The about-to-be-discovered “Lodi Wine Country” is one of California’s major winegrowing regions but maintains a low profile. Lodi is characterized by rural atmosphere where wineries and farms run by 4th and 5th generation families operate in tandem with a new group of vintners who have brought creative winemaking and cutting–edge technology to the region.
The Lodi American Viticultural Area (AVA) was recognized by the federal government in 1986, and seven smaller AVAs within the Lodi area were added in 2005.
Lodi leads the state in its commitment to sustainable agriculture and has demonstrated this by establishing Lodi Rules™ in 2005, California’s first third-party sustainable winegrowing program. As the first in California, Lodi Rules™ serves as a model for many wine regions that are now adopting sustainable winegrowing programs.
The Lodi AVA has about 100,000 acres of winegrapes, farmed by more than 750 growers, many of whose families have grown grapes for a century or more. The region’s annual yield of nearly 750,000 tons of grapes in 2012 was valued at $500 million and comprised 19 % of California’s total wine grape production.
The recommended introduction to Lodi Wine Country is the Lodi Wine and Visitors Center operated by the Winegrape Commission. A fascinating experience for anyone interested in grapes or wine, the Center features an expansive tasting bar offering a wide selection of regional wines, an educational demonstration vineyard, and a gift shop stocked with handcrafted products and Lodi giftware. The well-trained staff lead guests through a guided tasting of the region’s wines, from the nearly 80 local vintners.