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The Lodi Wine Guy

Jon Bjork
  • Jon Bjork
  • E-mail: wineguy@lodinews.com
  • Jon Bjork is a winery consultant, co-owner of Pantheon Cellars, producer of one exclusive Lodi Rhône-style red.
Monday 02/21/2011
Changing of the Guard

After 479 blogs, it's time to relinquish my title as "The Lodi Wine Guy," and say a final thank you to my publisher, Marty Weybret, my editor, Rich Hanner, and especially to all of you, my supportive readers.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, February 21, 2011 5:02 pm. Updated: 11:18 am. Comments (1)

Sunday 02/20/2011
Crop Size Varies for 2010 Winegrapes

Besides chocolate, the other present we in the wine biz get every Valentine's Day is a report card on grape sales and weight gain (or loss).

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Sunday, February 20, 2011 9:17 pm. Updated: 11:18 am. Comments (2)

Monday 02/14/2011
The Kidders Go Pro

The best Sauvignon blanc I'd tasted in a long time wasn't even "professionally" made. It was bottle #8104 at the annual San Joaquin County Fair Home Wine Competition made by Aaron and Linda Kidder.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, February 14, 2011 5:24 pm. Updated: 11:23 am. Comments (0)

Tuesday 02/08/2011
Doors open for Klinker Brick

Chocolate lovers will get an early trip to heaven this Saturday and Sunday during Lodi Wine Country's 14th Annual Wine & Chocolate Weekend, February 12-13. Along with over 40 Lodi wineries pouring their best chocolate-pairing wines will be Lodi's newest tasting room.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 2:32 pm. Updated: 11:23 am. Comments (0)

Tuesday 02/01/2011
State of the Art after 6,000 Years

Within 3 weeks, we've seen mankind's winemaking experience expand forward and backward thousands of years.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, February 1, 2011 11:16 am. Updated: 11:24 am. Comments (0)

Tuesday 01/25/2011
Disappearing Winemakers

There will be a dearth of winemakers in Lodi this week, due to the intense magnetic pull of new gadgets at the 17th Annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 10:32 am. Updated: 11:25 am. Comments (0)

Tuesday 01/18/2011
From Zero to 100 in Record Time

One of Lodi's newest wineries, McCay Cellars, has popped up on wine radar screens seemingly overnight.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 1:35 pm. Updated: 1:58 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 01/11/2011
Freezing Cold Broken Glass

Want to know what Lodi wineries are up to right now? They're freezing wines and pruning vines.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 5:00 am. Comments (0)

Monday 01/10/2011
More Gold

Wines made from expertly-grown Lodi grapes took 25* gold medals out of 5,050 bottlings entered into last week's 2011 S.F. Chronicle Wine Competition, billed as the "Largest Competition of American Wines in the World."

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, January 10, 2011 12:16 pm. Updated: 4:50 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 01/04/2011
A New Bubbly in Town

Throw some winemakers together for New Year's Eve and you know you're going to have a nice tasting.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 3:04 pm. Updated: 3:28 pm. Comments (0)

A Ton of Thanks

This being the beginning of a new set of 12 months, most other wine writers are coughing up their top ten lists of favorite wines.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 12:42 pm. Updated: 12:57 pm. Comments (0)

Sunday 12/26/2010
Wine by Design

What do you do with a houseful of out-of-town family on that day after New Year's?

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Sunday, December 26, 2010 10:32 pm. Updated: 11:06 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 12/21/2010
Crying over Wasted Wine

"You've got to be kidding," was my first thought upon reading a greedy recipe calling for an entire bottle of wine.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, December 21, 2010 9:28 am. Updated: 9:49 am. Comments (0)

Monday 12/13/2010
Of Spouses, Samples & Scampi

The best perk of being one of the growing army of wine bloggers is getting free "samples."

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, December 13, 2010 10:02 am. Updated: 10:15 am. Comments (0)

Tuesday 12/07/2010
Sweet and Dry

Just as a spoonful of sugar can take the bitter edge off a cup of coffee, a bit of sweetness can smooth a wine, making it palatable by one and all.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 11:19 am. Updated: 11:33 am. Comments (0)

Hunting for Wine Gifts

In my wee little days I would spend hours carefully turning pages in the newly-arrived Sears catalog toy section. I wanted Santa to know my favorite space ships, games or transport devices.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 9:45 am. Updated: 10:00 am. Comments (0)

Monday 11/29/2010
Have it all at Sorelle Winery

Sometimes a guy can have it all.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, November 29, 2010 1:22 pm. Updated: 1:24 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 11/22/2010
Defining Old Vines

I've never quite understood the age at which someone is officially "old." Seemed when I was a kid, even a 20-year-old was old. Nowadays - barely hanging onto my 40's - most growers call me young. Go figure.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, November 22, 2010 2:45 pm. Updated: 2:56 pm. Comments (4)

Friday 11/19/2010
No Apologies Necessary

About a year ago, I heard celebrity chef and winery owner Michael Chiarello say, "Never apologize for your food when you bring it to the table."

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Friday, November 19, 2010 4:56 pm. Updated: 5:01 pm. Comments (2)

Tuesday 11/16/2010
Picking a Thanksgiving Zin

For many, the thought of staring blankly at hundreds of bottles lined up on shelves and trying to pick one special wine for Thanksgiving is stupefying.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 12:13 pm. Updated: 12:29 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 11/15/2010
ML Mud Chard

"There's no way I'm drinking that!" was the response I got from one otherwise happy-go-lucky wine taster at last weekend's The First Sip. She was peering into a glass of muddy, light-brownish liquid, which was 2010 Chardonnay in the making.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, November 15, 2010 4:02 pm. Updated: 4:18 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 11/08/2010
The Good and Bad of Stuck in Lodi

This coming weekend, November 13-14, is going to be a great time to be stuck in Lodi. Back for its 4th year, The First Sip, put on by a band of local wineries known as Lodi Wine Country, will literally be the first opportunity to taste the stupendous 2010 vintage of newborn wines.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, November 8, 2010 3:21 pm. Updated: 3:38 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 11/02/2010
More Sites to Sample

You'd think crush alone would be enough to keep most wineries busy, but over the last 11 weeks, 3 new tasting rooms have opened in and around Lodi. I'll cover each in more detail in the future, but these are worth exploring now for holiday gift-giving.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 1:00 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 11/01/2010
Crush Update: Week 11

With frost on the ground, "We crushed our last 2.5 tons of Cabernet, fortified and pressed our port, pressed our Carignane. Yep. We're rapping it up," wrote Tom Hoffman of Heritage Oak Winery last Thursday.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, November 1, 2010 8:19 pm. Updated: 8:31 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 10/26/2010
Crush Update: Week 10

Saturday night's sold-out Artisan Masters Wine & Art Auction at Hutchins Street Square became an unexpected triple-play celebration of high-quality Lodi Zins, the Giants pennant win, and the end of harvest for many Lodi wineries.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 10:51 am. Updated: 11:53 am. Comments (0)

Tuesday 10/19/2010
Crush Update: Week 9

Sunday afternoon's rain amounted to about a quarter inch - not enough to spoil this excellent vintage. And while a chance of rain approaching over the next few days doesn't worry Lodi much, Napa and Sonoma growers with maybe a third of their best grapes still hanging are "kicking harvest into overdrive" this week.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 10:22 am. Updated: 11:19 am. Comments (0)

Monday 10/18/2010
Art & Zin Masters

What are now Lodi's most prized, gnarly old vine Zinfandels were mercilessly dumped 15 years ago into mass-produced sweet White Zinfandel. Any unique subtle complexities of flavors were buried in "California"-labeled jug wines.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, October 18, 2010 1:54 pm. Updated: 2:10 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 10/12/2010
Delicate Winemaking at Estate Crush

One of Lodi's most beautiful vineyards is a little 10-acre patch of Viognier planted by Steve Borra back in 1999 north of the town of Lockeford. Half circled by the Mokelumne River 7 feet below, the vines look like perfect hedge rows, sunken on their own shelf, isolated 40 feet under the rest of Borra's Gill Creek Ranch.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 4:29 pm. Updated: 7:06 pm. Comments (0)

Crush Update: Week 8

This past week, I noticed that Lodi winemakers and their cellar crews were showing obvious signs of wear after having reached the peak of harvest.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 2:21 pm. Updated: 6:22 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 10/05/2010
Crush Update: Week 7

"It was a busy week for Zin," wrote Alison Colarossi of Estate Crush, where 14 tons of Lodi's most famous grape got started on the journey to becoming wine, along with separate batches of Sangiovese, Malbec, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, October 5, 2010 2:01 pm. Updated: 2:32 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 10/04/2010
Lodi Wine on the Water

Under warm, mostly sunny skies, this Sunday, 10/10/10 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., supported by the U.S. Navy and a squadron of fighter pilots, Lodi wines will be the stars at our 2nd Treasure Island WineFest.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, October 4, 2010 2:19 pm. Updated: 2:32 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 09/28/2010
Crush Update: Week 6

I can tell harvest is in full swing when my phone stops ringing and crush beards sprout on winemakers.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 12:35 am. Updated: 1:02 am. Comments (0)

Sunday 09/26/2010
Preserving Flavors

With this week's weather threatening to crack 100˚ for days in a row, nearly-ripe white Mokelumne Glen Vineyards Gewürztraminer was facing the very real possibility of raisining and damaging sunburn.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Sunday, September 26, 2010 9:56 pm. Updated: 10:18 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 09/20/2010
Crush Update: Week 5

Tanks are filling with perhaps Lodi's final Chardonnay of the 2010 season:

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, September 20, 2010 2:45 pm. Updated: 3:15 pm. Comments (0)

Sunday 09/19/2010
Pressing Chard

A crew of about a dozen strong backs arrived at the crack of dawn to Borra's Gill Creek Ranch north of Lockeford to pick Chardonnay last Friday. When I arrived at 8:30 a.m., they were about half done filling 22 off-white half-ton plastic bins.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Sunday, September 19, 2010 4:09 pm. Updated: 4:25 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 09/14/2010
Crush Update: Week 4

Warm-enough temperatures last week kept sugars climbing in Lodi vineyards, and harvest reports pouring into my Group.LodiWineGuy.com Facebook page...

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 3:22 pm. Updated: 10:50 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 09/13/2010
The Most Important Decision

One of the biggest consumers of my time during crush is sampling winegrapes. A couple of times a week I jump in my Passat - rather than the standard winemaker-issue white pickup truck - and make the rounds of all our vineyard sources, from west Lodi, to Clements Hills, on up past the Sacramento County line.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, September 13, 2010 4:56 pm. Updated: 5:17 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 09/07/2010
Crush Update: Week 3

Lodi's 2010 crush stepped into higher gear last week as many white wine varieties sugared-up and flavored-up enough for picking.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, September 7, 2010 10:59 am. Updated: 11:26 am. Comments (1)

Monday 09/06/2010
Lodi Lands an Expert

A remote, upper-west-side vineyard has become the home to Lodi's newest exciting asset.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, September 6, 2010 5:00 pm. Updated: 6:45 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 08/31/2010
A Cube of Health

It probably won't be anytime soon that your doctor writes a prescription to be filled at a Lodi tasting room, but we seem to be getting closer.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 2:30 pm. Updated: 2:47 pm. Comments (0)

Cool Season Continues

Back in July, I predicted that the 2010 growing season would be like 2003, heat-wise. Just after posting that story, the nearly perfect match between the seasons fell apart, with 2010 chilling down more than 12% below 2003 by this last day of August.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, August 31, 2010 11:44 am. Updated: 12:01 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 08/23/2010
Many Blessings at Woodbridge

A TV news crew and lots of people with notepads and expensive cameras were on hand for last Tuesday's Blessing of the Grapes at Woodbridge Winery - the unofficial annual kick off for Lodi's harvest since Robert Mondavi purchased the winery in 1979.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, August 23, 2010 10:56 am. Updated: 11:48 am. Comments (0)

Tuesday 08/17/2010
Prepping for Crush

With August feeling more like September, it's been oddly quiet in Lodi wineries.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 2:59 pm. Updated: 8:57 am. Comments (0)

Monday 08/16/2010
Lodi's Biggest Winemaker Dinner

If there were to be a "who can party the hardest" competition in Lodi, I think the boys at Michael-David Winery would take the cake for their annual Reggae & Rhône, returning this Saturday night, August 21st, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (and probably blurring into the wee hours).

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, August 16, 2010 2:57 pm. Updated: 3:09 pm. Comments (1)

Tuesday 08/10/2010
Killer Caterpillars

What's got my goat are lousy light green caterpillars.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, August 10, 2010 10:50 am. Updated: 3:00 pm. Comments (1)

Friday 08/06/2010
Wine Cube in my Fridge

There are days when I just want a sip or two of a decent wine, but don't want to pull the cork on a whole bottle.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Friday, August 6, 2010 4:54 pm. Updated: 5:08 pm. Comments (0)

Tuesday 08/03/2010
Camp for Wannabe Winemakers

To truly understand winemaking, you've got to get your hands into grapes. If you can plunk down $400 per person, you can experience full-immersion Lodi winemaking and tasting all weekend September 25 & 26 at the first annual Taste of Lodi Wine Camp.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Tuesday, August 3, 2010 2:24 pm. Updated: 2:37 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 08/02/2010
Petite Sirah Stars at Symposium

When kid-less guys get together, the conversation can turn to Ferraris, Porsches and BMWs, or some other brand that brings on that unmistakably desire for possession.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, August 2, 2010 6:03 pm. Updated: 10:13 pm. Comments (0)

Monday 07/26/2010
ZinStars Fuse Friendships

I know I'm guaranteed a great evening when I'm sharing several bottles of fine wine for some "journalistic research" with friends over dinner.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Monday, July 26, 2010 10:01 pm. Updated: 10:12 pm. Comments (0)

Friday 07/23/2010
Purpling Up

Ripening of Lodi winegrapes continues this week as purple begins to show on the first individual berries throughout local vineyards.

Posted in The lodi wine guy on Friday, July 23, 2010 11:55 am. Updated: 12:01 pm. Comments (0)

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