From a growing Central California Coast superstar to small but international star in New York to … Lodi? “Stuck in Lodi” might have a whole new meaning.
Paso Robles won as the top wine region of the world two years ago and New York, including the beautiful Finger Lakes District was the reigning winner, and now Lodi of the California Central Valley has been acknowledged as the current number one wine region by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. They beat such renowned locations as the Russian River Valley California, Sicily Italy, Marlborough New Zealand and Walla Walla Washington.
Lodi is more known to the public for a Creedence Clearwater Revival song from the late ’60s; however, going back to before Prohibition, grapes have been a part of the history of this low lying flat land at the northern edge of the San Joaquin Valley for a couple centuries.
Although it lies roughly two hours east of the Pacific Ocean in what normally is a hot almost semi-arid valley, actually Lodi’s weather is influenced by the Bay Area’s immense northern back bay and the many tributaries that run into it from the San Joaquin Delta. This allows for more cooling in the evenings along with the winds that drive that air east – in-turn giving wine grapes a larger diurnal with a needed respite from the hot summer days.
Mondavi & more
Lodi is home to famed grape grower, Robert Mondavi, who is one of the more prominent and influential winemakers in the United States. The town now is known in part for popular events like the Taste of Lodi and Zinfest.
With over 100,000 acres and 750 growers, Lodi supplied many of the grapes, including Zinfandel, for other wineries outside of the region, but now has made a name for itself. And Lodi received this honor and acclaim in a year of continued drought and awful weather that included a devastating hailstorm this past April.
Lodi may have been previously known for their lower end and production wines. However, without any airs – similar to Paso Robles – the Lodi area has many rogue wineries where rules are thrown out and experimentation offers up great wines. The region also grabbed the attention of the wine bloggers conference, which will be in Lodi next August. So regardless of whether or not the area is as scenic as many of their California brethren, Lodi is becoming a destination stop for wine lovers. With this worldwide recognition by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, expect that draw to continue for years to come.
Daryle W. Hier
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