Lodi, tucked between the California coast and Sierra Nevada Mountains, is perhaps best known for its wine grapes. The area has long been a supplier of grapes for wineries throughout California, but in recent years, the grapes are being grown for production of fine wines.
Here, roots run deep. Many grape growers in this region are fifth generation. They’ve passed down their knowledge and their grapes have attracted more than 85 wineries and 300 wine labels to the region. However, this “Zinfandel Capital of the World” attracts its fair share of visitors as well.
Wine & Roses Hotel
What used to be an estate at the start of the 20th century is now home to more than 60 chic guestrooms and suites spread over seven acres. Wine & Roses owners Russ and Kathryn Munson are the ultimate hosts and truly enjoy welcoming visitors from around the world. Thick and varied landscaping create the ultimate hideaway resort. Ivy climbs the exterior of the main house and lush gardens surround it. Live music is offered all days of the week. The hotel offers many packages and options for guests. No two rooms are alike. Don’t miss the food here – it’s terrific. To find out more, visit winerose.com.
Fun to Do
San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum
The San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum consists of 12 buildings – eight exhibition buildings and four historic buildings on 18 acres – that tell the story of San Joaquin County. Visitors can see Lodi’s original claim-to-fame Flame Tokay grapes growing onsite. Tokay grapes were once a cash crop for Lodi, but now are nearly forgotten. The Tokay grape is a seeded crisp fruit and was widely popular in vineyards in the early 1900s, but as consumers’ tastes for seedless grapes grew, the Flame Tokay’s demand came to an abrupt halt. Read more at sanjoaquinhistory.org.
Cecchetti Olive Oil Co.
The property that Cecchetti Olive Oil Co. sits on was purchased by owners who were originally unsure of how to best make use of the land. As they stood looking up at the trees one windy day, they stared in wonder as olives began falling down. The answer they had been looking for lay high in the trees as their Mission olives proved to be excellent producers of extra virgin olive oil. The first harvest took place in 2006 and since then, the rest is history. To find out more, visit cecchettioliveoil.com.
Stop by this charming cheese shop to browse their impressive selection of cheeses from around the world – 80 to 100 varieties to be exact. Owner Cindy Della Monica should be hosting a show on the Food Channel – she is so entertaining, fun and knowledgeable! While browsing, visitors are encouraged to taste it all as Cheese Central works to ensure no shopper leaves without something they love. Or, for those interested, sign up for a culinary classes in Cheese Central’s Grand Central Kitchen to learn even more. Cheese 101 is their most popular class, but other classes like bread making are offered as well. Not only are the classes informative, but you are guaranteed to have a good time with their passionate and personable instructors. To find out more, visit cheesecentrallodi.com.
Downtown Bicycles Lodi
Looking for a fun way to get from winery to winery? Consider biking your way through the wine country! At Downtown Bicycles Lodi you can hop on a bike and ride off into the sunset. Route maps are available for those interested. To find out more, visit downtownbicycleslodi.com.
If it’s tranquility you seek, then look no further than Micke Grove Park. Three acres of green space have been transformed with the help of cherry trees, a koi pond and tea house pavilion. Built to help heal wounds left from war, you will find aspects of Buddhism, Taoism and Shintoism all represented in the garden.
A&W Root Beer
Did you know? Nearly a century ago, A&W started out as a root beer stand in Lodi! While their recipe consisting of 21 different herbs, berries and barks may be kept under lock and key, their famous frosty mugs are certainly no secret. Step back in time at Peter Knight’s Lodi location, 216 E Lodi Ave., to try a frosty mug of root beer for yourself!
The downtown area is filled with restaurants, shops and galleries. Certainly memorable are the Walldog Murals. A group of artists called the Walldogs painted nine colorful murals throughout downtown, depicting scenes of Lodi’s history. Lodi’s classic Mission Arch, topped with a 23-karat, gold-leaf-covered state bear, is a beloved focal point of the downtown area. Tony Segale owns the Double Dip Gallery where art is for sale along with ice cream. You can satisfy two desires at once! There are more than a dozen wine-tasting rooms downtown, but be sure to visit Jeremy Wine Co., a former bank and courtyard where live music joins a lovely selection of wines. There is also a science museum, some great gift shops and a popular theater where a variety of performances are offered.
Acquiesce is the only all-white winery in Lodi; they do one thing and they do it well. Their first year in production they sold out and the trend seems to have continued. Each year most of their wine is sold out by November and sales pick up again in March. To find out more, visit acquiescevineyards.com.
Michael David Winery
Fifth-generation grape growers, brothers Michael and David Phillips, now own and operate their own winery. The two come from a long line of farmers who have grown grapes in Lodi for close to one hundred years. What started as a fruit stand is now a functional winery with a tasting room, bakery, market and cafe’. To find out more, visit michaeldavidwinery.com.
Also fifth-generation grape growers, the vineyards found at Klinker Brick were planted in the early 1900’s. Grapes grown here were once harvested and shipped out, but in 2000, all that changed when the owners began making their own wine. Now the grapes grown are used exclusively at Klinker Brick where they specialize in Old Vine Zinfandel. Their Old Ghost Vine Zinfandel is one of the best in the region! To find out more, visit klinkerbrickwinery.com.
Mettler Family Vineyards
The Mettler Family Vineyards is a family operation with sixth- and seventh-generations working here. Although the vineyards were planted in the 1800’s, it would not be until 2001 that their first wine was released – a Cabernet Sauvignon which is now their specialty. To find out more, visit mettlerwine.com.
There are many wineries in the area, enough to fill a week of visiting and tasting. Some favorites are: Harney Lane Winery, Bokisch Vineyards, m2 Wines, Macchia Wines, the St. Jorge Winery and Oak Farm Vineyards. Oak Farm is stunning. A gorgeous tasting room looks out to the fields, magnificent old oak trees and the historical home, from 1876, of owner/winemaker Dan Panella and his family.
Plan your trip today! Visit visitlodi.com for more.
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