Lodi is becoming increasingly popular as a summer destination for tourists.
As its reputation as a major hub for wine enthusiasts continues to grow, tourists are choosing Lodi for summer getaways.
“Summer is a peak visitation time for Lodi,” Visit Lodi President and chief executive officer Nancy Beckman said. “It is not unusual to see hotel occupancy increase 10-15 percent or more during these months.”
According to Beckman, Lodi hosts many events throughout the summer including art shows, car shows, beer festivals, music events, kayaking events and more.
However, while these events are great visitor draws, it is the city’s reputation as a premiere wine country destination that sustains year-round visitation.
“The bottom line is that we are a wine country destination. Our wineries are our claim to tourism fame. That is our draw to the area,” Beckman said.
Stuart Spencer, executive director of the Wine Grape Commission, agreed with Beckman’s comments.
“Lodi continues to get more and more on people’s radar as a wine country destination, and we are seeing year after year traffic increases,” Spencer said. “People are continuing to come from farther and farther away to the area, and we’re seeing people from all across the country that are coming to Lodi regularly to taste wine.”
According to Spencer, the summer months historically tend to be quieter as most major wine events are held in the spring and fall.
However, the number of visitors during the week is expanding, he said.
“We’re seeing increased traffic now compared to previous years,” Spencer said. “Even though we aren’t hosting any large regional events, many of the wineries continue to put a lot of activities at their properties that are also bringing people into the area,” Spencer said.
This summer has been really busy for Tricia Descent, owner of the Poppy Sisters Inn Bed and Breakfast.
“They’re here for everything,” she said. “A lot of people are here for weddings and wine tasting. I get a fair amount of business from my neighborhood, a lot of locals who have family coming in for events. I’ve been surprised at how many local folks are using the Inn to house family.”
According to Craig Forrest, the owner of Bordeaux Inn, the bed and breakfast was really busy between April and June, but now that July has hit, things have seemed to quiet down a little bit.
However, last July and August they had solid bookings and Forrest anticipates the same for this year.
“From experience, I think what people are doing in July and August is they’re waiting to make their vacation plans the week before they go somewhere or a day or two before they go somewhere,” Forrest said.
Visits from business travelers remain steady throughout the year, an aspect of Lodi tourism that seems to fall under the radar, Forrest said.
“No matter what month of the year it is, travelers come in to say one or two nights,” Forrest said. “Usually they are single travelers. They’ve come to San Joaquin County for work reasons. They’re consultants or they have contracts. They want to see clients, and they don’t want to stay in Stockton or Sacramento.”
Forrest pointed out that international travelers also play a role in Lodi’s growing tourism.
Forrest said he gets guests from the United Kingdom every month and occasionally from Asia.
Forrest also draws guests from the Bay Area, Reno, Southern California and Oregon.
According to Forrest, Greater Lodi has over 100 offerings for bed and breakfast and vacation rentals for those visiting the area.
However, Lodi is sill underserved when it comes to lodging for the tens of thousands of people that visit Lodi annually, Forrest said.