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
August 8, 2016 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi 101 for this week's visiting wine bloggers

Enduringly healthy, nimble 115-year-old Zinfandel in Lodi's Marian's Vineyard (July 2016)

Starting this week (Wednesday, August 10) and for 4 days thereafter, over 300 online wine journalists and distinguished speakers will be gathering here in Lodi for the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference.

Lodi wines and grapes, of course, won’t be the conference's only topics of discussion; but they will be the major ones. So in expectation, for the benefit of our visiting bloggers, here are 12 basic things they might want to keep in mind about Lodi Viticultural Area as they dive deeper into specifics and start their live adventures in the vineyards and wineries...

  Continue »

Time Posted: Aug 8, 2016 at 7:00 AM Permalink to Lodi 101 for this week's visiting wine bloggers Permalink
Randy Caparoso
August 3, 2016 | Randy Caparoso

Neyers Zinfandels gently preserve the natural beauty of Lodi's Borden Ranch

Neyers Vineyards' Tadeo Borchardt with cobbled stones of Bokisch Ranches' Vista Luna Vineyard

Yesterday (August 2, 2016), walking through the trellised rows of Bokisch Ranches’ Vista Luna Vineyard, Neyers Vineyards winemaker Tadeo Borchardt plucked berries off a couple dozen Zinfandel clusters for analysis back in his winery, located a good 90 minutes' drive away, just east of St. Helena in Napa County.

Vista Luna Vineyard is located in Lodi’s Borden Ranch Viticultural Area; a sub-region consisting of rolling hills of reddish, rocky, shallow soils over a clay pan, at 200 to 250-ft elevations. This, in essence, represents the slightly elevated lower-low foot-slopes of the Sierra Foothills; in dramatic contrast to the fine, silty sandy loam and nearly flat topography of the more historic Mokelumne River AVA surrounding the City of Lodi, no higher than 50-100-ft., and with nary a rock or even speck of gravel to be found...

  Continue »

Time Posted: Aug 3, 2016 at 10:45 AM Permalink to Neyers Zinfandels gently preserve the natural beauty of Lodi's Borden Ranch Permalink
Randy Caparoso
July 29, 2016 | Randy Caparoso

In Lodi, Christmas (a.k.a. veraison) comes in July

Zinfandel during July veraison in Harney Lane Winery's Lizzy James Vineyard

The objective of Vitis, or grape vines, from their very beginning – speculated as dating back over a million years ago, based upon evidence of fossilized leaves and seeds – has always been the same as that of humankind: to bear fruit and multiply.

The almost miraculous changes we see in black skinned varieties of Vitis vinifera – the European species of vines always known to produce the finest wines – during the month of July in the Northern Hemisphere is a reflection of that basic objective... 

  Continue »

Time Posted: Jul 29, 2016 at 7:00 AM Permalink to In Lodi, Christmas (a.k.a. veraison) comes in July Permalink
Randy Caparoso
July 25, 2016 | Randy Caparoso

In Lodi, to thine own terroir be true

Zinfandel cluster from 127-year old vines in Jessie's Grove's Royal Tee Vineyard

What is terroir, and why is everyone talking about it?

When writing about why Lodi was chosen as their 2015 Wine Region of the Year, Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Jim Gordon cited a number of achievements; including how the region has recently achieved “parity with better-known coastal regions,” yet how “grapes and wine were already in Lodi’s DNA before the current era... (when) the first major vineyard was planted in 1852.”

One of the things Mr. Gordon also noted was the “naked style Zinfandels" produced by the Lodi Native project. The good thing about the Lodi Native Zinfandels, San Francisco Chronicle’s Jill Robinson recently wrote, is that they “highlight terroir, along with Lodi’s heritage Zinfandel plantings and growers.” The Lodi Native winemakers have been putting together a series of “single-vineyard Zinfandels,” added Christopher Null in his DRINKHACKER blog, “with the intent of showcasing Lodi’s terroir"...

  Continue »

Time Posted: Jul 25, 2016 at 1:00 PM Permalink to In Lodi, to thine own terroir be true Permalink
Randy Caparoso
July 21, 2016 | Randy Caparoso

The fine summer art of enjoying red wine with fish

It may be summer, but that doesn't mean every wine aficionado is reaching for white or pink wines. Red wine lovers are red wine lovers, and they're not going to let little things like 90-degree temperatures keep them from enjoying their preference.

Oh, they may make little adjustments, like going to slightly lighter reds; or easing up a little bit on red meat consumption (unless they're manning an outdoor grill). Be as it may, it is as good a time as any to revisit the notion of consuming red wine with fish. Not everyone, of course, has caught up with this.

But seriously, enjoying red wine with fish is not nearly as strange as it may seem. Fact of the matter is, there are many instances when a red wine tastes better with a seafood dish of some sort than any white wine or rosé. Why? Because as much as white wines with fish and red wines with red meat makes sense, not all seafood dishes are the same, and not all wines – reds, whites, pinks or sparklers – are either...

  Continue »

Time Posted: Jul 21, 2016 at 7:30 AM Permalink to The fine summer art of enjoying red wine with fish Permalink
Randy Caparoso
July 18, 2016 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi & state of wine blogging to be addressed at 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference

Popular erudite blogger Elaine Brown (wakawakawinereviews) spreadng the word on Torrontés grown in Lodi by Silvaspoons Vineyards' Ron Silva (right)

Next month on August 11 through 13, 2016, Lodi wine country will be invaded by several hundred online wine scribes gathering for the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference. This will be a “9th Annual” – earlier Wine Bloggers Conferences, starting in 2008, happening in places like Santa Rosa, Portland, Walla Walla, New York’s Finger Lakes, Charlottesville in Virginia, and Penticton in British Columbia, Canada.

Wine blogging, once posted in 2013, has got to be “the world’s drunkest job.” But like Julie (Powell) in Julie & Julia, wine bloggers tend to be unremittingly passionate in their pursuit of the fermented grape; and forever hopeful that they, too, may someday wear the golden fleece accorded best selling authors or internationally acclaimed journalists. Indeed, some (albeit precious few) have managed to don some coat or another.

But mostly, these dedicated followers of vinous fashion perform a function, wrought by the internet age, involving the dispensing of knowledge and enthusiasm in a wine world that not too long ago was dominated exclusively by just a handful of periodicals and the few authors who seem to retain a stranglehold on all major book contracts (ever notice that the titles in book store wine sections are all authored by the same handful of writers?). Wine bloggers have democratized wine appreciation, which is a good thing. Power to the wine peeps...

  Continue »

Time Posted: Jul 18, 2016 at 4:02 PM Permalink to Lodi & state of wine blogging to be addressed at 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference Permalink
Randy Caparoso
July 14, 2016 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi Winegrape Commission marks 25 years of unprecedented success

(photo courtesy of John Curley Photography)

Lodi is, like, weird. That is to say, this sprawling wine region (by far the largest in the U.S., with over 110,000 acres of planted wine grapes, and counting...) is led by an organization of grape growers and wineries collectively known as the Lodi Winegrape Commission.

Pursuant to the State of California Department of Food & Agriculture's Marketing Act of 1937, winegrape commissions are funded by annual assessments of the gross value of winegrape crops. In the case of Lodi, every commercial grape grower within California Grape Crush District 11 is compelled to join. While mandated programs like this are not a choice thing, each grower recognizes the shared benefits of marketing and promotion of the region’s grapes, the viticultural research and sustainable grape growing (i.e. Lodi Rules) programs, exposure of wines and the region as a destination through aggressive media and consumer campaigns, and ultimately, profitability for all...

  Continue »

Time Posted: Jul 14, 2016 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Lodi Winegrape Commission marks 25 years of unprecedented success Permalink
Randy Caparoso
July 7, 2016 | Randy Caparoso

Verdelho is Lodi's gift to summer living

Verdelho harvest in Lodi's Silvaspoons Vineyards

What do Americans eat during summer? If you go to Sunset Magazine’s latest page proclaiming Fast & Fresh Summer Meals, you find a list of over three-dozen dishes with recipes for...

  Continue »

Time Posted: Jul 7, 2016 at 7:00 AM Permalink to Verdelho is Lodi's gift to summer living Permalink
Randy Caparoso
July 5, 2016 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi's Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for rosé

The ideal dry rosè is scented but not overly fruity in the nose; fluid and a little fleshy in the mouth without being soft, hard or harsh with excess alcohol or tannin; and nuanced with sensory qualities other than plain fruit, like smidgens of kitchen herbs or minerals. 

In recent years, as Lodi's small community of artisanal wineries has come to fruition, we have been seeing more and more Lodi grown rosés crafted almost effortlessly to achieve these ideal qualities. Surely this cannot be a fluke. And it isn't. The reason is a set of geological circumstances which make Lodi similar in a number ways to the region where more rosé is produced than in any other part of the world: France's Provence, the source of over 1 million cases of dry pink wine each and every year.

  Continue »

Time Posted: Jul 5, 2016 at 7:00 AM Permalink to Lodi's Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for rosé Permalink
Randy Caparoso
June 28, 2016 | Randy Caparoso

When weather gets hot, Lodi's exciting new whites get going

Lodi sunset in the Bokisch family's Terra Alta Vineyard

It’s not quite July; yet summer, evidently, is already in full swing, at least in The Golden State.

If you’re near a beach, life can be a peach. If you have a pool, then you’re just way cool. But if you have neither, and are relegated to life on a patio, under a shady tree or waiting for nightfall, the last thing you obviously feel like when the weather gets too-darn-hot are heavy foods and drinks.

Summer wines are ideally white not only because of their chill-ability, but also because red wines are by nature heavier because of their tannin, the component that gives wines a harder, slightly bitter, sometimes astringent taste. It’s just chemistry: red wines are fermented on their skins to extract color and tannin; whereas white wines are typically made from grapes that are pressed and separated from their skins prior to fermentation.

  Continue »

Time Posted: Jun 28, 2016 at 3:18 PM Permalink to When weather gets hot, Lodi's exciting new whites get going 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

Have a question? Complete our contact form.