You need only look at the history of the Lodi wine region to know that this part of the state was always going to be one where vineyards would flourish. When the land here was wild and uncultivated, grapes grew along the waterways, prompting one settler to give the name “Grape Creek” to what is now known as the Calaveras River. A Massachusetts native named George West arrived in the Lodi region in search of gold back in the 1850’s, but he quickly discovered that grapes and wine may be the most valuable asset the region had to offer. He built and established the El Pinal Winery in 1858, marking the first of the many Lodi wineries that were to come in the years that followed.
Despite the fact that some of the best wines in the state of California were coming from the Lodi region, it was an area that remained unknown to all but the most ardent wine connoisseur. The reason for this was down to the fact that wineries in Lodi could not state on their labels where the grapes used to create their delicious wines were harvested. That changed in 1986, when the Lodi appellation was officially approved. Almost overnight, wineries that had been operating under an air of near anonymity were suddenly considered the place to be for those that loved to sample wines.
If you are planning on visiting California wineries, and want to include the Lodi region on your travels, you should be aware that this is a region that thrives on red wine. Roughly two-thirds of the grapes grown in the region are dedicated to red wines, with Zinfandel being the one that the Lodi region is perhaps best known for. The wineries there also make a great selection of Cabernet Sauvignons, while the Lodi Syrah is a wine that is quickly beginning to rise in popularity.
Lodi is about an hour and a half northeast of San Francisco, and can be reached by taking the Highway 580 East towards Stockton. When arriving, your first stop should be at the Lodi Wine &Visitor Center, which is located on W. Turner Road. It is there will you will be able to find all sorts of valuable information about the wineries in Lodi, including the times when they will be open for tasting. You will also be able to find out about the many special events that are held in the region throughout the course of the year.
There are plenty of great places to stay and eat in Lodi, with a number of great tasting rooms located in the heart of downtown. There are also a few different limousine companies to choose from in Lodi, which is something you may want to consider if you are travelling with a group. Why flip a coin to see who the designated driver will be when everyone can get to sample all of the great wines that are made in the Lodi region. The limo drivers are very much used to wine tours, and will be able to help you select the wineries that best suit your specific tastes.