October 14, 2015
Region of the Week: Lodi
Lodi: some say it’s the next Napa Valley. Located between the San Francisco Bay and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the region is quickly emerging as one of California’s most exciting wine destinations. Its 100,000 acres of vines has had quite a low profile until recent years – but here’s why Lodi should be your next wine destination.
Lodi and its grapes
Lodi is home to approximately 100,000 acres of premium wine grapes, and over 85 wineries. Lodi has only recently started getting recognition as a wine producing region. The reason for this? Note that Lodi has been a major wine-growing region for decades, but most of its wineries were co-ops, whose wine production was typically sold on to large marketing companies. Lodi was not designated an appellation in its own right until 1986, and the area was then officially divided into seven sub-AVAs (American Viticultural Area) appellations based on climate and soil types: Alta Mesa, Borden Ranch, Clements Hills, Cosumnes River, Jahant, Mokelumne River and Sloughouse.
Today, Lodi is predominately a red winegrowing region, with around two-thirds of the acreage dedicated to red varieties. Vineyards are planted with over 100 different premium grape varieties, including some well-known international ones like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Zinfandel (which accounts for almost half of Lodi’s wines). The region is, for that matter, the self-proclaimed Zinfandel Capital of the World, producing over 40 percent of California’s premium Zinfandel.
Another cool characteristic of Lodi: the winemakers are progressive, using the region’s ideal climate to their advantage, to explore less common wines; Lodi’s vast portfolio includes Spanish (Albariño, Tempranillo, etc.), Portuguese, German (Gewürztraminer), Italian (Sangiovese, Barbera, etc.), French (Cinsault, Viognier, Picpoul Blanc, etc.) and even South African (Pinotage) varieties!
Where to taste?
Berghold Vineyards & Winery – The Berghold Family has been growing grapes in Lodi since 1986. Today, the vineyards total 85 acres of Syrah, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel. The winery’s wines are estate vintages, terroir driven, and are produced following artisan techniques combined with state of the art technology. Check it out!
LangeTwins Winery – Located just north of the city of Lodi, the modern, spectacular winery is known to provide a unique wine tasting experience to customers: feeling like enjoying a wine and cheese pairing moment in their cellar, or a private tour of the winery? Just ask. The winery offers a vast portfolio of varietals, from their fruity and spicy Zinfandel to their aromatic Verdelho and a crisp Pinot Grigio.
Bokisch Vineyards – If you want to explore Lodi the Iberian way, Bokisch Vineyards it is! Liz and Markus Bokisch both worked in the Spanish wine industry, and brought back their passion and know-how to their winery. It all started with what they call their “motherblock” of Iberian wines, planted in 1999, with the varietals Tempranillo, Albarino, and Graciano. Now they specialize in 9 different award-winning wines which also include Garnacha, Garnacha Blanca, Monastrell, Verdejo and Verdelho.