Tegan Passalacqua, the vineyard manager of the esteemed Turley Wine Cellars, calls it "one of the last of the great dry farmed vineyards in Lodi." Jillian Phoenix, the former winemaker of Bonny Doon Vineyards and current winemaker/owner of Phoenix Ranch in Napa Valley, calls it "a magical vineyard," planted with Cinsault grapes that are "by far the most interesting I have ever worked with in California."
We're talking about the Bechthold Vineyard, the oldest continuously farmed vineyard in Lodi, consisting of 25 acres of gnarled head trained vines. Originally planted in 1885 by Joseph Spenker, this venerated vineyard is not only alive and well, it is highly productive and lovingly cared for; an amazing thing because, up until eight years ago, its star-bright fruit was unwanted, unvalued and virtually homeless.
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