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 2
Greater Lodi

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

For your full day in Lodi, you need to plan ahead, or be ready to use your cell phone before you start.  Even on the weekends, all of the spots we mention will not be open; you will have to call ahead.  We had great luck catching people in, friendly and ready to share the joy of their wines.

Very close to Amorosa Inn and Gardens is Harmony Wynelands.  No the name isn’t misspelled, but rather is a takeoff on South African Wine Country, an area that is very similar in climate.  At this lovely facility, the big surprise was the 2001 Pinot Noir, made with Monterey fruit, which had a wonderful creamy quality and succulent flavors of cherry and pomegranate.  When owner Bob Hartzell is around, the sounds of the historic San Francisco Castro Theater organ resound mellifluously through picturesque, shaded gardens.  Open Friday-Sunday at 11am.

Peirano Estate Vineyards tells another story typical of the grand Lodi family growing, and now winemaking, tradition.  Lodi vineyards have belonged to this family for 110 years; they began producing wine in 1992.  Flagship old-vine Zinfandels lead the way, and the Classic Label Series presents wines in the affordable $10 and under category. These wines are highly competitive to other wines offered from wine country regions such as Mendocino or Monterey.  The Heritage Collection offers wines in the $10-$20 range, with the Merlot and Barbera being of particular interest.  This tasting room is open Wednesday through Sunday, and offers a great spot to rest and picnic amidst the old vines, under the shade of large California pepper trees.

At Jewel Collection Fine Wines, you will be able to investigate a new master of the $10 category.  A diverse selection of varietals, primarily made with Lodi fruit, is one of the hottest brands in American wine today.  The Viognier and Pinot Noir (which is selling very quickly thanks to the movie Sideways) are special treats.  Jewel’s latest project, Saturday Red, offers a wine in a grand yet humble Italian tradition.  In the old days, jugs were filled on Saturdays with the winemaker’s latest blend.  Jewel’s whimsical liter jugs, priced at $7.99, contain a tasty blend of Syrah, Carignane, Barbera and Cabernet Sauvignon.  On Saturdays you can refill an empty for only $6.49, a fun way to save $1.50!  Jewel is open daily at 11.

After tasting at Jewel, you should be ready for a bite to eat.  Meander through the vineyards towards the tiny town of Woodbridge, really just 2 blocks long, for another historical treat.  Here Woodbridge Feed & Fuel is truly a tasty step into the past.  The Blackened Prime Rib was the standout, though our Combo Louie salad was also a special treat.

After lunch, you can check in to St. Amant Winery.  Tim and Barbara Spencer are longtime area growers who’s two Zinfandels at $15 and $24 were highlights of our tasting at the ZAP show in San Francisco earlier this year.  Vineyards owned in Amador County produce Tempranillo and interesting Portuguese varietals used to make Port, along with the white Verdelho. The Lodi Barbera is also a standout here. The Spencers are happy to welcome you by appointment at (209) 367-0646.  There is no website as of yet.

The Vino Piazza offers many boutique wineries and over 75 wines at one convenient location.  Each winery is independently owned and operated, and has its own tasting schedule.  The wineries here are generally open weekends only unless you have made an appointment…on special Saturdays there are events, and even more of the doors will be open.

Here we especially liked Vino con Brio, though their wines may be tasted at the satellite tasting area at the Amorosa Inn mentioned on day one.  The other must-taste here is Grands Amis.  Their old-vine Carignane ranks off the scale, with excellent Zinfandel, Barbera, Petite Sirah and Rosé also on the tasting menu.  It would be wise to call first for this one, at (209) 727-0294. 

For our final set of sips, we head south on Highway 99 (which parallels the I-5) to Miramont Estate Vineyards.  Located about 25 minutes away, east of Stockton, the soils are very different in the rolling foothills and higher elevation.  A unique soil preparation and planting project has resulted in distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon fruit. These grapes are drawing the attention of Napa winemakers, while the estate wines are winning multiple awards in competition.  Currently, this friendly tasting room is open by appointment only, though it is expected to open to regular weekend hours later this year.  (209) 887-3860.

For dinner, Wednesday-Saturday, you are now positioned to head into Stockton to the Fish Market Café.  The restaurant is located at the north end of Stockton, so you could refresh yourself in Lodi first if you wish.  Restaurateur Buddy O’Dell is well known throughout the area for his artful and interesting cuisine, and this is his latest project.  (209) 478-MRKT.

Introduction to Lodi
Day One Itinerary — Afternoon and Weekday

Travel ItineraryCulinary TourismWine Country Recipe
Wine Country DrawingThis Issue

Past Newsletters


WineCountry Online Newsletter Editor: Carolyn Lewis

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