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 — Day 1
Afternoon and Weekday Itinerary (Short Tour/Day One)

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

The most convenient tasting experience to the traveler, right off Interstate 5, offers some of Lodi’s most celebrated wines and opens at 8am!  Michael and David Phillips’ Family Farm supports a tasting room, café and farmer’s market.  It is all housed together in a quaint combination that speaks old-time California and is within truckstop and vineyard views.  Michael-David Vineyard’s Earthquake Petite Sirah was the talk of the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition – yes, a Lodi wine was the Red Wine Sweepstakes winner this year!  Up-front blueberry syrup, black cherry and coffee flavors will shake your senses, with brawny aftershocks of complexity rolling down your throat.  The 7 Deadly Zins is also a tasty delight.  Take Highway 12 exit east from the I-5, and Michael-David Vineyard will be on the right. 

Not too much farther east on Highway 12 is the Van Ruiten Family Winery.  Open daily except Monday, the winery shows the influence of Dutch culture; you can find some amazing Gouda cheeses and pair them with the wines here.  The Rosé of Cabernet and Shiraz, dry and appetizing, matched the Goudas oh so well.  The Syrah and Estate Petite Sirah are also standouts.  Be sure to finish with the Late Harvest Zinfandel, which is not excessively sweet, but flavorsome and wonderful with chocolate.

Not far away, the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center is certainly a must-stop. The diverse offering of wines made with Lodi fruit—from wineries outside of the area as well as local—allows you to explore the richness of what this area has to offer in a single visit.  The wines poured are rotated, with nine wines organized into three interesting, related flights.  From Michael David or Van Ruiten head east to Lower Sacramento, turn left and turn left again a few miles later on Turner Road.  The center is just west of the Wine & Roses complex.  Open daily.

The restaurant next door at Wine & Roses is an excellent spot for a fine dining experience in the elegantly restored ranch house, or in the gardens when the weather is nice. Our meal was elegantly designed and executed with perfection.  The accommodations here are excellent too, whether you choose rooms in the old house or in the more spacious new building. 

Other premium choices for accommodation include the extremely hospitable Amorosa Inn & Gardens.  A spacious, modern home is nestled in the vineyards overlooking a serene pond.  You will enjoy a superb bed and breakfast experience that also gives a feeling for life in Lodi.  The satellite tasting room for Vino con Brio is also located here; the wines offered are a real plus.  Another choice, a bit further out of town, is the Inn at Locke House, a quaint historic property in the nearby town of Lockeford.

Downtown at Night

When spending the night, you will want to explore and dine in Lodi’s celebrated downtown.  The famous Lodi sign is a beacon calling for your arrival.  Built in 1907, this gorgeous piece of old-California culture is especially attractive when seen after the sun goes down and the lights have gone on.  The old train station, once the center of activity and now perfectly restored as a transit center, is also a jewel.  If it is still open, be sure to check out the fascinating display of historic pictures inside.

As for dining, the Rosewood Bar & Grill is the sister restaurant to Wine and Roses, and offers a similarly pleasing dining experience.  If you want something a bit more casual, you could try the Lodi Beer Company, a brewpub offering food and an excellent selection of area wines as well. 

And whether you are a smoker, or perhaps are equipped with an open mind and adventurous soul, we highly recommend exploring wine and cigar pairings at Stogies.  We have to admit, as non-smokers, that we were skeptical as we investigated the selection of cigars in the walk-in humidor with friendly proprietor Russ Daniels.  Yet matching a cedar-wrapped stogie with a spicy Zinfandel made sense, and the astonishing quality of ventilation in the room (or sitting outside) made everyone’s visit very comfortable.

We tested the match of the local Vino con Brio Pinotage with a cigar Russ recommended, and were surprised at our interest and enjoyment.  The smokiness of the cigar neutralized smoky flavors in the wine and emphasized its fruit, while the wine emphasized cedar notes in the cigar.  The mouthfeel of the thick Rhone elements in the Pinotage matched the tingle of the nicotine and feeling of the smoke as we held it in our mouths, a little chewier than the wine.  Okay, we finished the wine and not the cigar, but we lived a little and enjoyed the flavor combinations.

Creedence Clearwater Revival wrote that song years ago complaining that they were stuck in Lodi.  We finished our day agreeing to disagree, looking forward to more Lodi wine adventures tomorrow!

Introduction to Lodi
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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