After Napa we continued our wine trail to Lodi in Northern California. The Lodi tasting rooms for me are underrated because this appellation really has a lot to offer. Most wineries are family run and are very personal compared to touristy Napa. It is not just about business as people seem to be more genuine. A regular tasting menu fee at Napa would cost an average of $20 for 5 bottles, and at least $30 to sample four different reserve wines.
In Lodi a tasting menu costs only $5 for five selections and $10 for the reserve collection. It is also customary to waive the tasting fee if you purchase a bottle. This area takes pride in their Zinfandel and produces great Petite Sirah. There are over 40 wineries and my top three are: Robert Mondavi’s Woodbridge, Michael David, and the Van Ruiten Family Winery.
Robert Mondavi recognized Lodi’s potential and made it home to world renowned Woodbridge.They have a very informative complementary tour of their massive wine making facilities.This I believe should not be missed. Michael David boasts of the 7 Deadly Sins and Inkblot wine reserves; a cafe with great homemade pies and a very beautiful flower garden.
I had the best time at the Van Ruiten Family Winery. From the tasting room, we moved to the garden to enjoy a bottle of Zin and music from the live Sunday jazz band. We were also picking grapes off the vines and eating them. Everyone was so friendly and fun! I didn’t realize I was seated next to one of the owners, to curb my enthusiasm our next bottle was on the house!