Lodi, California – The Perfect Blend of Wine and Outdoor Recreation
Approximately 20% of California’s wine grapes come from Lodi, according to the Lodi Winegrape Commission. True wine lovers know that Lodi, California is a leading producer of some of America’s favorite grapes. But did you know that it’s also a prime destination for outdoor recreation, temperate weather, fewer crowds, and natural beauty?
If you love wine and want to venture out into the great outdoors, Lodi is the perfect combination. Start your trip by checking into Wine & Roses, a locally-owned resort hotel with rooms nestled into jungle-like surroundings. With stunningly beautiful grounds, overflowing hydrangeas in every hue, canopies of trees, leafy ferns, and fountains, Wine & Roses is an absolute feast for the eyes.
On the grounds of Wine & Roses, you will find the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center. Here, you can learn about and taste regional wines without ever leaving your resort. You don’t have far to go to find excellent food either. 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.
A stroll around the gardens of Wine & Roses is a study in beauty and tranquility. 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.
But there’s more to Lodi than just wine and relaxation. Wine & Roses’ 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.
Dip your toes and your paddles into picturesque Lodi Lake, where you can kayak or paddleboard your way through beautiful lagoons. Headwaters Kayak will hook you up with classes and everything you need to see the waterbird life, tall grasses, turtles sunning on rocks, and beautiful resident homes that pop up at various portions of the lake and its lagoons. 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.
If cycling is more your speed, take advantage of the relatively flat terrain and comfortable weather to rent bikes from local shops like Lodi Cyclery. Both avid cyclists and casual riders will love taking a spin on routes that can challenge or are a pure breeze. Choose your route, set your course, and get some exercise while soaking 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.
And 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. Dedicated by the Joaquin County residents of Japanese ancestry, this secret hideaway beckons you across its red arched bridge to meander along a babbling brook, where waterfalls splash into a koi fish pond. 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 of Roussanne 2020 and Grenache Blanc 20202 have won Best of Class awards, and their Clairette Blanche and double gold medal 2021 Belle Blanc are divine. Bokisch Vineyards, with hilltop views of the vines and the sunset, made an Alberiño lover out of me.
Lodi marries wine with the great outdoors, and I consider it one of California’s hidden gems. Get there before everyone else discovers it, and check out these upcoming wine events when making your plans.