Visit just about any winery in Lodi, California and you will hear the tag line, ‘4th generation grower’ or maybe, ‘5th generation grower.’ There are a lot of family farms in Lodi that have been growing crops since the 19th century and are now making wines. A visit to these wineries is not just about tasting the wines. It’s about meeting the families. But what is it that the generations pass on that somehow makes its way into the final product? Can you taste the character of the family in the wine?
On a recent visit to my parents’ house while having dinner, I noticed something about my Dad. While often quite charming, he likes to tease and get a rise out of people, not unlike my son. On this particular night, rather than let Dad get the better of me, I simply turned to my son and said, ‘Now, I know where you get it. You get it from Grandpa.’ ‘You’re wrong,’ my son replied. ‘I get it from you. You get it from Grandpa.’
I never realized how much like my Dad I am
until this visit while we were driving through a pretty neighborhood. There were too many of us for one car, so we drove caravan style. As we approached one particular house I turned to my husband and said, ‘See that house? That’s the best house in the neighborhood. It’s on the golf course, has a view of the lake. And the house itself is not overdone.’ Just as my sentence came to an end, my Dad in the car in front of us pulled over in front of the house. He got out and walked over to our car, ‘See that house? It’s the best house in the neighborhood. It’s on the golf course and has a view of the lake.’ ‘And it’s not overdone,’ I added. ‘Right. It’s not overdone.’ When he got back in his car, I said to my husband, ‘Does it scare you that I think just like my Dad?’ From the back seat came my mother’s voice, like a haunting warning, ‘It should!’
This years Wine Bloggers Conference 2016 is being held in Lodi California. Many of the wineries or vineyards represented have been in the same family for generations. Klinker Brick is sixth generation. Mohr-Fry Ranch is 5 generations as are Michael David Winery and Lange Twins Winery. Oak Ridge Winery is run by a 5th generation Lodi grape grower.
Character is not just found in individuals. There are often common traits in individuals that make up the character of a family. I am looking forward to meeting the wine-making families of Lodi and finding out how their character is reflected in their wines.
(If you are going to the WBC16 leave a comment. I would love to meet you in person.)