So, we are going back to Lodi for another bicycle ride. On our previous trip, we found many Lodi wines, particularly the old growth wines, quite intriguing. Here is some more from an “expert” (Russ Winton of Wine Line) in the Bee:
He says Lodi has a great wine walk, but I see the wineries far apart for a walk, much less a bicycle. But it turns out that Harney Lane Winery won the 2018 best winery tour from USA Today Readers Choice Awards. Their family owned winery gives a good behind the scenes look at the winemaking process, as well as some wine tasting.
My favorite from our last trip was the Michael David Inkblot Cabernet franc. I think I will buy a few more, though rather pricey at $35.
Lodi calls themselves “The Zinfandel Capital of the World”, perhaps for good reason. In fact, Lodi produces more wine grapes than any California appellation. Lodi became an appellation in 1986, and Wine Region of the Year in 2015 (Wine Enthusiast). There are 85 wineries now, producing over 450 labels, on 110,000 acres. Today, over a hundred varietals are produced here.
Lodi’s wine history began back in the 1850’s, around the time of the great California Gold Rush. Can we call it a “wine rush” now? The vines now over 130 years old, represent some of the best “old world” wines available anywhere in the world!
Some of you know I spent the summer of 1968 here, playing baseball, working part time, and attending summer school. We never though about drinking Lodi wines. I do recall Lodi having a disproportionate number of German families.
A good central starting point for your next Lodi wine tasting excursion would be the Lodi Wine and Visitor Center on Turner Road. Since nearly 80 local vintners are represented here, this might be a good start or finish to your trip. When we rode the Lodi Wine Trial earlier this year, we parked our cars here, and began or cycling trip around the area vineyards. Ending up here was perfect, we could taste a few wines, before heading out to other wineries.
Another point about Lodi is the “charm” that still exists. Most of the wineries are small, though the tasting rooms are a rather recent addition mostly to meet demand. Do not expect the “mega-winery” experience of Napa and Sonoma. It is definitely a more “down home” experience, with many tasting rooms in converted barns and sheds. But I promise, it will not detract form the overall experience.
The reason we are here, the Giro d’ Vino, a forty+ mile bike ride and wine tasting through the Lodi vineyards. I think the ride/race is limited to 600 riders. I generally do not drink and ride my bicycle, but a little bit of tasting might be okay. See you there!