Last fall I had the pleasure of visiting Lodi, California for the first time. The trip was an eye opening exploration of the over 125 varieties of wine grapes grown in Lodi, the multi-generational family farms, the ground breaking wineries producing varieties beyond Zinfandel, and sustainable vineyards. I went home thirsty for more! When an invitation to return arrived, my answer was an enthusiastic, “YES!!!” Sponsored by the Visit Lodi! Conference and Visitors Bureau, my latest trip offered an even broader perspective of Lodi wine and food. Here is an itinerary perfectly suited for a weekend getaway.
An Itinerary for Exploring Lodi Wine and Food
Weibel Family Winery Tasting Room
Popular with the locals, Weibel’s is a fun spot in charming Downtown Lodi to unwind before dinner. Zsa Zsa Gabor was a fan (yes, they’ve been making wine for that long!). The family even struck a deal to have her do some promotion for them back in the day. It’s worth visiting here just to see the resulting print ads for their wine adorning the walls! This comfortable tasting room offering affordable sparkling wines served in vintage Champagne coupes, still wines, and frosé.
Dinner at Fenix Restaurant
Stroll down the street to Fenix for dinner where the philosophy is fresh, local, and seasonal in a friendly, casual atmosphere. Talented chef Richard Hyman says don’t call it farm to fork. He believes that should be a given for any small chef driven restaurant. Sit at the counter to enjoy a peek-a-boo view of the kitchen at work. The flavors here pop and the creativity of the chef shines through. Roasted carrots are seasoned with exotic za’atar. Cooked to perfection mesquite grilled swordfish is accompanied by zippy house made jalapeno aioli. Plus, the wine list includes a fantastic selection of wines by the glass or bottle, heavy on the local options.
Update: as of fall 2018 Fenix has closed. Check the Visit Lodi website for other dining options