Some 90 business owners from the Lodi area paid about $60 each to participate in a film promoting their business and what’s great about Lodi. The film, by Ricardo Kanakari from an Internet channel called Wine Nation TV, was scheduled to be completed by February of this year.
However, due to some health issues, Kanakari says he is behind schedule. He now plans to complete the project by the end of September, he told the News-Sentinel on Tuesday.
Some merchants and the Lodi Chamber of Commerce have been concerned about whether they’d see a return on their investment after they found that Kanakari’s phone number had been disconnected. When they called the number he gave local clients, they heard a recording: “The number you’re trying to call is unreachable.”
Kanakari admitted that he had his phone number changed in June, but failed to communicate with his clients since that time.
“I’m in Lodi. I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I do realize I’ve got people upset.”
But he plans to make amends this week.
Kanakari met with Chamber President/CEO Pat Patrick on Tuesday morning. He told Patrick and the News-Sentinel that he pledges to complete the film by the end of September.
“It’s going to be a great film,” Kanakari said. “It will include Lodi history and why people love Lodi. It has a broad cross-section of personalities.”
Kanakari also pledged to personally talk to each business owner who paid to be part of the production by Friday of this week.
Once completed, the film is scheduled to be shown on the Wine Nation TV website, and each participant will get his or her own DVD of the film, to be titled “I Love Lodi.”
Each participating merchant has the right to use their own film clip on their websites and promotional materials, and Kanakari will combine them all on DVD in the final product.
“He called on people and said, ‘The chamber endorses this,’” Patrick said. “No, we didn’t. We thought he might do a credible job promoting the Lodi wine industry in a creative way. He took his camera into restaurants and farms and interviewed owners. I saw some of the clips. They were well done.”
The video will include Lodi restaurants, gift shops, a couple of churches, an insurance agent and a real estate agent, Kanakari said.
Kanakari said he grew up in Carmichael before moving to the Monterey area during his freshman year of high school. He lived in Southern California and Sonoma before moving to Lodi in 2007. He left the community the following year, but returned to Lodi in 2011.
His background is in wine, and he has worked in Monterey, Napa, Sonoma and Lodi areas making wine and promoting wineries for 30 years. Kanakari said he discovered Lodi in the late 1990s when he purchased some Petite Sirah and Zinfandel grapes while operating a winery in Monterey.
“That’s when I fell in love with Lodi,” he said.
Kanakari runs Wine Nation TV, a web channel on YouTube that offers insight on wine, wineries and wine culture.
In addition to creating the video, Kanakari said he acquired the trademark for Tipo, a winery created in Lodi in 1906. He wants to resurrect the historic wine.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.