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Lodi tasting rooms double as gift boutiques

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Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 1:00 pm

Experienced wine drinkers in Lodi will tell you the best place to get a bottle of vino is right from the source: one of dozens of local tasting rooms offering the fruit of their fields. But once you’re in the winery, there’s a wider range of gift options than what you can pour in a glass.

Across from the bar, most tasting rooms offer shelves of wine-themed knickknacks, from quirky wineglasses to clever bottle openers.

At Jessie’s Grove Winery on Turner Road, you can pick up a Redneck Wine Glass. It’s made from a mason jar fixed onto a sturdy wineglass stem. Or snag a hand-knitted wine bottle cozy for the bottle you plan to give as a gift.

Try the wines at St. Jorge on Peltier Road, and they’ll send you home with a suitcase just for the bottle. Owner Janise Vierra also stocks wine glass charms hand-made from beads and silk flowers. In a display case by the front door, browse through the collection of grapevine bracelets made from crystals, glass beads and leaf charms, handcrafted by a local artist.

More local skill is showcased at Viaggio Winery on East Taddei Road. They’ve dedicated nearly a third of their tasting room to a boutique with wineglasses, bejeweled T-shirts and art made from wine bottles. They’re the creations of a Roseville company called All Bottled Up, which uses recycled wine bottles to craft windchimes, decorative vases and other collectibles.

“My favorite are the lights. They look great,” said Bryce Crump, an employee in the tasting room. The company also makes lights from oversized wine bottles and silk flowers.

If you prefer activewear over charm bracelets, head over to Cycles Gladiator on Woodbridge Road. Winery president Tony Baldini is an avid cyclist, and saw a Cycles Gladiator painting on a trip to France.

The art was no longer under copyright, so he turned it into the label for his wines and the theme of the tasting room, where you can pick up a skintight cycling shirt for long trips on your bike.

The same winery also stocks food items like olive oil, spreads and mustard.

Outlying wineries aren’t the only places with fun shops inside. Wander down School Street and stop in at the several tasting rooms there to find more wine gifts and trinkets. Get tapas to pair with Spanish inspired wines from Riaza Winery on Elm Street. They sell small jars of Marcona almonds, pico de pan (mini breadsticks) and Spanish olives.

At Dancing Fox Winery and Bakery on School Street, you can get your brick-oven-fired bread and wine all at the same place for a tasty picnic.

Jeremy Wine Co. on Pine Street is focused on local food products that pair with their wines. Caterer Deborah Sutherland makes and sells a jelly crafted from the winery’s zinfandel and albarno. They also stock honey from Pete’s Aviary in Valley Springs and toffee made by Scrump, a small company started by wine club members.

Come for the wine, and stay for the shopping.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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