Wine Tours

How to Host a Lodi, California Themed Wine Tasting Party

With more than 85 wineries in Lodi, and plenty of Lodi wines being sold in stores, there are lots of opportunities for creating a successful Lodi-themed wine tasting party.  

Here are the basics for hosting a Lodi-themed wine tasting party:

  • Choose a theme. Here are ten Lodi-based themes you might try:
  1. Old Vine Zinfandel is a great choice. As the self-proclaimed Zinfandel Capital of the World and plenty of historic old vine vineyards there are plenty of choices available.
  2. A horizontal tasting where you taste wines from the same vintage, and the same grape variety.  For example, tasting a few wines crafted from the Cinsault grape variety and sourced from the Bechthold Vineyard from the 2014 vintage would be fun.
  3. A vertical tasting where you taste the same wine from different vintage.  Wineries often maintain a library of past vintage of a particular bottle.  It would be fun to take the same wine from different vintage
  4. Lodi Native would be a great way to combine an old-vine Zinfandel theme with a geographic theme featuring wines crafted from the same grape variety, and the same vintage, but sourced from grapes located in different areas of Lodi.
  5. Lodi Rosé
  6. Lodi Italian grape varieties (e.g. Pinot Grigio or Sangiovese)
  7. Lodi Spanish grape varieties (e.g. Albariño, Tempranillo, etc.)
  8. Lodi Rhone grape varieties (for red wine consider Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre (or blends thereof).  For white wines consider (Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne, etc.)
  9. Under $20 Lodi red or white wines
  10. Lodi red or white blends
  • Figure out the food situation – One shouldn’t eat during the wine tasting (other than palate cleansers such as bread or crackers) Decide whether you want to eat before or after the tasting and schedule the tasting time accordingly.  
  • If your guests are not familiar with how to taste wine, review the 5 S’s of wine tasting – see, swirl, smell (or sniff), sip and savor.  Be sure to give people enough time to summarize their thoughts about the wines.
  • Serve the wines at the right temperature – Generally 15 to 30 minutes before guests arrive, put reds in the refrigerator. Take whites and rosés out a few minutes before pouring.
  • Avoid strongly scented candles of flowers in the room where you will be tasting the wine
  • Set up the table where you’ll be tasting the wine with a white table cloth or white placemats to enable the tasters to  
  • Provide a spit bucket and water for your guests

And finally have fun!

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Journeys of Discovery: Mettler Family Vineyards—from vine to wine for 100 years

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Lodi, California, where he visits with Larry Mettler and his daughter Kim Mettler Ealls at Mettler Family Vineyards.
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California boasts 80% of all American wine (as of 2019). Among them, Napa and Sonoma are known as excellent production areas. California is a world-renowned area that produces a lot of rare and expensive cult wines, but with its vast and diverse climate, California has many other attractive wine regions. The focus this time is on Lodi, which is easily accessible from San Francisco and San Jose. Why is it drawing attention as "NEXT Napa, Sonoma"? Find out why.