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Camron King: Lodi wine region looks to future with nod to the past

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Posted: Saturday, April 5, 2014 12:00 am

I have been told — many times over — something that I already know: Lodi is a great community. I hear this from residents, visitors, writers and fans, among many others.

One of the many roles we serve at the Lodi Winegrape Commission is to help tell the Lodi wine story and ensure that others throughout the state, country and world know about the beauty that is the Lodi winegrowing region.

It’s an easy story to tell. Lodi is home to beautiful vineyards, world-class wineries and a wonderful community with deep heritage and traditions. These attributes are complemented with a strong sense of leadership and entrepreneurialism that continue to drive our winegrape growers and vintners forward.

I have the opportunity to interact with writers — wine, lifestyle, travel and others — from all over the country, consumers and buyers from around the globe and politicians at all levels. Each and every one of these groups who have visited Lodi or who have interacted with wine community members in other parts of the world are always impressed with how well our sense of community comes through in what we say, how we act, and the ways in which we work together.

Our sense of community is not limited to the winegrowing circle alone, but extends to our local businesses and to people working within the community and others visitors come in contact with along the way. There’s no doubt that Lodi’s sense of community is strong!

As our wine region continues to garner increased recognition throughout the world and more and more people discover Lodi, it is crucial for us to embrace and continue to maintain and grow our spirit of community and hospitality. It is also incumbent upon everyone who has an impact on our growth and success as a region and community to embrace this spirit. We all stand to benefit when we “sing from the same songbook.”

What this means is that when Lodi as a whole is recognized as an authentic and genuine place to be — with world-class wine offerings from phenomenal vineyards — people will continue to seek our products, and will visit and patronize our businesses. It is important to maintain our personality while allowing for our businesses and community to flourish.

Over the past 20 years, the Lodi wine region has grown and developed in a significant way. Winegrapes are now the dominant crop in terms of value in the region and the economic impact of our vineyards and wineries — coupled with the sales and revenue generated by visitors to our restaurants, hotels and businesses — is vital to our community’s ability to continue to maintain its personality, growth and success.

The reality is that the factor which will allow Lodi to continue to grow and prosper is exactly the unique personality that it has embodied for generations — a willingness to pay homage to tradition and the ability to look to the future.

As we grow together as a region, let us all continue to work together to develop our strong sense of community, and to welcome visitors and guests with open arms as we simultaneously embrace Lodi’s potential to be what we all already know it is: A great place to live, work and enjoy great wine!

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