Lodi celebrated their Wine and Chocolate Weekend this month. Over 50 wineries around the region opened their doors to wine lovers to sample their fine wines, taste some chocolate, check our craft vendors and enjoy the great weather they had in Lodi!
This reporter visited with several wineries located along the east side of Lodi, most of them along Highway 88 between Lockeford and Waterloo. These wineries range from some of the oldest to some of the newest wineries in Lodi.
Bokisch Vineyards opened up their new tasting room at 18921 Atkins Road to visitors on Wine and Chocolate Weekend. This new tasting room is at their Terra Alta vineyards where they grow a wide variety of grapes, mostly Spanish varietals. You can get a peek into their 5000 case wine production facility and wander around the magnificent views of this 80 acre property. During the Wine and Chocolate Weekend they served visitors with their delicious homemade chocolate tamales while tasting their 2014 Albarino, 2013 Tempranillo, 2014 Rosado and 2012 Graciano.
Goodmills Family Winery is a new winery on 17266 Hillside Drive and the Wine and Chocolate Weekend was one of their first events. After years in the big city the Brad and Lauri Mills decided to slow down and enjoy a bit of paradise in Lodi, devoting their passion to make superb, quality crafted wines from their own vineyards operating on the philosophy of good friends, good times for Goodmills Wines. The tasting room is part of the winery facility where you can sample wines inside or on the open patio. We had the opportunity to sample the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, 2014 Viognier, 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2012 Teroldego.
Lone Grape Winery is the newest winery but in a historic Tuscan Wine Village mall location that dates back to the 1940s at 12470 Locke Road in Lockeford. They produce a variety of wines from various Lodi locations. We enjoyed a 2012 Chardonnay, 2014 Syrah Rose, 2012 Barbera and a 2012 Cabernet Franc.
Omega Cellars is located at 13731 N. State Route 88 and is a family owned and operated winery centered around its founder Frank Natsis. Growing up in Greece Frank faced hard work on the family farm. After the family immigrated to Canada he became a successful chef and restaurant owner for over 40 years before making the decision to move to Lodi and open his own winery with his two sons. Omega is famous for their intense wines with nice color, concentration and depth. During the Lodi Wine and Chocolate Weekend Omega provided visitors with an excellent collection of food and cheeses to pair with their wide variety of wines including many dessert wines. We had the chance to sample six wines paired with Greek-themed appetizers plus a dessert wine paired with a delicious chocolate-covered baklava.
Sorelle Winery is located on the historic Dodge Estate at 9599 North Highway 88 south of Lodi. The Dodge House was built in 1866 by Jonathan Holt Dodge and he planted a 50 acre vineyard on the property. They have a wide various grape varieties from their own vineyard and other locations to produce their fine wines. The sisters Kim and Melissa Scott focus on Italian varietals. Their mother is of Italian descent and the name Sorelle means sisters in Italian. On Wine and Chocolate Weekend we sampled the 2013 vintages of the Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Muscat Canalli, Sangiovese, Primitivo and Barbera.
Lodi is a wonderful jewel in California’s wine regions. Many of the wineries are extensions of the wine growers that have been growing grapes in this region for many decades. As you travel through this area you are taken back to rural agricultural California. Here you will find Zinfandel grapes growing on vines that are over 100 years old and younger vines of Cabernet, Chardonnay, and a wide range of Spanish, Portuguese and Italian varietals. The location is ideal for wine grapes with plenty of sun and the cooling influences of the delta.
In 2015 Wine Enthusiast Magazine selected Lodi as the Wine Region of the Year. Wine Enthusiast’s stated purpose for the “Wine Region of the Year” award “is to recognize not only excellence in wine quality, but also innovation and excitement coupled with the courage to take risks and the skill to succeed.” With the “Wine Region of the Year” award, Lodi is recognized in good international company in the category with previous recipients including New York State, Paso Robles, Ribera del Duero, Colchagua Valley, Mendoza, Alexander Valley, Rioja, and the Rhône Valley.
For more information:
- Lodi Winegrape Commission
- Bokisch Vineyards
- Goodmills Family Winery
- Lone Grape Winery
- Omega Cellars
- Sorelle Winery