California’s Hidden Gem: A Wine and Outdoor Recreation Paradise in Lodi
Did you know that Lodi, California is a leading producer of some of America’s favorite grapes? Approximately 20% of California’s wine grapes come from Lodi, according to the Lodi Winegrape Commission. But Lodi is much more than just a wine destination. It’s also a prime location for outdoor recreation, temperate weather, fewer crowds, and natural beauty.
If you’re a true wine lover, you should start your trip by checking into Wine & Roses, a locally-owned resort hotel that’s nestled into jungle-like surroundings. You’ll fling open your double doors to the sounds of a waterfall and birdcalls, settle into your surroundings, and have everything you need to enjoy a relaxing stay. On the stunningly beautiful grounds, which are overflowing with hydrangeas in every hue, canopies of trees, leafy ferns, and fountains, you’ll find the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center. Here you can learn about and taste regional wines without ever leaving your resort.
If you’re looking for excellent food, you don’t have far to go. Steps outside of your room, grab a coffee and fresh pastries and sandwiches at Towne Corner Café & Market. The resort’s Towne House Restaurant is open for weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner and, along with the adjoining bar, offers fine dining and hand-crafted cocktails. The sounds as you tour the property are unforgettable, from the parrots that say hello as you walk by, to the splash of water just outside your spa treatment room, to the live music serving as a backdrop to the spirited atmosphere in the bar. The resort offers special events throughout the year, with their Easter Brunch kicking off spring in style.
A stroll around the gardens of Wine & Roses, a resort hotel just a short drive from all Lodi has to offer, is a study in beauty and tranquility. Wine & Rose’s central location makes it easy to get to everything you want, from wine to cycling to kayaking. Just a short drive will take you to your choice of outdoor recreation.
Lodi Lake is a picturesque spot where you can kayak, paddleboard, and explore beautiful lagoons. Headwaters Kayak will hook you up with classes and everything you need to see the waterbird life, tall grasses, and turtles sunning on rocks. On April 15, don’t miss the 8th annual Paddlefest where you can bring the whole family to enjoy food trucks, live music, and all the watersports you can handle.
Cycling through Lodi’s quaint town and out into the vineyards is a joy in and of itself. Rent bikes from local shops like Lodi Cyclery and choose your route to soak up this beautiful part of California. You can even bike through wine country, arriving at Oak Farm Vineyards, a truly gorgeous estate. Take a stroll around the grounds to see the restored white colonial home built in 1876 and surrounded by ancient oak trees. Then step into the breathtaking tasting room and ask for the estate grown Fiano.
For a little peace and tranquility or to recharge your batteries before your next winery, visit the completely unexpected and incredibly impressive Micke Grove Japanese Garden. Follow the stepping stones around the stone lanterns that rise up out of the landscape, and stop to appreciate the maple trees bursting through the sea of lush, green landscape.
To sample a variety of grapes, belly up to the tasting bar at the eclectic Michael David Winery, which offers wine for varying tastes. Sip their popular Inkblot Petit Syrah under a covered, pond-side cabana and hear the story of how their whimsical labels were designed. Grab some lunch at the on-site farmstand Cafe & Bakery, where the locals flock for homemade pies and meat sourced from the local 4H program.
If white wine is more your speed, Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards is for you. Their small batch productions have won Best of Class awards, and their Clairette Blanche and double gold medal 2021 Belle Blanc are divine. At Bokisch Vineyards, with hilltop views of the vines and the sunset, the Albariño is a standout wine. Take a seat in a red Adirondack chair and gaze out at the hearty vines spread before you.
Lodi marries wine with the great outdoors, and it’s truly a hidden gem of California. Don’t wait until everyone else discovers it to plan your trip. Check out these upcoming wine events and make your plans to visit Lodi today.