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.
Ripken picks Sagrantino, another road-less-travelled grape
Richard "Rip" Ripken sampling his newly planted Sagrantino grapes
Early this morning (Thursday, September 10), Richard “Rip” Ripken was out in his 400-acre Guard Road Ranch picking his first crop of a grape called Sagrantino.
Sagrantino, you say? Yes, this is a very rare grape in California; growing in only four other vineyards in the state, as far as we know, and probably adding up to barely an acre, all-told.Continue »
Photo-log of 2015 Lodi wine grape harvest
Winemaker Greg La Follette (Sonoma's La Follette Wines), blessing 2015 Zinfandel harvest from Royal Tee Vineyard (planted on Lodi's west side in 1889) with a bagpipe rendition of "Scotland the Brave" (to listen, visit Heralding Lodi's 2015 Zinfandel Harvest)
It's exhausting, but you never tire of it: the yearly grand spectacle of the wine harvest in Lodi wine country.Continue »
Reports on 2015 Lodi harvest are super-positive thus far
Harney Lane winemaker Chad Joseph is excited about the "perfect" quality of the 2015 Lodi Zinfandel fruit thus far
September 2, 2015 - The Lodi Viticultural Area’s 2015 harvest – which, as in much of California, kicked off in late July – is now entering its second month. This week we asked a few growers and winemakers for their assessments thus far.Continue »
Italian inspired wines & menu planned for SIP SAVOR LODI Harvest Dinner under Lodi Arch
Last year's SIP SAVOR LODI Harvest Dinner under Downtown Lodi's Lodi Arch
On the Friday night (6-9 PM) of September 25, 2015, Downtown Lodi's Pine Street (just below the landmark Lodi Arch) becomes one big, long open-air dining room, in the finest wine country town tradition.Continue »
Lodi's foreign legion (part 2)
Stama Winery owner/grower Konstantino "Gus" Kapiniaris
Continuing our stories of outstanding growers and winemakers born in far flung places, and now fully immersed in the Lodi Viticultural Area's rich culture of winegrowing:Continue »
Lodi's foreign legion (part 1)
Harinder and Bobby Dhaliwal, who came to Lodi with their family from Punjab, India in 1983
They are, of course, no longer “foreigners,” but more correctly, foreign-born winemakers and growers who are now fully immersed in the Lodi winegrowing industry, contributing immensely to the community.Continue »
What makes Lodi special? For Markus Bokisch, it's newfound
Markus Bokisch walking over cobbly clay terrain in Lodi's Cosumnes River AVA; site of one of Bokisch Ranches' latest vineyard plantings.
Is there any winegrower more sold on the Lodi Viticultural Area than Markus Bokisch of Bokisch Ranches?
Mr. Bokisch first started to come to Lodi during the early 1990s, while fulfilling his job of sourcing “Rhône Ranger” grapes (i.e. Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Carignan, Viognier, etc.) for Joseph Phelps Vineyards’ Vin du Mistral program (since deactivated).Continue »
What makes Lodi special? For Mike McCay, it's the excavation of ancient vines
McCay Cellars owner/winemaker Mike McCay
If you ask Mike McCay, the winemaker/owner of McCay Cellars, about what makes Lodi special, he’s going to want to talk about ancient vines and Zinfandel; which, after all, are his specialty.
But Zinfandel grows well all over California; and certainly, ancient vine plantings in places like Sonoma, Napa Valley, Paso Robles, Mendocino, Contra Costa, the Sierra Foothills or elsewhere do not take a backseat to plantings in any other region, including Lodi.
So what does make ancient vine Zinfandel in Lodi different, besides the fact that Lodi has a lot more acreage of these plantings (vineyards planted 50, 75, even over 100 years ago) than other regions?Continue »
What makes Lodi special? For Borra's Markus Niggli, it's about
Borra Vineyards winemaker Markus Niggli with wintering Vermentino
What sets Lodi apart from other American Viticultural Areas? We asked Markus Niggli, the Swiss-born winemaker of Borra Vineyards. Borra is currently Lodi’s oldest continuously operating family winery (bonded in 1975). Yet today, Borra is known as Lodi’s most innovative winery – a reputation garnered almost since the first day, in 2006, when third generation Lodi grower/founder Steve Borra welcomed Mr. Niggli onboard.Continue »
What makes Lodi special? For Stuart Spencer, it's heroic vines and people
St. Amant's Stuart Spencer with 2014 Marian's Vineyard Zinfandel harvest
In part 2 of our series addressing the question of what makes the Lodi Viticultural Area special, we turn to Stuart Spencer, winemaker/owner of St. Amant Winery.
Is there any winery more respected by other Lodi winemakers and growers than St. Amant? Founded in 1979 by Barbara and the late Tim Spencer (Stuart Spencer’s parents), St. Amant has remained pre-eminent in the Lodi winegrowing community while retaining its original, unpretentious identity.Continue »