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Find Fine Wine in Lodi, California
Looking for a wine vacation? Lodi has long been known for providing superior wine grapes to vintners throughout California. However, in the past few decades, the region has made a name for itself by producing unique, inexpensive wines that receive high marks from consumers and critics.
In fact, Wine Enthusiast magazine named Lodi its 2015 Wine Region of the Year, putting it firmly in the top 5 wine destinations for 2016. Why? Because Lodi produces top wines — from traditional vintages like Zinfandel, Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to more unique varietals like Albariño and Verdelho — at low prices, and places a high priority on sustainable, eco-friendly growing practices.
With more than 80 wineries in Lodi, from top wine producers to family-owned boutiques, every wine fan should find something to love.
Where to Find Wine
Visitors could spend days in Lodi without visiting every tasting room. However, there are a few can't-miss destinations for every wine lover.
Downtown Lodi is a great place to start. The pedestrian-friendly shopping district on School Street is full of things to do, and a bunch of tasting rooms. Some, like cellardoor, Wine Social, Estate Crush and Lodi Wine Cellars, offer wines from several different wineries. Others focus on one or two. Downtown Lodi also has a number of fantastic restaurants from American to sushi to gourmet Mexican, Italian and Vietnamese food, which offer intriguing pairing options.
A wine tour is another option. Several Lodi vehicle services offer pre-set or custom tours that travel to several Lodi wineries, allowing guests to explore each one and taste a few glasses. Visitors can also focus on unique wineries, such as taking a tour of Robert Mondavi's Woodbridge Winery.
The Lodi Wine Commission, better known as LoCA, has created several day trip itineraries centered around different themes (and wines). Pick the one that sounds most fun, and spend a day enjoying everything Lodi has to offer.
For a full list of Lodi's wine tasting opportunities, visit the Lodi Wine and Visitor Center at Wine & Roses (2545 W. Turner Road) or Visit Lodi! (25 N. School St.) You can also check out LoCA's website, which has a list of local wineries and tasting rooms, including contact information and tasting room hours.
Wine Tasting Plus
Want to take in Lodi's art and natural surroundings while tasting various vintages? There are plenty of options.
Spending a wine stroll enjoying the art in Downtown Lodi is one idea. Public art includes colorful WallDogs murals celebrating Lodi history splashed on several walls in the district, as well as bronze sculptures celebrating wine and Sandhill cranes by Lodi artist Rowland Cheney.
There are also several galleries in Downtown Lodi: Lodi Community Art Center (110 W. Pine St.); Tony Segale's Double Dip Gallery, which also sells Gunther's ice cream (222 W. Pine St.); and the School Street Gallery (123 S. School St.).
More of an outdoors type than an art lover? Head to Heritage Oak Winery for a birdwatching tour and picnic. Or rent a bicycle at Downtown Bicycles (9 N. School St.) or Lodi's Bike Shop (218 W. Pine St.), then try one of the wine tasting bike routes developed by Visit Lodi! You can choose from Four Wineries and a Cafe, Bird Watching, Wine Tasting & Lunch, East-North Figure Eight with Winery Stops, and more.
Beyond the Wine
Lodi has more to offer than a wine and food paradise. The World of Wonders Science Museum (2 N. Sacramento St.) is a great place to test your brain, and retail shops offer antiques and vintage decor, unique clothing and accessories, arts and crafts, and more.
Micke Grove Regional Park (11793 Micke Grove Road) offers more family-friendly fun, from Micke Grove Zoo to the San Joaquin County Historical Museum (which features old tractors and agricultural equipment) to Fun Town Amusement Park. The park itself has plenty to take in, with a lake, picnic areas and disc golf.
Lodi Lake (1101 W. Turner Road) offers kayaking and pedal boats along with access to the Mokelumne River. A number of river tours are offered, from family kayak runs to wine tours. The nature trail is a short, pleasant walk through riparian habitat that introduces visitors to the Lodi area's natural history and wildlife, including deer, squirrels and several species of birds.
Lodi offers a number of events throughout the year, such as the popular Sandhill Crane Festival held every November, Street Faires every October and May, and the summer Downtown Lodi Farmers Market on Thursday evenings. Smaller activities include family fun like the Parade of Lights each December, the Lodi Grape Festival (which is also the San Joaquin County Fair) in the fall, the Obon Odori at the Buddhist Church of Lodi each summer, the St. Anne's Harvest Fair, and more.
And, of course, Lodi is just a short drive from other California destinations like the Cosumnes River Preserve, Sacramento, Gold Country and the California Delta. It's a slightly longer trip to Sierra skiing and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Where to Stay
There are a plenty of hotel options in Lodi. The Hampton Inn & Suites Lodi (1337 Beckman Road, Lodi) has more than a hundred comfortable rooms and all of the standard hotel amenities, including an outdoor pool and whirlpool spa, and a 24-hour business center. This is a good choice for conference and business travelers.
Those seeking more of a resort-style stay can book a room at Wine & Roses (2505 W. Turner Road). The hotel offers a full service spa, the gourmet Towne House Restaurant, and the Lodi Wine and Visitor Center, which offers tasting of several of Lodi's fabulous wines.
Bella Vino (235 S. Hutchins St.) is a bed and breakfast in a 1912 home that offers a cozier experience. It's within walking distance of the top tasting rooms, restaurants and shopping in Downtown Lodi, and near Hutchins Street Square, which hosts a number of events throughout the year, from the Amgen Tour of California to the Sandhill Crane Festival.
The Inn at Locke House (19960 Elliott Road) is actually outside of Lodi in the tiny town of Lockeford, but its historic grandeur — and proximity to a number of area wineries — more than makes up for the distance. The bed and breakfast was once the home of Dr. Dean Jewett Locke, who traveled to California during the Gold Rush. Today, it has historic artifacts in each room and verdant gardens on the grounds for visitors to enjoy.
These are just a few of the many places to stay in Lodi and the surrounding area. Visit Lodi! has a comprehensive list of hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and more.