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).
The Phillips brothers saw the potential for greatness in growing French Rhône-derived winegrape varieties, such as Syrah and Petite Sirah, over 25 years ago. That foresight is now starting to pay off in rising sales and critical recognition for their Petite Petit, 6th Sense Syrah and Earthquake bottlings.
This Saturday the spotlight will be on the latest releases of two Rhônes designed to party: the 2008 Incognito red and 2009 Incognito white blends.
The new red is built around a core of Syrah, Carignane and even some of Lodi's oldest Bechthold 1885 Vineyard Cinsault, with 5 other reds thrown in for good measure.
The new white is mostly the true Rhône Viognier masking a fifth of Chardonnay, along with some Roussanne - the grape the Phillips brothers thought they were bottling years ago before finding out it was really Viognier - hence the name Incognito.
Local favorite Chef Julio Camberos Jr., owner of Califas Café Bistro and Black Tie Gourmet Catering will close down his restaurant for the day to focus on preparing a Caribbean-style feast with such delectables as Conch Fritters, Coconut Shrimp, Plantain Chips, Ital Peleau, Seafood Jambalaya and Barbequed Ribs.
Live, authentic Reggae music is being flown in fresh from Jamaica in the form of the Grammy-nominated trio known as "The Itals." Along with their hit, "In A Disya Time," they've laid down 9 albums with that unmistakable syncopated island beat.
Lighting is provided courtesy Fire Pixie of Oakland, who will breathe fire and eat it while performing dancing acrobatics. (I'm wondering if Tiki torches will be lit with 16% alcohol Earthquake.)
Reggae & Rhone is being held on the spacious grounds of Phillips Farms at 4580 W. Highway 12, near Flag City. Tickets are $65 per person and are going fast at 209-368-7384 or michaeldavidwinery.com.