The LoCA 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
May 15, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

15 wines that will rock your world at this Saturday's 2019 ZinFest Wine Festival

2019’s weather, we expect, will be a little chill (calling for a high of 63°), and there’s a chance of drizzle, but we’ve seen that before at Lodi’s yearly ZinFest Wine Festival; and everytime, everyone still had a grand ol’ time mastering of the art of sipping wine while balancing an umbrella or wrap.

It’s highly unlikely that it will be “Woodstock wet,” but no one was complaining about that little get-together either.

While not a rose garden, one thing we can promise is that, like our most recent ZinFests, you will be sure to find a plethora of wines that just might rock your world...

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Time Posted: May 15, 2019 at 2:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
May 9, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Why ancient vines are so wise, and you should not miss ZinFest’s phenomenal Zinfandel Blind Tasting

Majestic 100-plus-year-old Zinfandel in Lodi's Mokelumne River AVA

As part of Lodi’s 2019 ZinFest, there will be a Zinfandel Blind Tasting taking place at 2 PM on May 17 in the Wine & Roses Hotel Ballroom. We are also calling this event: A Study of Ancient Vine Zinfandels of California.

The blind tasting will be led by a panel of three unimpeachable wine pundits: Mike Dunne (former longtime wine columnist of The Sacramento Bee), Steve Eliot (Editor of the authoritative Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine), and Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis (Planet Grape®, Grape Goddess®, and author of the hot selling “Ten Grapes to Know”). These experts, incidentally, will be tasting the wines blind right along with the audience (so it will be the blind leading the blind, letting the wines themselves do most of the talking!)...

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Time Posted: May 9, 2019 at 3:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
May 6, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

The 100 (plus!) grapes of Lodi

2018 harvesting of Kerner grapes (producing, crisp, minerally, floral dry whites) in Lodi's Mokelumne Glen Vineyards

If anything, the Lodi Viticultural Area is prolific. We now count over 125 grape varieties planted in the region; all variations of Vitis vinifera, belonging to the original European family or species of wine grapes.

Why Lodi? Simply put, this is where the California wine industry sources most of the grapes going into wines sold for $10 and under, which is about 74% of all the wine sold in the U.S.

Needless to say, Lodi also furnishes a huge percentage of grapes going into premium priced (anything above $10) California wines. The wide variety of specialty wine grapes cultivated by Lodi growers such as Bokisch Ranches, Ripken Vineyards, Mohr-Fry RanchesSilvaspoons Vineyards, Vino Farms and others supply both giant producers (such as E. & J. Gallo, Constellation Brands, Trinchero Family Estates and Fetzer Vineyards) and the tiniest boutique wineries (The Scholium Project, Leaf and Vine, Odisea/Cochon, Loma Prieta, Michael Klouda, etc.), and wineries of all sizes in between (Bonny Doon Vineyards, Neyers, Michael David, Jeff Runquist, et al.)...

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Time Posted: May 6, 2019 at 9:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
May 2, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Direct influence of east vs. west side terroirs on the taste of Lodi Zinfandels

Lodi Winegrape Commission's Stephanie Bolton with cluster of 2018 Steacy Ranch Zinfandel (planted in 1907) on Mokelumne River-Lodi's east side

The French call it terroir – a “sense of place” reflecting each vineyard’s unique soil, climate, aspect and overall topography, which is reflected on how vines grow, their resulting grape clusters, and ultimately in the wines coming from those grapes.

Terroir explains why wines from certain vineyards and regions have sensory qualities that are different from wines grown in other vineyards and regions. And yes, there are terroir related distinctions in the wines of Lodi – even those made from grapes as familiar to us as Zinfandel...

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Time Posted: May 2, 2019 at 1:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
April 26, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Everything’s coming up rosés in a blind tasting of Lodi bottlngs

Lodi's ever expanding plethora of dry style rosés

Just ten years ago, whenever a wine connoisseur was served a pink wine he/she would run away screaming, thinking it was a White Zinfandel.

These days what you hear are mostly oohs and ahs because more and more pink wines are being produced either bone dry or very nearly dry. Like “serious” wines, you might say.

What makes them super-fun and interesting is that they’re made from a full range of black skinned grapes. In Lodi, for instance, dry style rosés are not just crafted from the more familiar Southern French grapes such as Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, but also Cinsaut, Carignan, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot noir, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Aglianico, and even (gasp!) Zinfandel...

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Time Posted: Apr 26, 2019 at 9:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
April 18, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Catherine Fallis (Master Sommelier and author of Ten Grapes to Know) headlines 2019 Lodi ZinFest Wine School

Learnng while enjoying the immense pleasures of Lodi wine at ZinFest Wine School

It’s nearly that time again: the annual Lodi ZinFest Wine Festival, taking place Saturday, May 18, 2019 at the stunningly bucolic Lodi Lake Park. This year festival will begin at 12 PM for Early Entrance guests (admission $75, available only with advance purchase), and then go from 1 PM to 5 PM for General Admission enthusiasts ($55 in advance, $65 at the gate).

Apart from a grand tasting of over 200 wines representing the dizzying range of fresh, pristinely expressive wines (from Albariño to Zinfandel) now being produced by Lodi wineries, there will also be opportunities to further your wine and culinary knowledge at ongoing demonstrations, including the Up in Smoke BBQ Demo (manned by Food Network celebrity chef Chad Rosenthal) and the ZinFest Wine School (kicking off at 1:30 PM)...

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Time Posted: Apr 18, 2019 at 11:00 AM
Randy Caparoso
April 16, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

2019 ZinFest Blind Tasting – a study of ancient vine Zinfandels of California

ZinFest blind tasting coming up at Wine & Roses Hotel!

Friday, May 17, 2019 – 2:00-4:00 PM – Wine & Roses Hotel Ballroom (Lodi)

Exactly how do Zinfandels from Lodi’s oldest vines compare to ancient vine Zinfandels grown in Sonoma County, Napa Valley, Paso Robles, Contra Costa and Amador County? The best way to find out is to taste them “blind,” with no preconceptions, just sensory qualities to lead you to conclusions. Preferably with the guidance of some of the most Zinfandel-knowledgeable wine professionals in the state...

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Time Posted: Apr 16, 2019 at 12:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
April 11, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Estate Crush’s new, sparkly iteration of Lodi’s venerated Bechthold Vineyard Cinsaut

In early April 2019, Estate Crush's rows of 133-year-old vertical cordon Cinsaut at the north end of Lodi's historic Bechthold Vineyard

How do you describe the latest wine produced by Lodi’s Estate Crush, Downtown Lodi’s custom crush facility (serving over 60 winery/clients, on top of wines sold under its own brand)? The 2018 Estate Crush Lodi “Carbonated” Cinsault Rosé ($26) is so many things that it is practically “ironic,” as Alanis Morissette once sang, citing a slew of things that can go wrong, and often do go wrong, in our workaday-to-wonderful lives.’’

The wine itself is unabashedly spritzy and positively exudes strawberry/cranberryish fruit in a perfume of remarkably fruit centered purity and in its light, razor-sharp and zesty-prickling sensations, bracing the palate with just a whisper of residual sugar (barely half a gram)...

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Time Posted: Apr 11, 2019 at 1:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
April 7, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Michael Klouda’s mission to “save” Lodi Zinfandel with his dry style Retro Rosé

Michael Klouda Wines' Michael Klouda harvesting Lodi Zinfandel grapes

It’s ba-a-ack. A pale, transparently pink wine made 100% from black skinned Zinfandel grapes – otherwise known as “White Zinfandel.”

Only, this time around it’s a bone dry pink wine – bottled without one, single gram of residual sugar. To hedge his bets, however, Michael Klouda Wines owner/winemaker Michael Klouda is calling his new fangled wine “Retro Rosé.”

Why? Because dry rosé is one of the hottest wine categories in the market today, whereas the White Zinfandel sales are plunging rapidly. Hence, the hundreds of acres of fields with piles of pulled-up vines – many of these, vineyards planted over 50 years ago – that locals have been seeing all over Lodi during the past three years...

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Time Posted: Apr 7, 2019 at 6:00 PM
Randy Caparoso
April 4, 2019 | Randy Caparoso

Spring flings and liquid danger at 2019 Lodi Wine & Food Festival

2019 early spring bud break in Lodi wine country

At the cusp of spring, wrote the poet Marge Piercy, the months become a "rich fresh wine," into which we stagger "smeared with pollen," when “the green will never again be so green, purely and lushly.”

As a more sobering harbinger of events, The Old Farmer's Almanac prognosticates on the upcoming 2019 weather: “Raindrops won’t be falling on heads (as often) in many parts of the U.S., with below normal precipitation expected in the Atlantic Corridor, Appalachians, and Intermountain regions, as well as in the Desert Southwest, Pacific Northwest (including California), Pacific Southwest, and western Hawaii...”

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Time Posted: Apr 4, 2019 at 3:00 PM