Lodi California

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Lodi, California, where he visits with Markus and Liz Bokisch at Bokisch Vineyards. Proclaimed the 2019 Winery of the Year by Visit Lodi Conference and Visitors Bureau, Bokisch has evolved the region’s wine lexicon with award-winning Iberian grape varieties including Albarino, Garnacha and Tempranillo. Bokisch is the largest organic grape grower in the Lodi AVA (American Viticultural Area) with more than 400 acres under cultivation.

Thomas Wilmer

The Panella family has been farming in the Lodi region since the 1930s. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a conservation with Heather and Dan Panella, third-generation farmers and winemakers who share insights about the family’s Oak Farm Vineyards, and producing award-winning wines from their 60 acres of estate vines.

Wendell Brock

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer reporting from Lodi, California, where he visits with two-time James Beard Award-winning chef Bradley Ogden. 

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Lodi wine pioneers, Heather Pyle-Lucas and David Lucas, at their historic ZinStar Vineyards. The Lucas’ have been crafting award-winning Zinfandel since 1978, when their winery was one of three in the entire Lodi American Viticultural Area (AVA). Today there are 86 wineries in the region that’s been dubbed the Zinfandel Capital of the World.

Pete Murdaca in the kitchen at Pietro's in Lodi, California
Pietro's Trattoria

Pietro’s has been a favorite with Lodi, California locals since the Italian eatery for three decades. Family owned by Jim and Annette Murdaca, I stopped in for a visit with their son, Chef Pete who spent a year and a half learning the craft as an stagiaire (intern) in Calabria and Parma Southern Italy. 

Michael David Winery owner Michael Phillips
Thomas Wilmer

The wine label, Seven Deadly Zins, produced by Michael David Winery was instrumental in putting Lodi, California on the map as a world-class producer of fine wines. Join Mike Phillips and daughter Melissa at their Lodi winery for a fascinating conversation with Tom Wilmer that proves that a catchy label is just as important as the wine inside the bottle.

A visit with Roger Rehmke, owner of Lodi Beer Company located in the heart of downtown Lodi, California. In addition to his passion as a brewmaster, Rehmke also serves as a beer judge, and operates a very popular restaurant in tandem with his Lodi brewpub.

Vern Vierra in his St. Jorge Winery tasting room
Thomas Wilmer

Vern Vierra grew up on the family farm in Acampo, California near Lodi. Vierra opened St. Jorge Winery in 2009, named in honor of his grandfather. Honoring his ancestors who emigrated from the Azores, he naturally loves Portuguese varietals. His wine list includes Vinfandel, Verdelho, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Syrah—all ideally suited to the Lodi terroir. The Mediterranean-styled winery is a popular wedding destination in addition to a popular spot on the Lodi Wine Trail.    

Lodi, California Mayor Mark Chandler
Thomas Wilmer

Lodi, California’s Mayor Mark Chandler talks about Lodi’s 150-year history as a premier grape growing region. Chandler shares insights on “Lodi Rules” pioneering sustainable grape growing practices that became a national model, his roots at Cal Poly, water conservation and re-use, and moderating development.

Lodi winemaker and grape grower Larry Mettler
Thomas Wilmer

The Mettler Family started growing grapes in Lodi, California back in 1899. In 1999 Larry Mettler launched Mettler Family Vineyards winery. Ahead of the curve, Larry selected a French clone Cabernet Sauvignon rather than the tried and true Zinfandel. Mettler’s current release includes Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and naturally, the ever-popular Cab that's won praise from The Wine Spectator.  

Georgia Lerner at Harney Lane Winery tasting room
Thomas Wilmer

Georgia Lerner, owner of Harney Lane Winery in Lodi, California talks about her family’s 120-year legacy as growers, and producers of award-winning old-vine Zinfandel wine. Harney Lane also crafts an array of other varietals, including Tempranillo, Albariño, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay, but their exquisite old-vine Zin is the winery's hallmark.   

Grower, winemaker, Steve Felton at his Klinker Brick Winery
Lodi Wine Grape Commission

Lodi wine grape growers since the late 1800’s, Steve Felton and his sixth-generation has evolved the family growing operations to embrace fine crafted wine production. Steve and his daughter are just now embarking on their 17th season of offering extraordinary, and coveted old-vine Zinfandel wines under the Klinker Brick Label. Come along and join winemaker Steve Felton at his tasting room on the outskirts of Lodi, California, where he talks passionately about the evolution of the Lodi wine world of almost 90 producers, comprised primarily by family operations. 

Liz Bokish in Bokish Vineyards tasting room Lodi, California
Thomas Wilmer

Lodi California grape growers and winemakers, Marcus and Liz Bokish pioneered the introduction of Spanish grape varieties in the region. Their first experimental plantings of Tempranillo, Albariño, and Graciano back in 1999 were wildly successful, and Spanish varieties are now an integral part of the Lodi grape growing and winemaking landscape. Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Marcus and Liz at the Bokish Vineyards Lodi tasting room.

m2 Wines Lodi California tasting room and processing
Lodi Wine Grape Commission

m2 wines founder Layne Montgomery, a native of Arkansas, started out like many  as a home winemaker.  He produced his first vintage of m2 wine in Lodi back in 2004. Today m2 Wines and Montgomery are known for producing finely crafted award-winning artisanal old-vine Zinfandel, Tempranillo, and Syrah and Petite Syrah blends and more.

Packing Tokay grapes back in the day at Jessie's Grove Winery Lodi, CA
Greg Burns family

Still harvesting Zinfandel grapes from vines planted in 1889, Lodi’s Jessie’s Grove Winery cherishes the oldest Zinfandel vines in the entire Lodi Appellation and amongst the oldest in California. Join Sarah Williams and winemaker/owner Greg Burns at the Lodi tasting room.

a sampler of Acquiesce Winery's award winning white wines
Thomas Wilmer

Sue Tipton tipped the scales in the world of white wines. Tipton did not start her wine making journey until she was 50 years old. Ten years later, she’s an industry star in the world of white wines—that’s all she produces, and her focus might partially explain why her Viognier was awarded “Best in the State of California” at the 2016 California State Fair. 

Macchia Wines tasting room in Lodi, California
Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Lodi winemaker Tim Holdener, owner of Macchai Wines. Tim exemplifies the true hands-on grape producer and winemaker. Tim joined a handful of other Lodi producers who started Lodi Native—the group made a commitment to process their wine using ancient, truly hands-off approach which starts with using only native yeast, and letting the wine basically make itself. 

Heather Pyle-Lucas and David Lucas at their Lodi Lucas Winery
Thomas Wilmer

When David and his wife, Heather Pyle-Lucas started their commercial Lucas Winery 38 years ago Lodi’s Zins were known as high-alcohol rocket-fuel concoctions. That’s all history today and David and Heather were pioneers in the evolution of Lodi, California wines by crafting extraordinarily well-balanced and complex estate-grown Zinfandel and locally sourced Chardonnay. Come along and join the conversation as Heather and David share their incredible journey as Lodi growers and producers.

Wayne Craig, President and CEO Lodi Memorial Hospital and Board Member of Visit Lodi CVB
Thomas Wilmer

Lodi is America’s largest grape growing region, along with approximately 91 family owned boutique wineries. The town of 60,000 residents offers a small town feel. Join Craig for a local’s insight about Lodi attractions, including upscale dining.