ABOVE: Lodi’s picturesque downtown is filled with retail fun; LEFT: Ice cream meets art at Tony Segale’s Double Dip Gallery; BELOW: Lodi Lake Park is the perfect place for relaxation
Opposite: Right: Jillian Haddad, This page: bottom: Courtesy of Robert Calzada @still.life.co
ith more than 85 wineries scattered in and around Lodi, it’s no wonder the charming town in the vast and fertile San Joaquin Valley has quietly become a major player in California’s wine industry. Known for its loamy soil, temperate climate, and vines dating to the 1880s, Lodi produces about 800,000 tons, or 20 percent, of California’s wine. While the town has dubbed itself the Zin Capital of the World, Lodi’s hundred or so diverse varieties also include international wonders, like Albariño, Tannat, and Vermentino. With a growing list of wineries, a burst of newcomers with an appreciation for creative experimentation and well-crafted Central Valley wines has lifted Lodi to a whole new level.
Home & Garden, Stella Mitchell, or La Fleurette Garden Decor scattered among more than a dozen laid-back tasting rooms. Bring your picnic basket and head to Cheese Central, where Cheese Monger Cindy Della Monica offers pairing advice and more than 80 tasty reasons to visit. Then, double your fun at Tony Segale’s Double Dip Gallery, where visitors linger over art while enjoying scoops of Sacramento-based Gunther’s ice cream. Flavors change seasonally, but you can’t go wrong with pumpkin, a fall favorite. For your best bet, take a one-mile walking food tour with Savor Lodi, led by in-the-know locals Juliet and Scott Fyffe.
Downtown Framed by the iconic 40-foot Lodi Arch, built in 1907, the historic downtown is lined with sycamore trees, colorful murals, and a burgeoning restaurant scene, which includes the classic, family-owned Pietro’s Trattoria and the highly anticipated opening of champagne-popping Bubbles & Birds. Wander the fourblock stretch for one-of-a-kind boutiques like French at Heart
Diversions for Lodi Smack dab in the middle of town, serene Lodi Lake Park beckons the last days of warm weather with its rental kayaks, Mokelumne River boat tours, and spectacular birdwatching. Grapes aren’t the only star crop in Lodi. One of many olive oil companies in the region, the family-run Coldani Olive Ranch offers production tours with a history talk, a stroll through the orchards, and a tasting class, where you can sample the ranch’s Calivirgin brand oils and vinegars. Once in the tasting room, try the jalapeño garlic oil or the oregano oil. —Michelle Lau