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
December 29, 2020 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi 2020: The year in pictures

In the December fog of 2020, an old, dilapidated water tower among old vines on the west side of Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA.

2020 has been a difficult year everywhere in the world, and the challenges will continue in 2021. 

Yet in Lodi wine country, to paraphrase Louis Armstrong's famous song, it's still been a wonderful world. Bare vines turning green, blooms giving birth to luscious fruit, fruit turned into wines everybody loves, and vines tucking back in for another winter's rest. In 2020, as in all years, it's been a joy to photograph the entire process.

Better yet, the cycle begins again, no matter what the circumstances. No wonder hope springs eternal!

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Randy Caparoso
December 27, 2020 | Randy Caparoso

The small steps of Lodi growers led to giant leaps for Lodi wine country

During 2020 Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel harvest, two "big-name out of towner" winemakers (Turley's Tegan Passalacqua followed by Precedent's Nathan Kandler) who have been attracting media attention

It's been a quiet year for all of the West Coast wine regions. A pandemic will do that for you. The 2020 California wildfires were absolutely no help.

There were no wildfires in the areas immediately around Lodi, but the 2020 harvest was conducted largely under cover of a smoky, sky high dome...

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Randy Caparoso
December 22, 2020 | Randy Caparoso

Looking on the bright side of fading old vine plantings in Lodi

In mid-December 2020, dried discarded Zinfandel cluster in wintering Marian's Vineyard

2020 will be a forgettable year for many of us. All the same, I think most of us, being the human creatures that we are, will continue to look on the bright side of things.

Here in Lodi wine country, over the past two months we have been celebrating heritage plantings through our Save the Old campaign. The objective has been to increase awareness of one part of Lodi's wine culture that is, sadly, dying out. In need of saving...

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Randy Caparoso
December 17, 2020 | Randy Caparoso

Our list of nice Lodi reds, rosés and fortified dessert wines for Christmas gifting and sipping

In 1914 the City of Lodi set up an impressive-sized Christmas tree right in the middle of Pine St., next to the landmark Lodi Arch

Lodi wines are pretty darned good. Many of us know that, and many still don't. 

Some magazines, not all, have also been coming to a conclusion in the affirmative. This past year, for instance, the internationally read Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Lodi's Michael David Winery its 2020 American Winery of the Year. Let's put that in perspective: In the most recent Statista report, the number of wineries operating in the U.S. is quoted as "almost 11,000," nearly half of them in California. Therefore, at least one major wine magazine thinks a Lodi winery ranks among the best of some 10,999 other wineries. Not too shabby...

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Randy Caparoso
December 15, 2020 | Randy Caparoso

A Lodi white makes the world's Top 100 list, and other Lodi whites for Christmas shopping and sipping

Klinker Brick's Grenache Blanc, sourced from Ripken Vineyards Grenache blanc grapes (in this photo), has cracked the list of the world's Top 100 wines!

Here in the second week of December the big news out of Lodi wine country is this: the 2019 Klinker Brick Winery Lodi Grenache Blanc ($15) has been rated among the 2020 Wine Spectator Top 100 Sweepstakes!

"Each year since 1988," you can read in the magazine, "Wine Spectator has released its Top 100 list, where our editors select the most exciting wines from the thousands we reviewed during the course of the year."

Klinker Brick's Grenache Blanc was rated #94 out of the "Top 100." You may think that this is not so high, but think again: Out of the 100 best wines selected by this magazine in 2020, only 22 of them were grown in the U.S. The rest were from other wine regions around the world. This really means that the world's most widely read wine magazine believes that Klinker Brick's latest Grenache Blanc deserves to be ranked as one of the "Top 22" wines out of all the American wines—from California, Oregon, Washington, New York... every state in the Union—released over the past year. Wow...

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Randy Caparoso
December 3, 2020 | Randy Caparoso

The original Lodi Natives — the Plains Miwok

Early 1800s illustration of indigenous Plains Miwok, known for practicing body painting and tatooing

The original populace in the area we now know as the Lodi Viticultural Area were, of course, Native, or Indigenous, Americans. Who were they? 

Perhaps a better question: Where were these people by the time the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo — ending the Mexican-American War and turning Alta California over to the United States — was signed on February 2, 1848? Why were their lands free for the taking in the years immediately following the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, also in 1848, which unleashed a tsunami of settlers eager to put down roots in this new American state (California was admitted into the Union on September 8, 1850)?

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Lodi Wine Visitor Center
2545 West Turner Road Lodi, CA 95242
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