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.
Reports of the imminent demise of the American wine industry are greatly exaggerated
The American Wine Industry Has an Old People Problem. That was the title of an article published by The New York Times this past January 31, 2023, authored by the newspaper's widely followed wine correspondent Eric Asimov.
By "old people," the Times was wryly referring to Americans over 60 years old, a demographic that recent statistics show is the only segment of the wine market that is currently purchasing and consuming more wine—especially premium quality/priced wine—with any degree of significance...Continue »
Delineations of Mediterranean climate in Lodi and the rest of the world
Olive trees and old vines thriving in the quintessential Mediterranean climate and deep, rich sandy loam soils—conducive to healthy root systems contributing to plant health and longevity—of Lodi's Mokelumne River appellation.
A long, long time ago, when dinosaurs shook the earth (back in the mid-1970s), I read an article by legendary winemaker Dr. Richard Peterson, answering a question about what is most important to the quality of grapes and subsequent wines: Is it climate, or is it soil?
Dr. Peterson's contention was (and still is, I suppose) that climate is the most important factor. For high quality winegrowing, you need at the very least a climate conducive to wine grapes, which can grow well even in less than ideal soil types. On the other hand, you can have the best possible soil to grow grapes, but without an appropriate climate you'll never produce a good wine...Continue »
Common misperceptions of Lodi Zinfandel and other errant information on Lodi found online
You should never believe everything you find online. That goes for just about everything, but especially for wine. There is so much misinformation about wine floating around the internet like the garbage all across the world's oceans, I really don't where to begin.
But since this is a blog brought to you courtesy of Lodi winegrowers, let's just address some of the things you find about Lodi wines on, as many senior citizens like to call it, "the Google"—that wonderful, modern day substitute for what we used to rely on for information, those quaint and nostalgic objects called "books..."Continue »
How acclaimed wine author Mike Dunne introduces Lodi to the world
At long last, there is a book that tells the story behind the appellations, vineyards, wines and historic figures of the Sierra Foothills, Lodi, the California Delta and Yolo County. It is called The Signature Wines of Superior California, which is composed by former longtime Sacramento Bee wine editor Mike Dunne.
The regions identified by Mr. Dunne as "Superior California" has been this reporter's journalistic beat for over 50 years, which is a long time in comparison to most living American wine journalists. Yet Dunne's perspective, as anyone familiar with his articles well knows, has always been global. He sees, and evaluates, all wines in terms of international standards or comparisons...Continue »
Dangerously easy fun at Lodi's 2023 Wine & Chocolate celebration
"Dangerously easy to drink" is the way popular wine blogger Hannah Spiegel (find her on vinoforbreakfast.com and @vinoforbreakfast on Instagram) described the uniquely dark and delicious Bourdon Sparkling Syrah she tasted at the 2023 Lodi Wine & Chocolate Brunch, this past Sunday, February 5th at the luxurious Wine & Roses Hotel.
You could, in fact, describe most of the wines produced in the Lodi appellation in exactly this way. It is the region's Mediterranean climate and rich yet eminently grape-friendly soils that naturally grows this style of wine: consistently round, smooth and pungently aromatic in a fresh and intense fruit-forward fashion...Continue »
Valentine's! 10 steps (for men) to successfully order wine in a romantic restaurant
Say, for once, you've had the presence of mind to make dinner reservations ahead of time for Valentine's night—the second busiest day of the year (after Mother's Day) for restaurants. If you haven't, you may have already blown it.
So what are you going to do if you know your date prefers wine, but you know absolutely nothing about it? Should you ask, "Why don't we just go for pints of Guinness?" Wrong! If your dining partner is truly important to you, it is definitely to your advantage to whisper those three magic words: "Let's order wine..."Continue »
What Bob Dylan has to do with good taste in wine, Robert Mondavi and Lodi history
I started out on Burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff. Not really. But I always loved that line from Bob Dylan's song, "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues..."Continue »
2023 update on Lodi vineyards finally getting their due by being recognized by Historic Vineyard Society
Long overlooked old vines finally get their due
In France plantings of old vines are called vielles vignes (pronounced "VEE-le VEE-nye"). In Germany, alte reben ("AL-teh RAY-ben"). In Spain, vina vieja.
In the U.S., as well as countries such as Australia and South Africa, the phrase on the lips of wine lovers, and frequently popping up on wine bottles, is "old vine..."Continue »
LODI RULES launches fourth edition of its industry leading guidelines for certified sustainable winegrowing
This past December 26, 2022, Lodi Winegrape Commission's sustainable winegrowing director Dr. Stephanie Bolton announced the launch of the newly accredited Fourth Edition of LODI RULES Sustainable Winegrowing Certification Standards.
According to Dr. Bolton: "We have pored over the LODI RULES sustainability certification program based on new knowledge that’s been gained over the last decade. By improving the program over time, the certification continues to be relevant and progressive and stays at the forefront of sustainability innovation..."Continue »
Plain talk on the increasing mystique and value of old vines
Seemingly everyone in the wine world—wine lovers, self-appointed experts and writers, sommeliers, and media “influencers” and the like—is now into “old vines.”
But why? Or, you might ask, what’s wrong with young vines—virile, vigorous vineyards planted with the knowledge of the latest technology, viticultural hindsight and deep, deep pockets?
The answer is... it’s all good. It’s just that older vines, presumably planted during years when growers were not so smart or well heeled, now deserve their due because, well, they’re old. Somehow they’ve survived years and years and slings and arrows of market fortunes and misfortunes, when the land they sit upon could have easily been converted into other usages—more lucrative crops or industries, houses and highways, or of course, higher demand grapes...Continue »