What touched me about Lodi, more than the delicious wines and meals our group shared, was the ethos embodied by the community of farmers and winemakers. I discovered that, what I imagined I would find, was very different from the reality of this old California wine region.
|Greg Burns & |
Old Vine Tokay
|Sue Tipton, Acquiesce|
I was touched by the walk and talk with Aaron Lange of LangeTwins Family Winery, another 5th generation of growers and winemakers, whose commitment to sustainability is made evident in the care they take of their estate vineyards by introducing and maintaining habitat restoration and conservation, renewable energy, and soil, air, and water management. The Lange family began habitat restoration in 1988 with the introduction of native plants for wildlife buffers. Today the land along the creek features a natural landscape of cattails, cottonwoods and California roses. The presence of wildlife is encouraged in the vineyards by the introduction and preservation of native grasses and trees, and the placement of nesting boxes for owls, birds, and bats. And it's beautiful.
Elyse Perry, Liz Bokisch
Layne Montgomery is the winemaker behind M2 Wines. He sources his grapes from the Soucie Vineyard to make his earthy, place-specific Zinfandel. Kevin Soucie is another 5th generation farmer, whose family's head-trained vines were planted in 1916. Both Layne and Kevin, and other winemakers as well, spoke about how special and rare it is to be able to make wines from these heritage vineyards. Layne is funny and self-deprecating, and he sent us home with a bottle of his 2016 Lodi Native Zinfandel, so we're his for life.
All too short visits with Harney Lane Winery proprietors Kyle and Jorja Lerner (4th gen winegrowers), Markus Niggli of Markus Wine Co., Fields Family winemaker, Ryan Sherman, Mohr-Fry Ranches' Bruce Fry (with a field tasting led by St. Amant Winery's Stuart Spencer), and more, left me sure that I'll return to Lodi to learn more! I'll finish with a photo that kind of sums up how we were all feeling towards the end of our short visit. Cheers!
|David Glancy, multi-tasking at|
Oak Farms Winery