This is our third adventure to Lodi wine country in recent times. We will be adding, very soon, a Lodi Wine Trail to WineCountryGetaways.com. Our goal is to visit as many wineries as possible over the course of several trips. After that we can decide which wineries will make our list of Top Wineries for the Lodi Wine Trail on WineCountryGetaways.com.
Lodi is a very flat region; of course it is, it is located in the Great Central Valley. We have the Lodi Wine Alliance wine map but on each of our trips we have managed to get ourselves lost and turned around on several occasions. Maybe that is because there are no major landmarks or mountain ranges to get your bearings. Most of the wineries are small family-owned wineries. Many have been grape growers for years and recently have started making wines as Lodi has shifted from a bulk wine producer to producing more quality wines. Zinfandel is king in Lodi, especially old-vine Zinfandel. The weather is very hot during the summer months. There is some cooling at night from breezes from the Delta, but by and large the climate in Lodi yields big, fruity wines and some that are very high in alcohol.
One of the biggest wine producers is Michael David Winery. They make the wine called 7 Deadly Zins. Michael David makes 300,000 cases of this wine and that is why you probably have seen it in just about every warehouse store or supermarket. Michael David also makes 100,000 cases of Earthquake Zin. The name itself tells you much about this wine. It is one of the biggest, boldest wines I have ever tasted.
Several of the wineries like St. Amant or M2 are in warehouse-type facilities. They make good wine but the setting is not all that inviting. In fact, one of M2’s neighbors is the local dump. That just does not seem to go together for tourists looking for the serene and peaceful wine country scene.
Two of the most interesting wineries and ones that make excellent wines are Berghold Winery and Harmony Wynelands. Berghold has an amazing collection of antique American Victorian pieces and even a mechanized twelve-piece band. At Harmony, the star attraction in the tasting room is a beautiful pipe organ. What a blast to hear it play.
There are very few upscale places to stay or eat in Lodi. The Wine & Roses Inn is the featured place to stay and eat in Lodi and what everyone seems to recommend. The Lodi Wine & Visitor Center has a tasting room in the Wine & Roses where you can taste wine from just about every winery in Lodi.
We enjoyed hitting the old downtown and exploring around. We discovered a great spot that a lot of locals hit called The Dancing Fox Bakery & Winery. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and also make Dancing Fox wines that you can taste in their tasting room.
Other wineries that we visited and enjoyed immensely on this trip were d’Art, Harney Lane, Macchia and Van Riuten Family Winery. These wineries are sure to make our list.
St. Amant’s a very respected, indeed venerable producer; while a warehouse or shopping mall may not be as pleasant (or pretentious) as a faux-Tuscan villa in St. Helena, the wine’s the same, and likely less expensive. I too wondered at M2s placement, though the wines are very good and as long as the wind isn’t exactly wrong it would be difficult to detect. He’s got a stack of medals and awards, after all – should he build a castle too? (Or just a wall?) Thanks for the updates. What did you think of the alcohol on the Earthquake Zin?
We really liked the St. Amant wines especially the Tempranillo. The vineyards to us are the draw to wine country no matter where. The Earthquake is good but you only need one glass and that is it.
I look forward to the addition of a Lodi section to your website. Our area sure deserves it as our wineries have been winning many medals and earning great praise for their wines (Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, Wall Street Journal, etc) the past 5+yrs.
Lodi area wineries are fully involved in the explosion of social media with all most all of the wineries have a Facebook Fan page, and many Twitter accounts. These are excellent ways to connect with the wineries before a trip, and pickup tips from the comments left by other consumers.
Three other wine friendly & upscale eateries are CRUSH on the 200 South School Street block, School Street Bistro on the 200 North block, and Alebrijes Mexican Bistro on Ham Ln & Lockeford St.
Thanks for that very useful information. I may contact you as we get closer to putting up the Lodi Wine Trail.