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Wine & Chocolate event this weekend in Lodi is a celebration of art as well

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Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:01 am, Sat Feb 12, 2011.

This weekend marks the 14th annual Wine & Chocolate event, but the two-day celebration is about more than just sweets and vino.

LangeTwins Family Winery in Acampo is hosting an art show showcasing three professional photographers. m2 Winery on East Turner Road invited an artist to paint a piece live in front of guests. Boitano Family Wines in Lockeford is offering "Mom's special cheese balls with crackers," and Omega Cellars on North Highway 88 is serving Greek-themed food such as marinated pork souvlaki and chocolate-covered baklava. And three wineries are coordinating to host a chocolate-chili cookoff.

The two-day event features more than 40 wineries across Lodi offering barrel tastings, live music and wine cellar tours. Of course, as the name implies, decadent chocolates and wine pairings will be available during the weekend event as well. Although it's a celebration of sweets, wineries are also offering savory dishes and items that appeal to other senses, and a marketing official for the Lodi Winegrape Commission said that's just the way it should be.

"We encourage them to get creative," said Shannon Harbert, marketing coordinator for the Lodi Winegrape Commission. "The more creative they get, the more people will want to choose them."

One feature Harbert is excited about is the chocolate-chili cookoff competition between Harney Lane Winery, d'Art Winery and Heritage Oak Winery. The competition is a friendly contest between the three wineries that will enable guests to vote on their favorite.

Charlene Lange, public relations manager for LangeTwins Winery, met three photographers at a winetasting event in Houston and invited them to come out.

The event, titled "Lifestyle, Nature Shapes & Texture," will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and feature the photography of Fatima Donaldson, Brenda Lindstrom and Serena Lissy.

"Photographing during harvest let us offer artistic perspectives of everyday work," Donaldson said.

Once Lange met the photographers, she knew she wanted to see more of their work.

"It was kind of a fluke that we met," said Lange. "But we jumped at the chance to get them out here."

The trio graduated from the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and have spent the past several years working as professional photographers. Last year, the trio of photographers visited the Langes and toured the Lodi area during winegrape harvest, gathering pictures of the region. The art show will feature more than 70 pieces between the three artists. Their work is a collection of shots from wildlife preserves, farms, cities and caves from around the country, as well as the art taken in and around Lodi. m2 Winery is also hosting an art event of its own during the weekend. Lake Tahoe artist Reds Regan will perform a live painting production and display his artwork at the winery. His performance will feature him starting with a blank 10-foot canvas on Saturday and working to complete the piece by Sunday evening.

How Wine & Chocolate works

More than 40 wineries will be participating in the weekend event. Each ticket purchase includes an event wine glass, commemorative chocolate tin, and event wristband which must be worn by participants both days.

Inside some of the tins are gifts and prizes. The grand prize is a golden ticket which awards the lucky couple a two-night stay at Wine & Roses Spa and Resort, two spa sessions and two tickets to Zinfest.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online at www.lodiwineandchocolate.com. Phone orders can also be placed at 365-0621, or tickets can be purchased in person at the Lodi Wine and Visitor's Center, 2545 W. Turner Road, before 5 p.m. today. After the deadline, the price increases to $55 each.

Participants are responsible for transportation, and designated driver tickets are free of charge. Parties of 10 or more are encouraged to call the wineries they are planning to visit in advance so proper preparations can be made. For more information, visit www.lodiwineandchocolate.com.

About the artists

Brenda Lindstrom — Originally from Washington state, Lindstrom's favorite photography subjects are nature and wildlife. Her background is in business and education, but she wanted a career that used more of her creative skills. However, teaching remains important to her, and Lindstrom plans to teach workshops at Rocky Mountain School of Photography this summer.

Showing that an artist has no time for sentimentality, Lindstrom is also offering a signed photograph she took while at school. The photograph came from her first assignment, but Lindstrom she knows she has to be willing to part with her work in order to thrive.

"You can't be sentimental if you need to make the bucks," she said.

Camera of choice: Canon 50D, but looking to upgrade.

Website: www.brendakayimagery.com.

Fatima Donaldson — The specialist in macro, lifestyle and travel photography said she doesn't enjoy photographing people because she sees them all the time. If she is photographing people, she prefers to capture them in their natural element rather than having them pose. Donaldson founded Fala Creative, a marketing and advertising agency, in 1999. She wanted to practice photography all her life, but said she was discouraged by people who said it wasn't a real profession. However, the passion remained throughout Donaldson's life, and she finally went for it in recent years.

"I realized I'm 5 foot 1 inch tall, and I'm as grown up as I'm going to be — so I may as well go for it," she said.

Camera of choice: Nikon D300S.

Website: www.fatimaphotography.com.

Serena Lissy — This artist specializes in interior design and product photography. She enjoys traveling and taking photographs of modern, residential architecture. Some places she's enjoyed photographing are homes in La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe. She stays motivated by always looking to top her last photograph, and said her favorite picture is the one she will take tomorrow. Lissy enjoys working with Donaldson and Lindstrom because their skills complement each other, she said.

"We can take three different pictures of the same thing, and each one will be different because of our perspective," she said.

Camera of choice: Canon 5D Mar2.

Website: www.serenalissy.com.


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  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 5:35 pm on Sun, Feb 13, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Regardlessof WHO it is, people who drive drunk should be arrested...( plus additional severe consequences)

    I couldn’t agree more with this sentiment and I am glad Joe made the point. Unfortunately, in United States, celebrities and people of influence are held to a different standard many times. I think all these posts here on this subject are thoughtful and have merit. Regardless of how severe this problem is, it is a problem.
    I understand in Japan, they use “public embarrassment” as a tool to deter crimes. Maybe Lodi should establish a web site, similar to the state “sex offender site”, where a picture and location of the offender (DUI)is on line to review ( no favoritism or preferential treatment to anyone). Nothing like shining the light on truth to make things better.

  • Josh Morgan posted at 6:03 pm on Sat, Feb 12, 2011.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    I don't think I've ever seen so many limousines in my life as i did today in Lodi.

  • Charles Nelson posted at 12:57 pm on Sat, Feb 12, 2011.

    Charles Nelson Posts: 258

    I too have poured at these events, and I wouldn't put the number of intoxicants to be anywhere near 50%. This particular event forces people to have a break between tastings. The events with the highest number of those over drinking are the ones under one roof. The wine booths are only a few feet apart, so no reason for waiting between tastes. If the city and county law enforcement started detaining all tourists in search of a few people over indulging, they would create a negative atmosphere that would surely put a damper on all future events. Lodi is becoming a tourist destination because of the wine industry and little else. Some people have a hard time accepting the fact that some people can drink without getting drunk, or becoming an alcoholic. Iam not condoning drinking and driving, but I don't think that local law enforcement needs to dedicate a significant amount of their budgets and manpower to hassle the tourists. I would think that just paying more attention during these events would suffice.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:36 pm on Fri, Feb 11, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    I agree, Mr. Baxter. The sponsors of these events should be responsible for providing designated drivers or alternate transportation for those who overly imbibe. Those watering holes just aren't next door to one another and many of those who attend these events are much more than simply wine tasters or sippers, some just alcoholics in denial that think drinking wine is merely socially acceptable. Having poured many wine tasting events in the mid to late 90's, I can assure you that at least 50% are at or over the legal limit before the afternoon is even over, the good winos much earlier. I just don't agree that people drink distilled spirits, wine or beer because it tastes good, but to get that buzz on to get high and make them feel socially acceptable. After years of alcoholism and now years of sobriety and working with those who are still addicted to alcohol or drugs, to many it's just an escape from reality and the need to be accepted by a group that's as buzzed as they are, or worse.

  • Joe Baxter posted at 1:05 pm on Fri, Feb 11, 2011.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1799

    Mr. Chaney...I don't drink alcohol at all but I know folks who do these kind of events. Everyone I know has a designated driver or pays for alternate transportation and never drive after drinking.
    Regardlessof WHO it is, people who drive drunk should be arrested.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 11:39 am on Fri, Feb 11, 2011.

    Doug Chaney Posts: 1232

    Shouldn't these events inspire LPD to have their DUI checkpoints at Lower Sacramento and Turner Road? The Highway Patrol and SJ county sheriff''s department should also have maximum enforcement in the Lodi area on the same day and time, too? These wine events that require drinkers to drive from location to location should be heavily enforced if the city of Lodi and LPD are so concerned about REALLY issuing DUI's and keeping impaired drivers off the roads, shouldn't they? Oh, but they may snare one of the local well-connected or good old boy alcoholics, or even one without a proper license or insurance, so I guess these drinking and driving events will continue while the DUI checkpoints will continue to target those poorer and illegal residents that reside in the older parts of Lodi. Have you ever read or heard of any Lodi good old boy being issued a ticket, especially a DUI, in this biased Sentinel? I doubt you ever will, either. Thanks Fred, Marty and Rich for protecting the real alcoholics of Lodi, CA.



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