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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 23, 2011 | Randy Caparoso

A year in Lodi 2011 (part 1)

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Against the typical cloudy backdrop of January, ancient Lodi vines, just pruned and conserving energy for their upcoming spring bud break...

Looking back on another fruitful year in the Delta

Looking back at our favorite photos of the past year also gives us a good sense of how vintage 2011 developed, and more to look forward to in the years to come when we finally uncork and taste the year in our mouths.  Some of our favorite scenes from the past year...

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Time Posted: Dec 23, 2011 at 7:13 PM Permalink to A year in Lodi 2011 (part 1) Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
December 20, 2011 | Randy Caparoso

What Lodi’s winemakers are enjoying this Christmas

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What will Lodi’s winemakers be enjoying over the upcoming Christmas holidays?  We asked a few of Lodi’s finest this question, and discovered a couple of things:  how much of a mutual admiration society they have going on (they love drinking their colleagues’ wines), and how much they great European or classic American wines.  What they say...

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Time Posted: Dec 20, 2011 at 8:26 PM Permalink to What Lodi’s winemakers are enjoying this Christmas Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
December 13, 2011 | Randy Caparoso

Dream case for the Lodi wine lover who has everything

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Why begrudge your fellow man by stalking off or clicking off the television every time one of those Lexus Christmas commercials comes on?  We can be happy for other people’s success (yeah, right), but when it comes to wine, this question never really goes away:  why do people spend too much on bottles of wine?

We’re talking about big-name, big-shot wines that cost over $100, $200, or even $500 a bottle.  They’re not like a Lexus, which at least gives you a nifty package of engineering.  Fine wine is more like aesthetic arts or crafts:  the qualities appreciated are sensory, and therefore very much a state of mind, rather than a measurable technology.  The most exciting wine, when you think like this, are those that are totally new and unexpected.  Wines of originality as opposed to sameness; surprise as opposed to predictability.

And if there’s anything for which Lodi grown wines are becoming increasingly known, it’s their originality and total, wonderful ability to surprise.  Who would think, for instance, that wines made from grapes called Tannat or Verdelho could taste so good?  Although these grapes have European origins, very few vintners in Napa Valley or Walla Walla would think to grow them.  They’re mostly stuck on grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay – which are perfectly fine, but not always a turn-on for wine lovers with a thirst for the new and different...

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Time Posted: Dec 13, 2011 at 8:34 PM Permalink to Dream case for the Lodi wine lover who has everything Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
December 6, 2011 | Randy Caparoso

Test your Lodi white wine grape knowledge (part 2)

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Mystery grape #3 is the dominant Lodi grown grape in Abundance Vineyards' multi-award winning Bountiful Blanc

If you did well in part 1 of Test your Lodi white wine grape knowledge, here’s the skinny here:  part 2 is a lot more challenging.

So just how big a Lodi wine lover are you?  You’ll find out at the very end of this post, where you’ll find the answers.

Hints:  Most of these grapes are commonly grown up and down the West Coast, from Santa Barbara to Walla Walla, but one of these is quite unique to Lodi (meaning, very little is grown outside Lodi, except in its country of origin).  But all are members of Vitis vinifera, the classic European family of wine grapes.  Ready, set?  Guess away!

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Time Posted: Dec 6, 2011 at 8:48 PM Permalink to Test your Lodi white wine grape knowledge (part 2) Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
December 2, 2011 | Randy Caparoso

Macchia releases the first of the “perfect” 2010 zins

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Tim & Lani Holdener at Macchia's 2011 Fall Release Party

One of the Lodi AVA‘s brightest success stories is Macchia Wines, owned and operated by Tim Holdener and his family.  Like a dozen or so other key Lodi vintners, Holdener started off as a “home” winemaker, turned professional in 2001, and hasn’t looked back since:  Macchia now produces about 10,000 cases a year, most of which are sold out within six months of release...

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Time Posted: Dec 2, 2011 at 8:56 PM Permalink to Macchia releases the first of the “perfect” 2010 zins Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
November 29, 2011 | Randy Caparoso

Test your Lodi white wine grape knowledge (part 1)

Test your Lodi white wine grape knowledge (part 1)

So you think you know your white wine grapes? Perhaps you do, and perhaps not nearly as much as you think. Whatever the case, here’s a fun exercise: see if you can identify the following six white wine grapes captured below in recent photos, accompanied by detailed descriptions of each grape’s history and provenance, past and present. We’re not telling you the names of these grapes until the very end of this post, which gives you the chance to test your knowledge of both the wines of Lodi and of wine grapes in general. Hints: Most of these grapes are..

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Time Posted: Nov 29, 2011 at 5:01 PM Permalink to Test your Lodi white wine grape knowledge (part 1) Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
November 24, 2011 | Randy Caparoso

Lodi’s November autumn splendor

Lodi’s November autumn splendor

November’s sky is chill and drear, November’s leaf is red and sear , wrote Sir Walter Scott. Wherefore we cannot let the season pass without at least one photographic ode to the colors exploding in our vineyards as we speak. The phenomenon, as you know, occurs when temperatures dip and leaves are divested of chlorophyll, the pigment that photosynthesizes solar energy during warmer months. As the greenery of chlorophyll recedes from the cellular walls, the brilliant golds and oranges of carotenoids take over. Reds and purples, however, come from another group of pigments in leaf cells called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are..

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Time Posted: Nov 24, 2011 at 5:37 PM Permalink to Lodi’s November autumn splendor Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
November 17, 2011 | Randy Caparoso

A Lodi family Thanksgiving (part 2)

A Lodi family Thanksgiving (part 2)

A winemaker’s stuffing, cranberries with bacon or cooked in rosé, and Thanksgiving chicken dinner-winner for two! How will Lodi’s winegrowing families be celebrating Thanksgiving this year? Thoughts and recipes making up part 2 of what they have shared with us… Rick Taylor – winemaker/partner, Riaza Wines: My wife Erin’s parents have a cabin up past Big Trees State Park in Calaveras County. Every year, the four of us head up the hill for the long Thanksgiving weekend. After clearing the snow from the driveway and getting a fire going in the fireplace, we settle in for a much deserved, post-grape..

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Time Posted: Nov 17, 2011 at 6:36 PM Permalink to A Lodi family Thanksgiving (part 2) Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
November 14, 2011 | Randy Caparoso

A Lodi family Thanksgiving (part 1)

A Lodi family Thanksgiving (part 1)

Wine country stuffing, 2 ways to do cranberries & it’s off to the races… If anything, the Lodi American Viticultural Area is all about families. With ties to the land and ties among themselves, a significant proportion of Lodi families can trace their arrival to this agricultural community as far back as the 1800s. How do Lodi’s winegrowers and culinary personalities celebrate Thanksgiving? We asked six of them to share their expectations for the 2011 holiday, plus their most cherished recipes. Here is what three of them shared with us (the other three will talk about their Lodi 2011 Thanksgiving..

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Time Posted: Nov 14, 2011 at 6:49 PM Permalink to A Lodi family Thanksgiving (part 1) Permalink
Randy Caparoso
 
November 10, 2011 | Randy Caparoso

The Portuguese experience at Lodi’s St. Jorge

The Portuguese experience at Lodi’s St. Jorge

St. Jorge Winery matches bacalhau with their extraordinary Portuguese varietal wines What is bacalhau, and why is St. Jorge winemaker/grower/proprietor Vern Vierra talking about it? Bacalhau is a universal dish in Portugal and Galicia (the northwest tip of Spain); and seeing that Mr. Vierra is of Portuguese descent, his enthusiasm is understandable. Bacalhau is, in fact, the Portuguese word for codfish, and it refers specifically to the dried and salted codfish usually caught in Norway, Iceland or (more common today) off the coast of Canada’s Newfoundland. Vierra’s family first arrived in the Lodi region from Portugal in 1954. He grew..

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Time Posted: Nov 10, 2011 at 7:12 PM Permalink to The Portuguese experience at Lodi’s St. Jorge Permalink
Contact

Lodi Wine Visitor Center
2545 West Turner Road Lodi, CA 95242
209.365.0621
Open: Daily 10:00am-5:00pm

Lodi Winegrape Commission
2545 West Turner Road, Lodi, CA 95242
209.367.4727
Open: Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm

Have a question? Complete our contact form.