Even if you’ve never been to Lodi, California, the odds are high that you’ve tasted it. This unassuming wine-centric community—located 35 miles south of Sacramento and 90 miles east of San Francisco—produces nearly 20% of California’s grapes, and is home to over 85 boutique wineries featuring a wide variety of small-batch wines crafted right at the source. If that’s not reason enough, here are five more reasons to get a taste of this award-winning appellation.
It’s a small town with big buzz.
Despite flying under the radar for decades, Lodi has been earning big-time accolades for years. California’s best-kept secret is getting out, so go enjoy it before the whole world finds out.
It’s the perfect place to experiment.
Whether you’re an expert on the hunt for a new favorite varietal, or a total newbie just trying to find a wine that you like—Lodi welcomes you. There’s a reason Lodi has been called the most experimental wine region in North America. With over 100 different varieties of grapes currently in cultivation, you can try award-winning Cabs and Zins alongside pioneering varietals like Albariños, Tempranillos, Kerners, Gracianos, and Vermentinos.
It’s easy to explore.
Nothing kills a buzz like long lines and traffic jams. Lodi’s small-town layout makes it easy to navigate and fun to explore. Take one of the scenic cycling routes, or just show up for a day of tastings without worrying about reservations and crowds.
It’s downright delicious.
Lodi wine isn’t the only thing worth writing home about. Nestled among the vineyards are a variety of eateries sure to satisfy any wine-fueled craving for farm-fresh California fare. Mix things up and pair a unique varietal with local favorites like BBQ tri-tip and taco Tuesday specials, or with artisan specialties like house-made gnocchi, compressed watermelon salad, diver scallops, and duck mole.
It’s okay to let loose.
In Lodi, you’re allowed, and encouraged, to break the wine rules. Want a white with your burger? Dessert wine before dinner? Tempranillo with your tri-tip? Go right ahead. After all, isn’t wine supposed to be fun?