Friends, this week we took a virtual trip to the well-known world of Lodi! While this beautiful region shares some traits with the Sierra Foothills, it is located closer to the Valley floor, sitting on the edge of the San Juaquin/Sacramento Delta. Though known for it’s stunning and bold Zinfandel, this viticultural area is home to over 100 varietals of grapes!
One of the incredible things about Lodi is the history… many of the vines in the area are over 100 years old! In fact, the old vine Zinfandel from Bokish (under their Tizona label) is from vines planted in 1915! The sandy soils in some of the Valley protect the vines from common pests (such as Phylloxera) which have been known to decimate vineyards.
These week we focused our sipping attention on Zinfandel. Known as Tribidrag in Croatia and Primitivo in Italy, Zinfandel is a lovely “medium” grape that can transform depending on where it’s planted and the qualities the winemaker wants to bring forward. It’s typically got medium tannin and acidity, but can have a slightly elevated alcohol, especially when planted in warm climates with great sun exposure. It first arrived in the US in the 1820s (in Long Island), but has been planted in the Lodi AVA since the 1850s.
Harney Lane 2017 Home Ranch Zinfandel
fruit forward, black cherry, smoky, cardamom, simple, italian seasoning spice packet, medium acidity, slightly elevated alcohol on the finish with balanced fruit
Tizona by Bokish 2015 Kirschenmann Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel
mushroom, cardamon, light caramel, red and dark berries, blackberry tart, balanced fruit and acid, medium/full body
When was Lodi established as an AVA? 1986
Who were the first inhabitants of the Lodi agricultural area? Miwok Native Americans
How many acres are currently planted as grapevines in Lodi? 100,000 acres
What are the 2 other names for Zinfandel grapes? Tribidrag and Primitivo
Even though there are three names for the grapes, they are genetically all exactly the same.
When was Zinfandel brought to the United States? 1820s
Zinfandel was brought to Long Island in the 1820s – that’s 200 years ago! Though some credit Agoston Haraszthy as bringing the fruit to the US, he did not.
Phylloxera decimated all of the vines in Lodi. False
Though Phylloxera was a problem for some vines in Lodi, many grapes are planted in sandy soil which does not allow the pest (root louse) to burrow. In addition, Lodi didn’t start increasing production until the late 1800s, after the majority of the Phylloxera epidemic.
Following Prohibition, when did winemaking pick back up in Lodi? 1930s
Most of the vineyards in Lodi continued to grow grapes during Prohibition and would ship them to individuals to make wine at home – a provision allowed under the Volstead Act. When repealed in 1933, those wineries picked right back up with their winemaking operations.
The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing is a program implemented in the region to support and promote sustainable end-to-end practices in the Lodi wine industry. When was it established? 2005
The program allows vineyards and wineries to be “Green Certified” by an independent 3rd party. Currently, 20% of vineyards and 30% of wineries are certified!
How many sub-AVAs does Lodi have? 7
Sloughhouse, Alta Mesa, Cosumnes River, Borden Ranch, Jahant, Clements Hill, Mokelumne River
What are the main soils found in Lodi? Sand, Clay, Stone
What kind of climate would we consider Lodi to have? Mediterranean
What is the phenomenon with warmer days and cooler nights? Diurnal Shifts
Just like us, grapes need some rest after ripening during the day. Diurnal shifts are vital in giving grapes that break at night. Lodi’s Mediterranean climate means that the warm days (some areas are slightly warmer than Napa Valley) are balanced with a cooler evening.
What are some of the common descriptors of Zinfandel? Dark berries, cinnamon, black pepper
Lodi is located on the edge of what two river deltas? Sacramento and San Joaquin
When assessing a wine, how do you first nose it? By sticking your entire nose into the glass after giving it a nice couple of swirls
By swirling the wine in the glass, aromas are released that otherwise wouldn’t be as evident just sitting still. In order to get the full perspective of those aromas, it is important to fully get your nose into the glass.
Who is the winemaker at Bokish Vineyards? Elyse Perry