Let the wine pour and the glasses clink as the Valentine’s Day festivities begin early during Lodi’s Wine and Chocolate Weekend today and Sunday.
Over the weekend, more than 40 participating wineries will open their cellars and tasting rooms for wine tasting, live music, photos and food. A few wineries in Galt, Clements and Manteca will join in the fun.
Bands ranging from rock to country music, including Group Therapy, Skouts Honor and the Blue Collar Men, will provide live entertainment for the weekend.
According to Jenny Heitman, marketing director of the Lodi Wine Grape Commission, Lodi Wine and Chocolate Weekend is one of Northern California’s favorite Valentine’s Day events.
“It’s the ultimate weekend of indulgence for everyone interested in the pairing of wine and chocolate. Anyone who attends can also experience the passion of the wine makers,” she said.
At their first winery destination, attendees will trade in tickets for wristbands, a complimentary wine glass, and a special chocolate treat, which may have a golden ticket inside to win special prizes.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. people will visit the Downtown tasting rooms and countryside wineries of their choice — but will need designated drivers to get around. Fortunately, designated drivers receive free admission and a special wristband that gives them access to any of the non-alcoholic treats offered at each location, which range from sliders to chocolate-covered bacon.
Although rain is expected over the weekend, Heitman says that weather will not ruin the fun. The event has already sold 300 more tickets than last year, and more than 5,700 people are expected to attend.
Wineries have have already rented additional tents and made other preparations for the rain.
“In my opinion, this kind of weather is perfect for enjoying a glass of red wine,” Heitman said.
Tickets cost $55 at the door at any participating winery. For more information visit www.lodiwineandchocolate.com.