Until last fall I had never been to Lodi, California before. I don’t know what I’d been waiting for! The visit opened my eyes to fascinating varieties, quality wines of incredible value, the history of family wineries, and forward thinking sustainable winegrowing practices.
Located in California’s Central Valley, we found it easiest to fly from our home city of Seattle to Sacramento, then hit the road to our destination about 40 miles south of the airport. And so began the journey of my – not so secret – love affair with the Lodi region.
Did you know that Lodi produces more wine grapes than any other region in California, and it’s not all Zinfandel? It’s easy to assume the region is only about Zin. After all, the grape has been declared as the signature variety. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I do enjoy a Zinfandel with my turkey chili. Yet, I was surprised and delighted to learn that Lodi’s Mediterranean climate lends itself to growing a number of other grape varieties. Just check out the Spanish varieties produced at Bokisch Vineyards or the white Rhône varieties crafted by Acquiesce Winery.
In fact, wine geeks might be intrigued to find that Lodi is home to over one hundred grape varieties from Aglianico to Zweigelt. Of course, that doesn’t matter if the resulting wine isn’t good. But the wine is fantastic! Consider that what gets bottled also retails for under $40 in most cases and you’ve got a treasure hunt of the most juicy kind! In fact, one of the greatest value wines must be the Obsession Symphony from Ironstone Vineyards at under $15.
Many of the family wineries there are multi-generational operations such as Klinker Brick Winery and Mettler Family Vineyards? Some of the vineyards date back to the 1800’s.
Have you heard of the Lodi Rules, California’s first sustainable winegrowing certification program? It’s based on farming practices that benefit the environment, the community, and the local economy. As Randy Lange of LangeTwins says, “When you think generationally you can’t help but think about sustainability.”
The experience captivated me, unexpectedly opening my eyes to the diverse range of quality wines crafted in this special region. I was so taken by the experience I have written four articles on the subject, and am delighted to be returning to the region. If you want to learn more, find them on Briscoe Bites (and while you’re there check out the great wine reviews by my friend Stacy Briscoe):
If you’ve already begun your own love affair with Lodi wines, give me a shout out on social media with your favorite wineries to visit and most coveted wines to drink. #LetsTalkAboutWine
Lodi Wineries and Resources
- Lodi Winegrape Commission
- Visit Lodi
- Acquiesce Winery
- Bokiscsh Vineyards
- Ironstone Vineyards
- Klinker Brick Winery
- LangeTwins Winery and Vineyards
- Mettler Family Vineyards
- Oak Farm Vineyards