Lodi Vintners: Crushing It With a rich history and recent past as a dedicated crushing facility, Lodi Vintners has expanded to release their own delicious brands. BY TOURING & TASTING
Photos courtesy of Lodi Vintners
Guests enjoy sampling wines in the tasting room.
“ After processing, the juice can be fermented with or without the skins. This technology offers winemakers many exciting new options.”
As one of Lodi’s newest tasting rooms, located on the site of Lodi’s oldest operating winery, Lodi Vintners has a history that dates back to 1900 when the historic Urgon Winery was founded on the site.
Today’s winery was founded as a custom crush facility in 1991 by the Rippey family, fourth generation Napa natives who have seen first-hand the remarkable transformation of the Lodi wine region over the past quarter century. After more than 25 years of making wines alongside some of Northern California’s best wineries and winemakers for customers both large and small, they decided it was time to launch their own wine brands: Rippey Family Vineyards, Reign, and Concrete Wine Company. When the Rippeys acquired the property, they also took possession of 24 giant concrete fermentation tanks dating back to the early 1940s. Although concrete fermentation has not been a popular practice among US winemakers for the past several decades, it is now being used in the production of many world-class wines. The tanks have been retrofitted with stainless steel coils for temperature control and are used for fermentation. Lodi Vintners has also installed technology for the ultra-modern flash détente process, a system that provides better extraction of a wine’s flavor and color. Flash détente, which roughly translated means "instant relaxation," is a process that involves heating the grapes to about 180 degrees Fahrenheit and then sending them into a vacuum chamber where they are instantly cooled. After processing, the juice can be fermented with or without the skins. This technology offers winemakers many exciting new options.
The wines poured in the tasting room, housed in an elegant stone cottage, are proof of that. The tasting room has become a gathering place for locals who love the wines, events, and educational seminars held throughout the year. Outside, there are great picnic spots, a bocce court, and other games for the asking. Visitors are encouraged to check the winery’s website to see what’s next on the calendar.
What to Buy '12 Concrete Old Vine Zinfandel - $20
Cherry, raspberries, blackberries
'12 Reign Merlot, Napa Valley - $45
Cinnamon toast, bittersweet chocolate, dark black fruit
'13 Rippey Family Petite Sirah - $20
Dark fruits, coffee, thyme, mocha, bittersweet chocolate
Picnic grounds, gift shop, educational seminars, culinary events, dog friendly.