Lodi banker John Tudor, former Lodi resident Carol Padden and Van Ruiten Winery were honored at last week’s annual Visit Lodi! tourism luncheon.
“It is the efforts of people like these that make Lodi successful as a tourism destination,” Visit Lodi! CEO Nancy Beckman said at the luncheon.
“One of the common characteristics that we have seen with our award winners over the years — and this year is no different — is that they have a bigger vision of what Lodi can be as a tourism destination,” Beckman said. “They understand that tourism doesn’t just support their business, but that it supports the greater community, and they are willing to support the tourism movement.”
Here’s more about each of the honorees:
Van Ruiten Winery
Named Winery of the Year, the winery on West Highway 12 is owned by John and Ann Van Ruiten and run by president and general manager Bill Rogan.
Van Ruiten Old Vine Zin was named the best Zinfandel in the nation in 2009 by the Wall Street Journal, Beckman said.
The Van Ruitens purchased a neglected Zinfandel vineyard in the 1950s and now farm more than 1,000 acres. They are a partner in the cellardoor, a tasting room in Downtown Lodi, and participate in many wine-related events as well as fundraisers for groups like Support Our Troops and the Child Abuse Prevention Council.
Padden, a longtime Lodi resident who recently moved to Davis, won the Host-at-Home Award for her efforts to bring a social group for a Lodi conference.
A member of the Delta Theta Tau Sorority, Padden arranged for 80 hotel rooms to be filled for the 2 1/2-day convention at the Holiday Inn Express last November, Beckman said. Guests came from as far away as Oregon, Washington and Arizona. The group generated more than $45,000 in hotel rooms, meals, wine tours and other expenditures from the sorority, Beckman said.
Padden said she got the idea to bring the convention to Lodi after reading Beckman’s announcement in the News-Sentinel describing how Visit Lodi! works with local residents to bring their association conferences, small meetings and social events to Lodi.
John Tudor, vice president and relationship manager at the Lodi branch of Umpqua Bank, has brought numerous group events to Lodi, including Knights of the Vine, a nationwide organization promoting American wines. He also arranged for Umpqua to have its regional meeting in Lodi and volunteered at several wine events including A Taste of Lodi, Lodi Street Faire and School Street Stroll.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.