Winemaking runs deep through the roots of Lodi’s rich agricultural history. For nearly seven generations, Lodi has been an unfailing producer of winegrapes, particularly for large-scale wine labels. But in the past 20 years, the greater Lodi wine region has blossomed into a burgeoning wine destination capable of producing its own award-winning wines.

“I think what makes (Lodi) both special and unique are long-time farming families who produce wine for seven generations. That’s authenticity you can’t find anywhere else in California,” said Lodi Mayor Mark Chandler.

And finally, the winemaking world has taken notice. In November, Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Lodi its 2015 Wine Region of the Year. As a result, local winemakers couldn’t be more excited to finally share with the world Lodi’s victorious viticulture.

“Right now, Lodi is absolutely on fire, working with world-class quality grapes of all different varieties,” said Camron King, executive director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission.

The incredibly cosmopolitan range of winegrapes found in Lodi defies expectations. Thanks to a more mild Mediterranean climate, here one finds eclectic varietals from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Argentina and France’s Rhone region. So while bold reds — especially Zinfandel — still rule the roost in Lodi, there is enough variety to satisfy even the most discriminating of tastes.

“It’s not just about Zinfandel anymore,” Chandler notes.

It is about personality. Having worked the land for more than 100 years, Lodi grape growers know that a personal touch is needed to create a singular product.

In Lodi, the people most familiar with the region’s grapes and soil are their wines’ greatest ambassadors. That’s why visitors are pleasantly surprised to find the winemakers themselves pouring out their glasses.

“It’s an intimate experience, to be able to enjoy wines in the company of people who make it,” Chandler said.

Those moments are actually quite common in a generous wine region such as Lodi’s. Around every corner is an unexpected and beautiful wine adventure awaiting curious travelers.

To begin an excursion, Chandler suggests starting at the Lodi Wine and Visitors center, and then strolling around Downtown Lodi into any of the 14 tasting rooms there. For King, Lodi’s events such as ZinFest and Wine & Chocolate Weekend spectacularly showcase Lodi wines’ appeal. Still other surprises await those who instead prefer to explore tucked-away tasting rooms at countryside wineries.

“Folks should come here and they’ll understand what’s so special, and they’ll become true believers once they’re here,” King said.

So come along! And savor the fruits of Lodi’s bountiful winemaking and small-town community charm.

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