Disclosure: A few weeks ago I attended my first Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi, CA. I learned a few things along the way about the Lodi Wine Region, and am now sharing that with you!
It was almost 2 years ago when I explored Lodi, CA on my own for the first time. After hearing great things were happening in the wine region, and a new grand opening of a winery, I knew it was time to take a weekend trip to this coveted Wine Region… and what I found back then was enlightening! BUT, as a first time trip, you can only take in so much, and learn so little along the way…
So, when I heard the Wine Bloggers Conference was headed to Lodi this August, I knew, it was time, to explore a bit more of this wine region. Needless to say, I may have learned a little more this time around…
- Did You Know They have over 110,000 Acres of Grapes growing in Lodi?
Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes on Oak Farm Vineyards Estate Property
So, this FACT, alone, was the biggest takeaway I took from the conference. Thanks to this brilliant article by Sommelier Randy Caparoso, and Lodi local. That is double the acreage of all of Washington State, 4 times the acreage of Oregon State, and guess what; double the acreage of Napa!
So, whether or not you know it, you’ve most likely been drinking wine from Lodi grapes over the years. I dare ya, turn that California Wine Bottle over…
2) White Wine is Getting Quite the Name for Itself in Lodi
If you were given the option to drink a cold, hearty, white wine on a 110 degree summer day, or a glass of Red Old Vine Zinfandel, what would you choose?
Truthfully, I know what I would choose! And, Lodi has caught on to what the consumers are also catching on too: Hot Summer Days call for a nice, refreshing White Wine.
BUT, Lodi, is actually excelling with their terroir in certain White Wine Varietals: Albarino, a spanish style varietal wine, has taken off in Lodi, and was a common theme among MANY wineries that were pouring wine throughout the Wine Blogger Conference weekend.
Another varietal that is getting a name for itself is the Symphony Varietal, in huge part to the raging success of Obsession Wines coming from Ironstone Vineyards. The Symphony Grape was a crossing of Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris, was created by Dr. Harold Olmo at UC Davis in 1948. As is the case with most of Dr. Olmo’s crossings, this white wine producing grape varietal was originally developed to be utilized in hot growing conditions of California’s Central Valley. ~Appellation America.
And if you haven’t tried Oak Farm Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, you need to!
3) It’s More than Just Zinfandel in Lodi!
Probably one of my all time favorite quotes that came out of the conference came from Markus Bokisch of Bokisch Vineyards during the “History of Lodi Winemaking” session.
He stated, “The Story of Zinfandel is a great one, but I had a different story to tell” in why he chose to bring Spanish Varietal Wines to the Lodi Region, and begin there.
But, even with that being said, I don’t think people realize how many different varietals are being grown in Lodi, they have well over 100 varietals growing in their area!
Spanish Varietals have really taken off in the Lodi region, bringing in Gold and Double Golds to a lot of the producers in the area. St. Amant’s Winery just won Double Gold for the Best Red Wine at the California State Fair for their 2014 Tempranillo. Producing a little over 600 cases, now just bringing them down to a little over 13 cases left from their 2014 vintage!
And many varietals from the Southern France region are excelling in the region.
4) They’re Rooted in History
Lance Randolph of Peirano Estate~ 4th Generation Farmer
If you ask any Grape Grower or Winemaker in the Lodi Region, you can tell how much they are invested into the Lodi Region by their wealth of knowledge of the area. There is a pride there, and it truly comes out the minute they begin sharing the Lodi Wine, perhaps one of the many reasons they’re so LoCa for Wine there!
As Randy stated in his article, the oldest cultivated vineyard is the Bechthold Vineyard – 25 acres of Cinsaut, of all things! – planted by Joseph Spenker in 1886. Throughout Lodi, you will see many wineries and vineyards pay tribute to the Cinsaut grape and the heritage, in which, Lodi, lies.
The Conference was held at Hutchins Street Square: The Very High School that Robert Mondavi attended himself. Although, no longer a high school, but a full-fledged conference center.
But, they’ve come a long way from being the most prominent region for White Zinfandel… I’m just saying…
5) They’re Experimental and their Wines will Surprise you!
Hands down, I’m not afraid to say this out loud about the Lodi Wine Region. If anyone questions it, I automatically ask if they know about the Lodi Native project?
BUT, I am not the one to explain the Lodi Native project to you. Since the Lodi Native project was the idea of Sommelier Randy Caparoso, his articles are much more in depth about the project, and what it all means!
Also, keep eyes out for upcoming articles about the Lodi Native Project as wine bloggers got to explore these interesting wines, and wineries during one of the Post-Conference excursions. Follow along with Hashtag #WBC16.
BUT, it shows in their history, in how the grapes got to their region, and the pioneers in their willingness to keep trying new varietals in their wine growing region. Truthfully, this is a Wine Region to keep an eye on just to see what they’ll be doing next!
For those that attended the Wine Bloggers Conference, what were some of your takeaways from the Lodi Wine Region?
What was surprising to you?
And what are you most excited about from this Wine Region?