Lodi Wine Adventure

by Sarah on December 4, 2009

Here’s a few snaps from my field trip with my wine class.  We went to Lodi back in October but I forgot to put these things up.  First stop was the Lodi Visitor Center—where we tried three wines and had a mini-lecture from someone there.  It was about 9 am, so it was weird to taste wine that early.

I loved that they had a small demonstration vineyard.  They had several kinds of grapes there—representative of what grows in the Central Valley.
We were encourage to pick and eat them.  They were unbelievably delicious, so much flavor compared to table grapes.  Of course, they have seeds, but they were so sweet!
Next up was the Van Ruiten Family Winery.  Looks like they had a ton of awards from the State and other fair competitions.  The tasting room was fairly small but they did a good job with our somewhat raucous group.  I bought a 2007 Petit Sirah that I felt was the best thing there.
Nice color.  Dry, cherries, spice.  It probably could’ve aged a bit more, but it was good.
I could’ve done without this.

Next up, wine factory.  Woodbridge is owned by Robert Mondavi and they are responsible for making about a zillion gallons of wine per year.  Did you know that Lodi is responsible for providing grapes for 18% of California’s total wine production?  Way more than Napa and Sonoma put together.

I was amazed at the enormity of it all.
These are the old, original big redwood vats.  They used these before steel wine vats were popularized–by Robert Mondavi.
Unfortunately, they don’t really use these anymore and the tour guide said they’d likely be taken out altogether soon.
The bottling room.  It totally reminds me of Laverne and Shirley.
The grapes being removed from the stems.
After being dumped from the truck–I think it’s being fed into the seperator thingy that’s pictured above.
Wine snakes.
Millions and hundreds of barrels of wine.  This room was underground and air conditioned to remain at the proper cool temperatures.
This was the original house on the property.  Adorable.

I wasn’t crazy about any of the wines we tasted here but it was definitely interesting to see the difference between a small family-run winery and a giant factory pumping out millions of bottles of wine per year.
Worth checking out if you’ve never been.  I’d likely skip the visitor’s center next time and seek out more estate wineries (growing their own grapes and bottling on site)–only an hour away!

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