Whenever I travel, I tend to give a place a chance, even, when others, give it a hard time. It’s in these places, that I, often times, find hidden gems. This was the exact case of when I visited Lodi, CA. Many asked me why I would head there when wine country was in my backyard. Others would scoff and say, but it’s “Lodi.” But, for me, it was a new wine region (for me!) needing to be untapped. A region really well known for their Zinfandels.
The Lodi Arch greeting Downtown Lodi
As you may know, I’ve slowly begun to embark on a journey to explore all of the California Wine Regions across the state of California. It’s easy focusing on Sonoma and Napa since I now reside there, but true discovery begins the minute you can set foot outside your home. (Trust me on this!) So, the end of October, I made hotel reservations, hopped in my car, and spent a weekend in Lodi. From the Sonoma area, it takes about 2 hours to get there trekking along Highway 12, passing through the Delta area, the waterways that also help irrigate so many of Lodi’s vineyards. Truthfully, upon arriving to Lodi, I had no plans, I was going to let the town speak for myself. The only thing I knew I wanted to do was attend the Grand opening celebrations of Oak Farm Vineyards, as for everything else, I was letting the town tell me what to do next and where to go. After passing by Interstate 5, I knew I was minutes away from my destination when I spotted my first winery: Michael David Winery. Once inside, my jaw drop when I realized the wines that they made. My bad for not realizing who the true owner of these wines were. Does “The 7 Deadly Zins,” ring a bell, by chance? But I was also drawn to their adorable cafe right inside their tasting room, a perfect place to stop in for breakfast and a wine tasting before beginning your weekend in Lodi. Also, a great place to pick up some locally produced fruit and vegetables. Other Wineries I visited over the weekend that left an impression included:
Oak Farm Vineyards They were in the midst of their Grand Opening Weekend, and let me tell you, upon arriving, this winery truly took my breath away. Every detail was built with such care. And, it was really hard leaving. From sitting inside next to the fireplace or outdoors where live entertainment was taking place as they served pizza. A definite must stop when visiting Lodi. You can truly enjoy this winery indoors or out. That’s for sure.
Lucas Winery A winery that truly left an impression on me was none other than Lucas Winery. Upon your tasting, they will take you on a complete experience from out in the vineyards where you can either taste a grape, or even trim a vine depending on the season to the barrel room where they will let you taste right from the barrel. It’s all in the details, and if you’re lucky, David Lucas, just may around during your tasting.
Viaggio: The fun of visiting Viaggio is not knowing what you may run across from Trolleys to Swings to Old Trucks, there’s a little bit of everything at Viaggio. Along with being a great wedding venue within the Lodi area. A great place to taste wine inside or a place to walk around with a glass in hand.
m2 Wines: I’m drawn to new, modern things. So when I first saw pictures of m2 Wines, I knew I had to stop in there. When I drove up, I couldn’t stop taking photos. To me, it stood out amongst a field of newly planted vineyards. The winery, in their new facility off Peltier road just opened up a year ago. M2 Wines continues to stand out with the wines they make, which stays true to the Lodi appellation. Blending both old and modern techniques to their mixtures of wines.
Macchia: Want to know what I loved the most about this winery? The backyard. Don’t you just see yourself sitting out back with a group of friends sipping wine, playing bocce ball, and letting all your worries slip away? Especially when it says, “It’s All Good” right on the fence. Truly Awesome!
Jessie’s Grove: When you first drive up to Jessie’s Grove, you may end up a bit confused. An old barn appears to your right, a long drive way is in front of you along with a small building, but yes, you’re exactly in the right place. Jessie’s Grove, known for having the oldest vine zinfandel’s all around Lodi. And their land has a lot of history on it from the depression, prohibition, droughts, disease, and more, and it’s still standing, and they’re still creating amazing wine straight from those old vines. This is such a small slice of what Lodi Wine has to offer. I haven’t even talked about the Downtown Business District (that’s a post for next week!) But, from the time I spent in Lodi, it left an impression and I can’t wait to head back and explore more of what this region has to offer. A region that is known for their Zinfandel wines, and trust me, I could truly taste why they excel there.