Lodi Wine Country
Dale Goff Photography

Lodi Wine Country

Lodi Wine Country
Sample the city’s famous Zinfandels after a day of outdoor fun

Best known for big red wines, particularly old-vine Zinfandels, the American Viticultural Area of Lodi Wine Country is also a leader when it comes to going green. Upwards of 25,000 acres are certified sustainable, and this is the birthplace of Lodi Rules, California’s first third-party-certified sustainable wine-growing programme. A variety of tasting rooms, located about 100 miles east of San Francisco, have sprouted up in recent years.

Wine & Roses, situated on an elegant 116-year-old seven-acre estate that has been granted recognition as a historical site, makes the ideal home base for winery-hopping. In addition to its luxurious accommodation and amenities, the 66-room hotel is adjacent to the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center, which offers a rotating selection of varietals from nearly 80 local vintners.

Though the range of wines has grown, the rich, concentrated New World varieties are still the region’s hallmark, and more than 40 percent of the state’s Zinfandels are produced here. Map out your own tour—call in at Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards for their award-winning Rhône-style wines, or St. Amant Winery for their Marian’s Vineyard Zinfandel. Or spend an afternoon cycling through vineyards (and tasting wine) on the Four Wineries and a Café cycling tour, or, for the truly adventurous, there’s the Water to Wine Tour—in kayaks!

If a festival coincides with your stay, these two are good bets: ZinFest, an annual three-day tasting party each May, offers a chance to sample some 250 wines from Lodi’s best producers, while the Lodi Grape Festival, held in September, features crafts, rides, games and delicious food.

The Zinfandel Capital of the World offers more than just vino. Lodi attracts golfers with its range of top-level courses, and the Lodi Lake Park offers short walking trails and just about every kind of water recreation, including kayaking, paddle-boarding, rafting, canoeing and angling. The area is also a great place for cyclists, playing host to two cycle tours, the Giro D’Vino in the autumn and the Tour delle Vigne in May. Looking for the perfect family destination? Camping is the main attraction at Jellystone Tower Park Marina & Resort (besides twice-daily appearances by Yogi Bear and friends, that is), but there are also loads of activities to choose from, including mini golf, watercraft hire, laser tag, arts and crafts and more.

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Laura Flippen

Central California

Discover the Central Valley

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24
September
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
32°
High
6°
Low
Sept - Nov
32°
High
6°
Low
Mar - May
28°
High
7°
Low
June - Aug
36°
High
16°
Low

California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory-rich experiences, a chance to see—and taste—the state’s bounty at every turn. Follow oak-shaded country roads to farm stands overflowing with fresh produce, and meander along wine trails to some of the state’s most productive vineyards and low-key tasting rooms.

Peaches, plums, apricots, and tomatoes—just some of the ultra-fresh produce you will find at farm stands throughout the valley.

Throughout the broad valley, stretching for over 400 miles/644 kilometers down the middle of the state, are cities and towns rich with history, international culture, and “everyone’s welcome” charm. 

 

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Derrell McCain/Alamy

Best Kept Secret: Solano County

See why this Central Valley region holds its own in terms of good wine, pretty countryside, and cool activities

A treasure awaits about 20 miles east of Napa, in a lovely but largely “secret” area of sprawling countryside and bayfront beauty. This is ...

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Lake Berryessa, located just outside of Winters, has a sunken city underneath it called Monticello.
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Alex Farnum

Davis

You don’t have to be a student to enjoy the perks of this ag-oriented college town

Eco-friendly, liberal leaning, progressive, impressive professor’s homes and fraternity houses—Davis has the hallmarks of a classic American...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets are...

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Laura Flippen
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Laura Flippen

Haggin Museum

Local history merges with world-renowned art at this must-see museum in Stockton’s Victory Park

Housed in an early-19th-century brick building, this handsome art and history museum is the centrepiece of Stockton’s stately Victory Park. The 34...

California's Heartland

California's Heartland
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The Tehama Trail is a surprisingly fertile area—a prime place for farms and ranches. Many invite visitors to stop in and buy fresh produce, artisanal olive oils, and other local food products.

The trail links together nearly two dozen vineyards, orchards, and grass-fed beef ranchers and...

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Bakersfield is full of surprises. Once known for oil and agriculture, this Central Valley town is morphing into an arts, culture, and sports hub, while still offering a glimpse of the past. Visit Colonel Allensworth State Historic...

April

One of California’s premier universities, University of California, Davis, invites everyone to its annual open house—a chance to learn, play, touch, taste and enjoy all aspects of the leafy campus...

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Courtesy of U.C. Davis College of Engineering
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Kodiak Greenwood

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

Map of Shasta Cascade
Some 300 species of birds and mammals make this a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts

Located on the Pacific Flyway 60 miles north of Sacramento, Gray Lodge encompasses 9,200 acres surrounded by agricultural flatlands and...

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Houseboating

Take to the water on a deluxe floating home

In California, it’s hard to talk about houseboats without talking about the Central Valley. One of the state’s premier places for holidaying in a...

November

Honour the harvest season at this remarkable, family-friendly event, hosted at the beautiful Full Belly Farm in the fertile Capay Valley. The valley, north-west of Sacramento, has one of the world...

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

California Delta

A boater’s and fisherman’s paradise awaits

Located north-east of the San Francisco Bay, this 1,000-mile network of inland waterways—the major waterway from the snow-capped Sierra Nevada to...

Lodi Wine Country
Dale Goff Photography

Lodi Wine Country

Sample the city’s famous Zinfandels after a day of outdoor fun

Best known for big red wines, particularly old-vine Zinfandels, the American Viticultural Area of...

Lodi Wine Country FF_VCW_D_CV_T8_Fresno_Manley
The 10 acres of rooms, passages and gardens at Fresno's Forestiere Underground Gardens were excavated by hand using only farming tools.
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Courtesy of Buck Owens Crystal Palace

Bakersfield

Experience California’s oil-rich history, with Basque food and country western music on the side

This rapidly growing city in the southern Central Valley is full of surprises. Once known for oil and agriculture, Bakersfield has...