German winemaker started Lodi wine industry
This 1935 photograph shows Lodi Winery, Inc., off Woodbridge Road by the railroad tracks north of Lodi. At the time, the Lodi Winery was a cooperative with 124 members and 700,000-gallon capacity, but it began as the Urgon Winery, which was one of the first wineries to begin crushing in Lodi in 1900. (Photo courtesy of Ralph Lea)

Before 1900, Lodi grape growers did not have a lot of options. They either sold their crop on the fresh market or hauled their grapes to George West's El Pinal Winery northeast of Stockton. West was the valley's pioneer winemaker in operation since 1858 and was the only winery in the region.

In 1900, Lodi's wine industry began when a 38-year-old German native came to town.

Recommended for you