute gift list

One more weekend to shop, but this is no time to panic…

What do you give a Zinfandel lover who has everything, has been there and done that?  It is possible to find something he (or she) would shout hallelujah! about in the early hours of Christmas morn; and that something would be something rare, highly individualistic (in terms of pure winemaking aesthetics), and yes, a bit of an expenditure (operative term:  “bit,” since even rare, higher priced Lodi wines are still such damned good values).

The following four gift ideas can be found at their respective wineries (visit their Web sites for hours); and so, dear zin shoppers, start your engines!

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Time Posted: Dec 14, 2010 at 3:30 PM
Randy Caparoso
December 13, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

M marks the spot for outrageous zins

Noma Ranch's old soldier vines are productive whether upright or prone...

A history of Zinfandel crystallizied by the old soldiers behind Macchia’s Outrageous…

However Yoda-like as it may sound, when Tim Holdener, winemaker/proprietor of Lodi’s Macchia Wines, talks about how he earned his reputation as a Lodi zin master, he likes to use the phrase,  “treat the vine like a man, and the wine like a woman.”

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Time Posted: Dec 13, 2010 at 3:27 PM
Randy Caparoso
December 11, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

It’s a wonderful life at Vino Farms

Coming in for a landing: the solar panels at Vino Farms' Grand Vin Lands vineyard

It’s mid-December, and who among us is not thinking about… It’s a Wonderful Life?  We sure were, last week when Chris Storm, Viticulturist for Lodi’s Vino Farms, took us through this vineyard management company’s showcase property:  grandly named Grand Vin Lands.

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Time Posted: Dec 11, 2010 at 3:23 PM
Randy Caparoso
December 6, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

Legend of the red shorts & immortal zin

It was on the last day of this past November when we met with Lance Randolph, owner/winemaker of Peirano Estate, one of Lodi’s original landmark wineries; located just off of Hwy. 99, south of Peltier.  Mr. Randolph, conspicuously, was wearing a warm flannel shirt and a clean pair of jeans rather than bright red shorts:  the latter accoutrement signaling, to the entire Lodi wine community, that harvest 2010 is now officially over.

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Time Posted: Dec 6, 2010 at 3:19 PM
Randy Caparoso
December 2, 2010 | Randy Caparoso

A Downtown Holiday Wine Walk

Oh come, oh come all ye wine lovers to Downtown Lodi, bring along your holiday guests while they’re still around, and celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with us at the Downtown Lodi Wine Walk!

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Time Posted: Dec 2, 2010 at 3:16 PM