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Visit to Lodi, CA

My parents, husband and 2 friends are planning a trip to wine county in Sept. of this year. My husband has never been so I want to make it exciting for him. We all love Red Zin's so we do plan to spend some time in Sonoma, maybe a day or so in Napa and then hit Lodi. Any recommendations for wineries that we shouldn't miss checking out in Lodi - or anywhere else for that matter? (planning on going to Healdsburg, don't know where in Napa yet maybe rutherford)

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  1. Everytime I hear of this city I think of that great Creedence song "Lodi"...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chicago Mike

      Yep, "Stuck in Lodi again" ... Lodi stretches in part along Interstate 5 from Sacramento to Stockton. What you see from I-5 are rows and rows of grapes, and mostly Woodbridge's work. There is little to be found in the way of tasitng room that would be considered a treat. As suggested, I'd head to Amador County.

    2. While a number of California wineries source grapes (mostly zinfandel and some petite sirah) from the Lodi area, I do not know of any wineries actually located in or near Lodi.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DavidT

        The Wine section of the SF Chronicle has a very helpful database of wineries that is available online. There is a great deal of helpful information for winery touring available there.


        Use the "Wine Country Guide" and search for Lodi

      2. David is pretty much correct. While there are a number of old Zinfandel vineyards in and around the Lodi-Woodbridge area -- from which a number of wineries purchase grapes -- it's not like there are a lot of "destination" wineries there to go visit.

        Check out http://www.lodiwine.com/

        If I were you, I'd either spend an extra day in Sonoma, or add a couple of days in the Santa Cruz Mtns.


        1. I also think your time spent in Lodi may well be disappointing. If you love Zins, you may wish to concentrate on the Dry Creek Area around Healdsburg. That could take a full two days right there. Check out the difference in the fruit flavors between the higher "hilly" Zin fruit and the lower valley fruit. Also check out the area called Rockpile, at the northwestern edge of Dry Creek. That area -- it's quite high up -- a little "island" above the fog -- produces exceptional Zin fruit. Outside of Sonoma, and to a lesser extent, Napa, the Amador County region is producing a few Zins of note --Renwood and the like. Might be worth a look-see (taste-see).

          1. Or since you are into zins, then the foothills- Amador county would be my first choice.

            The only time I have been to Lodi explicitly for wine tasting was to go to St Amant. I think they do a few good zins. But the tasting room is located in a concrete storage/warehouse park, zero atmosphere.

            Michael David has a tasting space, along with cafe and veggie stand. Their Earthquake Zin is well reviewed, but for me I can really taste the alcohol in it:

            3 Replies
            1. re: souvenir

              >>Or since you are into zins, then the foothills- Amador county would be my first choice.

              Do you prefer the Zins from Amador to those from Dry Creek or Sonoma County in general?

              1. re: maria lorraine

                Oh, no... I wasn't thinking it could be interpreted like that. I was thinking Lodi versus the foothills. A lot of my favorite zins come from Sonoma, particularly the Dry Creek and Rockpile appellations.

                Not strictly a zin, but for the last couple of years, my favorite value/everyday red wine is Marrietta's Old Vine Red $10-12 retail and around 13.5% alcohol.

              2. re: souvenir

                I agree with your appraisal of Earthquake Zin ... 'nuff said ... you might try another Lodi Zin maker - Campus Oaks 2006 "Old Vine" Zin ... a very good Zin with a nice price to boot!

              3. Lodi produces tasty zins. My favorites are Jessie’s Grove, Klinker Brick and Macchia. I’m not sure the new Klinker Brick tasting room is open yet. Macchia just opened their new one on E. Peltier Rd. on the east side of Hwy. 99. According to Mike Dunne, food/wine critic for the Sacramento Bee, ‘05 Jessie’s Grove Westwind was one of six, best-of-class zinfandels in the running for the overall red wine sweepstakes at the January 13, 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. I would stop in Lodi on my way up Hwy. 12 to the Shenandoah Valley by Plymouth, CA. where there are many very nice tasting rooms in a concentrated area. C.G. di Arie has a new tasting room near Montevina and Sobon has a little museum beside their’s. Fine dining (Taste…one of the Sac. area‘s best), BBQ (Incahoots) or a good Italian deli with gelato (Amador Vintage Market) are all available in Plymouth.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BN1

                  I totally second Jessie's Grove. What a great little winery - homey and welcoming, with fantastic wines. When we were there, they had a "mystery wines bin" where wines were $5 a bottle, but the bottles were in paper bags so you didn't know what you were getting. The reason they did this was that they misbottled some wines and had to put them on clearance (white wines in green bottles, red wines in clear bottles instead of other way around). It was a steal and we still regret not having picked up more of these mystery bottles.

                2. In Healdsburg go to Rosenblum.

                  If you love Zin, in Sonoma, the other places I would go would be Carlisle, Hartford, Martinelli, and Rafanelli. I'd contact Thomas Rivers-Brown who runs all over wine country making great wines, including Outpost Zins (which I think are Napa) and see if he can taste you on some wines, too. In Napa for Zin I'd check out Robert Biale.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: whiner

                    re: Rosenblum . . .

                    While they do have a tasting room in Healdsburg, it should probably be noted the winery itself is in Alameda, California and is also open for tasting. The tasting room is off the square in Healdsburg at 250 Center St.. The winery is on Alameda, at 2900 Main St.

                    Go while you can. It's too early for Diageo to screw anything up, so enjoy!


                    1. re: whiner

                      I don't believe Carlisle has a public tasting room.

                      Other options out of Healdsburg ->
                      - Seghesio's winery is 2 minutes out of Healdsburg and nice for a visit even though their wines are pretty widely available now.
                      - I very much liked the zins at Bella (Dry Creek) when we visited this past summer. Also up that way you'll find Preston (all organic, several varietals including zin), Unti, and several others.
                      - I liked the zin (and the pinot and syrah) at Porter Creek down Westside Road. Also along that way you'll find Rochioli (very few wines if any available to taste), Gary Farrell (tried their pinot but not their zin this summer) and several others.
                      - swing back toward highway 101 on River Road and you'll run into Martinelli, producer of (in)famous big, high-alcohol zins. Don't expect to find any Jackass Hill Vineyard to taste or for sale but they will usually have a few bottles of something in the tasting room.

                      1. re: Frodnesor

                        Frodnesor--Porter Creek does not produce zin. We were there last year and purchased pinot, syrah and carignane; no zin.

                        1. re: Philly

                          They may not have had any available when you were there, but they most definitely make an old vine zin and I've got some in my cellar. Even reviewed by Tanzer if you have access ->


                            1. re: Philly

                              Philly - yes I know it's not on their website . I also know I've got some 2005 Porter Creek Old Vine Sonoma County Zinfandel sitting in my cellar which I bought at the winery this summer. I just had a bottle a couple weeks ago, here's my TN ->

                              "Dark translucent ruby color. Nose of ripe bing cherry, with some interesting flowery notes emerging after about an hour. After several hours a more meaty note emerged. In the mouth, it's got rich cherry, raspberry/blackberry fruits, with some acidity on the finish to lift it. Not overripe or overwrought with nice balance. Lacking the bramble or black pepper notes I like to find in a zin though."

                              Since you're clearly a skeptic, I've already given you a link to a published review of the wine on the Stephen Tanzer website (which is subscriber access only). If you think I've made that up, do a search on winesearcher.com ->


                              (very limited availability and not the '05).

                              Or go to cellartracker.com and do a search ->


                              Or just continue to disbelieve me, that's fine by me too.

                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                Not a skeptic, Frodnesor. I'm just responding to the OP, who seems to be looking for zins, that they will not find it at Porter Creek this September; for tasting or purchase.

                                1. re: Philly

                                  At least we've gone from "they do not produce zin" to "you will not find it." I was just there in August '07and the '05 zin was available for tasting and purchase at the winery, and I did both. They presumably had sold through the '05 by the time you visited. Everything is small production and they had no carignane when I was there.

                                  I would not be surprised if by September an '06 release will be available. Since Tanzer has reviews of several vintages of zin it would seem they do in fact regularly produce a zin.

                                  Note that their website is not exactly up to date - they are still only showing '04 chard and pinot, and '01/'02 syrah.

                                  1. re: Frodnesor

                                    I suspect that -- unless the winery did indeed stop producing Zin with the 2006 vintage -- that you are correct . . . it may indeed be available this coming September.

                                  2. re: Philly

                                    Porter Creek produces zin; a very good one at that and my latest shipment included the '06.

                                    Nobody is trying to pull the wool over your eyes; we're just attempting to provide you with accurate information.

                                    As Frodnesor notes, relying on their outdated website isn't a good idea.

                                    1. re: vinosnob

                                      My point when I posted 9 months ago is that on my last visit to PC they did not have a zin available for tasting or purchase. Thanks for weighing in.

                      2. Thank you all for your input and advice!!!