Anaheim has Disneyland. Nevada has Burning Man. And Lodi? It has the Spring Wine Show.
During the annual event, the Ole Mettler Pavilion at the Grape Festival Grounds turns into a happy place for the wine-loving crowd as more than 40 wineries share their artful bottled creations, olive oil companies offer tastings and restaurants prepare hors d’oeuvres that pair with the weekend’s selections.
Next weekend’s show kicks of at the Grape Festival grounds and runs March 25 and 26. The event is also packed with live music, prizes, a basket giveaway with more than 100 bottles of wine and chances to meet the wine makers.
The Spring Wine Show is an event for both young and established wineries in the area showcase their craft.
David Lucas remembers presenting his winery, The David Lucas Winery, at one of the first Spring Wine Shows, before Lodi wineries were represented at their hometown show.
“Once upon a time, the Spring Wine Show was full of wineries throughout California,” he said. “Now, it’s all ‘Lodus’ land (Lodi).”
The increase in local wineries and winemakers who participate in the show is the biggest change Lucas has seen in the more than 30 years since the annual show kicked off.
Lucas says the wine show allows the public to meet the winemakers and growers, and to see what they’re making. Though each wine is from Lodi, they each represents a winemaker’s style and express the characteristic of a specific vineyard.
Lucas will share his Zinstar Zinfandel Chardonnay.
While Dennis Fagundes has attended the Spring Wine Show in years past, this will be his first time sharing his wine. Fagundes, who will open Cycles Gladiators Winery tasting room in Woodbridge later this year, will show at the Spring Wine Show so the community can get acquainted with the new label.
“It’s really an important event in Lodi,” he said, adding that 5,000 people will learn about his wine in just two days. “We just look forward to being here in Lodi.”
Fagundes will share Cycles Gladiators’ Pinot Grigio, Petit Sirah, Zinfandel and Chardonnay.
Mark Armstrong, general manager of the Lodi Grape Festival Grounds, says each year is a success because the wineries each bring something for the public.
“The wineries are what make the show,” he said.
This year, though, the annual wine show is spreading and celebrating the region’s other liquid art: olive oil. Lucero Olive Oil, Coldani Olive Ranch, Corto Olive Oil and Lodi Olive Oil will each offer tastings in a new special section.
And don’t worry about sipping on too much wine on an empty stomach. The food — mostly hors d’oeuvres — will be available from restaurants and caterers. Most will offer unique foods to pair with the featured wines of the event.
Negrette Enterprises’ “famous in Lodi” soft, rolled tacos (made with ground beef) are best paired with Chardonnay, says owner Josie Negrette. She and her family have been working the wine show for three decades and her tacos always sell well (tacos available for sale outside the pavillion).
“We love it because we have a lot of people come from all over to taste wine,” she said. “It’s a fun time.”
Alebrijes Mexican Bistro owner Ruben Larrazolo will be sharing scoops of his freshly made pineapple guacamole. He recommends pairing it with a nice dry Albarino.
Edible Arrangements will have a booth so visitors can taste pieces of colorful cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries, pineapple and grapes. Stop by for a chocolate-covered apple and see how different wines pair with various fruits.
Jennifer Channing, who worked for Edible Arrangements at last year’s wine show, says it’s a good way to learn what is available locally.
“It’s very fun. It’s a good way for people to experience what Lodi has to offer,” Channing said.
Contact Lodi Living editor Lauren Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.