Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Young Winemakers Carry the Touch for Lodi Wines

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2016 12:00 am

Young Winemakers carrying torch for Lodi wines

By Joe Benapfl

NEWS-SENTINEL STAFF WRITER

Winemaking has thrived in Lodi for nearly seven generations, thanks in part to strong family loyalty. Yet even so, it is up to the next generation to take up the mantle of superlative winemaking. Here are three winemakers under 40 who have excelled in bringing Lodi wine to the next wave of wine connoisseurs. These interviews have been edited for length.

Adam Mettler, Winemaking Director at Michael David Winery, Winemaker at Mettler Family Vineyards

Age: 37

Q: How did you first get involved in the wine industry?

A: I am a 5th generation winegrape grower. ... I started making wine when I was in high school. I started brewing beer and my family was involved in wine. ... I worked at Michael David for 13 years.

Q: Why is Lodi such a great place to be a winemaker?

A: One great thing about Lodi is even though it’s long-standing appellation with deep, deep roots, the wine scene has really grown in the last 15 years. Especially for young winemakers, it’s a great place to be for opportunity.

Q: What are some challenges younger winemakers might face?

A: The biggest challenge would be experience. I’ve been blessed to be exposed to plenty of experience, but I can see how that might be a problem. It’s hard to react to so many of these problems when the time comes.

Q: What are some advantages to being a younger winemaker?

A: More and more young people are going to school for winemaking. ... You definitely have a lot of wine school education for winemaking, and that was not at such a high level 10, 20, 30 years ago.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about Lodi?

A: I really like the small-town feel. I grew up here, so I might have a little bias for my affinity for Lodi. ... There is no other appellation, probably in the nation, that has as much positives things going for it than Lodi.

Susan Ripken, Winemaker at Ripken Vineyards and Winery

Age: 34

Q: How did you first get involved in the wine industry?

A: I’ve been involved with wine all my life — I was born and raised as a grapegrower. ... I remember as a kid making wine and always farming and being in the trade with my dad.

Q: Why is Lodi such a great place to be a winemaker?

A: In the Lodi Appellation, some areas are cooler, some are hotter, so you can grow so many different things, and that’s what we do here at Ripken. ... Also, the farm community. I just feel that being out in the country and having freedom and working hard to play hard is one of our motivations.

Q: What are some challenges younger winemakers might face?

A: Wine is marketed more younger generations. Wine was always appointed as an older generation beverage, and now our marketing is going toward a younger crowd. I find more challenges in that direction than the winemaking aspect.

Q: What are some advantages to being a younger winemaker?

A: Not sticking to a boring label, and just doing different unique things and trying to market more through music instead of beverage events. ... And also trying to bring fun to wine.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about Lodi?

It is growing rapidly. It’s really fun to see all the wineries coming up. ... I’m a huge paddleboarder, so the Mokelumne river is a huge thing for me — water-based things are fun for me.

Laura Werter, Winemaker at Toasted Toad Cellars

Age: 30

Q: How did you first get involved in the wine industry?

A: Officially since when I turned 21 ... but I grew up making and drinking wine at a young age. At 7, my dad made wine, so I grew up drinking wine and cooking and kind of fell in love with it.

Q: Why is Lodi such a great place to be a winemaker?

A: I think the best thing about making wine in Lodi is growing all these great and different varietals. ... We’re (Lodi winemakiers) all friends, we drink together, party together and support each other. ... I worked in other regions and you don’t see that kind of camaraderie elsewhere.

Q: What are some challenges younger winemakers might face?

A: Sometimes people don’t take you seriously. A lot of times people are shocked that I’m a winemaker. ... You’re constantly trying to prove yourself.

Q: What are some advantages to being a younger winemaker?

A: Maybe the mindset. I think some of the older generation of winemakers are stuck in their ways and have done things one way for so long, and it’s tradition. I’m always looking to try new things, while also sticking to things that are tried and true. ... We are definitely into some experiments around here.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about Lodi?

A: My favorite thing is that it is a community. People are family here. ... I lived in a lot of other places and never felt like part of the community like I do here.

Poll

Loading…

Twitter

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists