POSTED ON September 3, 2009 | IN Lodi | BY joe

We spent a day visiting tasting rooms and wineries in the Lodi Area. We need to spend more time in Lodi to get the full picture but we have a good idea of how this wine country measures up to Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles and others.

Our first impression is that there are several wineries making very good wines at reasonable prices and by that I mean well under $20. Surprisingly, most of the tasting rooms I visited charge a fee for tasting but most apply it to the purchase of wines. I would think until Lodi gets really popular among the wine tourists that they should do everything possible to minimize the cost of a wine trip. The biggest obstacle I see for Lodi is its ambience. There are no beautiful hills and winding backroads lined with vineyards. It is very flat and it’s also very warm during the day. Lodi also lacks a significant number of gourmet restaurants and the only terrific lodging spot in town is the Wine and Roses Hotel.

On the positive side, the biggest attraction is the number of small family-owned wineries making good wine at value prices. If you are looking for good deals in wine than you should either take a trip to Lodi or attend one of their wine events to get acquainted with the Lodi wines. I was under the impression that Lodi was mainly a Zinfandel producer but I found that this is not exactly the case. I tasted some very good Viognier, Merlot, Cabernets, and even some Carignane. The soil and climate, with cooling night breezes from the Delta, enable the area to grow many varietals. And of course, we all know about that Lodi old vine Zinfandel that always seems to produce those big and bold, full-flavored wines. Some of the Zin vines in Lodi are 120 years old.

Lodi is just getting started and I would expect that in the next few years there will be many changes in the Lodi wine scene. I just hope the economy gives this area a chance to survive and make its mark as a wine country destination.

There are two Lodi wine events in September and October. The first is at the Wine & Roses Hotel and called “A Taste of Lodi.”It is on September 27, from 1 to 5 pm. On October 11th, and centrally located for Bay Area folks, is Treasure Island Wine Fest. Both events will feature just about all of the 40 Lodi wineries.

My next blog will be on one fascinating winery in Lodi, Berghold Winery

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