OnLine Newsletter
Lodi Travel Itinerary
Pleasant Days Spent Amidst the Delta Breeze
Culinary Tourism
Bring Food Know-How Home to Pair with Wine
Wine Country Recipe
New Waldorf Salad
Wine Country Featured Event
San Joaquin County Fair Drawing
Newsletter Trivia Contest—Enter and Win!*
Vino con Brio Pinotage

Pinotage is a cross between the Burgundian varietal Pinot Noir and the Rhone Cinsault, and is very popular in South Africa.  The Vino con Brio 2001 Pinotage ($19.99) displays the elegance of the first and the richness of the latter.  The bottle opens with a slightly spicy flavor, which softens to somewhat sweeter fruit after exposure to a bit of air.  Its balanced use of French and American oak, old and new, highlights its light fruity nose.  Flavors of blueberry, cranberry and raspberry are matched with a slightly smoky flavor and sturdy mouthfeel.  Light in alcohol at 13%, it is an outstanding food wine; we enjoyed it with grilled garlic lamb and eggplant. 

Napa River Inn

Napa River InnThe Napa River Inn, downtown Napa's only upscale boutique hotel, anchors the historic Napa Mill. We proudly offer a tradition of comfort, convenience, and personal service to business and leisure travelers visiting the Napa Valley. We host weddings, meetings, and specials events and are the only upscale boutique hotel in all of Downtown Napa.

Our great downtown Napa location makes this historic hotel the number one choice for visitors to the Napa Valley region. The location is a visitor's paradise as we are connected to the Historic Napa Mill, the famous Napa shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Originally built in 1884 it boasts two restaurants, gourmet food and gift market, European day spa, jazz club, art gallery and frame shop, gourmet candy shop, on-site bakery and outdoor performance plaza.

Visit our website for more information and to make a reservation at
500 Main Street Napa, Ca. 94559 (877) 251.8500 or (707) 251.8500

FogCatcher Inn

FogCatcher InnLocated just footsteps from Cambria's beautiful Moonstone Beach, the FogCatcher Inn has an Old English feel with contemporary conveniences. With its rounded thatched-style roof, flower lined brick paths and fireplace in every room, FogCatcher Inn is the perfect romantic getaway.

Many of the rooms have fabulous ocean views; whether the surf is crashing or calm and serene, the ocean sets the mood for this unique and memorable hideaway. All of our rooms at the FogCatcher Inn on the Central Coast feature a romantic fireplace, microwave, coffee maker and hair dryer. A heated pool and spa await you for swimming or sunning.

A complimentary deluxe continental breakfast is offered in the gathering room each morning the perfect way to start your day of exploring. Email address:

Viansa Winery & Italian Marketplace

Viansa Winery & Italian MarketplaceViansa's romantic Tuscan Villa sits on a hilltop surrounded by olive trees and vineyards, overlooking Viansa's 90-acre waterfowl preserve. Outfitted with hand-painted murals, massive beams and Italian marble, the Villa exudes Tuscan charm.

Step inside our marketplace and explore the wide array of wines, specialty foods and unique gift items. Savor delicious Cal-Ital fare for picnics on our hilltop terrace and join us on the weekends to enjoy live music, Tuscan barbecue and Italian wines for a memorable afternoon reminiscent of Italy's countryside.

A third generation winemaker fascinated with his Italian heritage, Sam Sebastiani has brought Italian vines, winemaking knowledge and technology to Sonoma while creating Italian wines in California. Viansa grows an array of Italian grapes - Sangiovese, Barbera, Dolcetto, Aleatico, Fresia, Pinot Grigio and Arneis - unmatched by any winery here or in Italy. Viansa also offers an award-winning array of California varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Visit us at our Tuscan inspired Villa in Sonoma. Open daily 10am-5pm. (707) 935.4700


Pleasant Days Spent Amidst the Delta Breeze — Introduction

Did you ever visit a Wine Country destination and wish you were there back in the good old days - when the crowds were smaller, the wines wonderful, the hospitality genuine, and great values abounded?  This is Lodi today! 

Conveniently located towards the top of California’s Central Valley, only 35 minutes south of Sacramento and 90 minutes east of San Francisco, Lodi offers many treats and surprises.  You will enjoy quality wines and matchless hospitality.  Lodi may the next big thing, so the time to visit is now.

Lodi is California’s largest wine appellation, producing more varietal wine grapes than Napa and Sonoma combined.  In recent times, the long history of grape growing in Lodi has shifted its focus.  The once ubiquitous Tokay table grape is gone; seedless table grapes stole its market.  Old-time growers tell stories about how their parents competed for production volume, with vineyards producing an incredible 10, even 12 tons of fruit per acre, thinking this was the epitome of fine grape growing.

Afternoon and Weekday Itinerary (Short Tour/Day One)

Michael-David Vineyard
Van Ruiten Family Winery
Lodi Wine & Visitor Center

Wine & Roses
Rosewood Bar & Grill
Lodi Beer Company
Cigar & Wine pairing option at Stogies

Wine & Roses
Amorosa Inn
Inn at Locke House

Day Two—Greater Lodi

Breakfast-At your Bed & Breakfast

Harmony Wynelands
Peirano Estate
Jewel Collection

Lunch-Woodbridge Feed & Fuel

St. Amant Winery
Vino Piazza
    Vino con Brio
    Grand Amis
Miramont Estate

Dinner-Fish Market Café

Nowadays, the area concentrates on grape quality.  While Lodi has always produced wine grapes, its future is now clearly focused on them.  Lodi established the definition of standards for sustainable agriculture, creating a model for responsible, quality-focused farming adopted throughout California.  The use of drip irrigation also revolutionized grape farming in this area, as dry farming (which produces superior wine grapes) only works most of the time.  Over-watering then is no longer a problem, as small amounts of water can be applied sparingly on super-hot days without causing the vines to overproduce and dilute flavor.

Lodi’s moderate climate might surprise you greatly if you know the hotter weather in neighboring Stockton or nearby Sacramento..  Summer days in Lodi are plenty warm, but there is at least 30 degrees difference between day and night thanks to merciful breezes flowing in at night from the Sacramento Delta.  Warm, not humid days and long cool nights promote a long ripening period, and put Lodi far ahead of the rest of the Central Valley in producing grapes with distinction in favored varietals like Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignane.  Rhone varietals, red and white, definitely shine here as well.

Napa and Sonoma winemakers have long looked to Lodi to expand their sources of quality fruit.  Many of their finest value wines are made with Lodi grapes.  Century old Zinfandel and Carignane vines deliver something truly special, in wines which are often associated with those areas as much as Lodi.

Today Lodi growers old and new are turning to producing their own wines, and an interesting set of new artisan wineries has developed.  And while they revitalize the area’s reputation for wine, the nearby village of Woodbridge and downtown Lodi itself, a small city with a vibrant history, together are being rejuvenated as well.  Downtown Lodi has welcomed visitors with its famous arch since 1907, and offers an authentic feeling for its past, while also displaying that it is on track to an ever more lively future.

Everything in Lodi is close together, making visiting easy once the roar of the Interstate highways and truckstops is behind you.  The area feels surprisingly like the Midwest—think of the flat fields of Kansas—with one major difference:  grapevines and palm trees abound rather than corn and soybeans.

Food and accommodation can be first class experiences too, not limited to the highway travel stops (though one Lodi truck stop was the first in the nation with a Starbucks!) or the strip malls of its suburban neighborhoods.  Lodi is also an excellent location for weddings and events, offering quality, value and an extremely convenient location to transportation of all types.

Our Lodi Itinerary starts with a four-hour plan, an introduction to the wines of the area whether you are spending the night or not.  If you are just passing through the area you might enjoy our suggested stops in the Lodi Itinerary an afternoon break as Lodi is perfectly positioned on Interstate 5.

Most wine tasting, particularly at the small artisans, is focused on the weekends, though more wineries are now open through the week than ever before.  This short itinerary, however, could start as early as 8am any day of the week.  Choices for exceptional accommodation are mentioned in Day One Itinerary as well.

Spending a couple of nights and enjoying the Day Two Itinerary is highly recommended!  Along with wine-tasting, golfing, fishing, bird watching and other fun activities abound.  Nearby Stockton sports a brand new theater and state of the art minor league baseball stadium. 

Most of the properties mentioned, significant streets and areas are listed on a map you can find at the Lodi-Woodbridge Grape Commission website. For comprehensive visitor information, check out

Day One Itinerary — Afternoon and Weekday
Day Two Itinerary — Greater Lodi

Travel ItineraryCulinary TourismWine Country Recipe
Wine Country DrawingThis Issue

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WineCountry Online Newsletter Editor: Carolyn Lewis

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