I love visiting the Napa Valley. The wines are tops, the food is marvelous, and the beauty is breathtaking. The Napa Valley is also expensive, teeming with tourists, and unfortunately, a place where many wine snobs like to congregate. If you are looking for a change-of-pace in wine country, you need to go to Lodi. Lodi wine country is quiet and peaceful, with plenty of good wine and cheer for the wine country traveler. Here are just a few reasons why Lodi should be your next wine country getaway.
Top reason to take a Lodi wine country getaway
Old Vine Zinfandel – a reflection of place
Lodi is famous for old vine Zinfandel. There are several vineyards in Lodi that are well over 100 years old. Many Zinfandel wines from Lodi are made big, bold and jammy. Those are popular in supermarkets and make a winery economically healthy. But there is another side to Zinfandel in Lodi. This Zin is made in a restrained food-friendly style and one in which reflects the “place” of Lodi. Most impressive are the wineries that are participating in the Lodi Native Project. These six wineries are making exemplary Zinfandel wines. These Zins are vinted with native yeast, old barrel treatment, and with little interference by the winemaker. It is truly a remarkable project and one that should be a model for other wine regions. See which wineries are making great Zinfandel wine in Lodi and visit them and taste their wines.
Spanish Grapes and Wines
Could Zinfandel be taking a backseat to Spanish grapes in Lodi? Could Albariño, Garnacha Blanca, Verdejo, Tempranillo, Garnacha, Monastrell and other Spanish grapes become Lodi favorites? Marcus Bokisch of Bokisch Vineyards is the vintner most responsible for establishing these grapes in Lodi. Marcus grows these Spanish varieties for his wines and other wineries in Lodi. Marcus had spent many years in Spain and moved to Lodi because he felt confident that Spanish grapes could flourish here. We tasted several of the Bokisch Spanish wines, and they were excellent and very nicely priced. See more about Bokisch Vineyards.
Or could it be that Rhone wines become the best of Lodi? Acquiesce Winery leads the way in white Rhone wines. No reds at Acquiesce, just delicious Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Marsanne. Onesta is another winery to watch for Rhones, and they make the red wine, Cinsault. Have you ever heard of it? Borra Vineyards is another winery in Lodi producing delectable Rhones.
How About a German Connection
We were lucky to take a tour at Mokelumne Glen Vineyards in Lodi. I was dumbfounded to learn that this vineyard, just along the Mokelumne River, grows 40 plus varieties of white and red German and Austrian grapes. Have you heard of Kerner, Kanzler, Morio Muscat, or Affenthler Balu? Me either! The owners are Bob and Mary Lou Koth. They started their vineyard in 1970. They did make wine at one point, but because their grapes were in such demand, why make wine? For many of their grapes, a lineup of winemakers wait, hoping to buy some each year. Most distinguished among the winemakers buying grapes from Mokelumne Glen Vineyards is David Ramey of Ramey Wines. David Ramey has a second label, Sidebar. Wow, what a tantalizing dry and floral Kerner white wine he makes from Mokelumne Glen. Markus Niggli of Marcus Wine Company and Borra Vineyards is the most notable of Lodi winemakers utilizing grapes from Mokelumne Glen Vineyards.
Lodi Rules Project
Lodi Rules is all about sustainable farming. Sustainable farming is a loosely used term and seems to mean something different in every farming community. Lodi has taken its rules of sustainable farming to a rigorous level. This is a list of 75 plus practices that will sustain the vineyard, the farm, the workers, and the entire health of the ecosystem. To be certified, a vineyard must receive verification by a third party review. The Lodi rules just might be the most rigorous of any wine region. I love buying and drinking wine that is produced by this type of commitment. Details Lodi Rules.
Wine Region of the Year
In 2015, Lodi wine country was recognized by the Wine Enthusiast as the “Wine Region of the Year.” This was great for Lodi wine, living in the shadow of the great Napa Valley and other wine regions in California. Please go to our extensive resource to find out more about traveling to Lodi Wine Country: Lodi Wine Trails.