As we look to Earth Day we are reminded once again that humans were given dominion over the earth. Many embrace the definition of dominion as authority or control. A Biblical understanding of the word dominion means stewardship, to supervise or take care of something. Though both definitions are accurate, as it pertains to the earth one demonstrates more wisdom than the other. The Lodi wine region seeks to define their understanding of dominion through stewardship, as is demonstrated by their Lodi Rules program.
“Lodi Rules is a sustainable vineyard certification program that we pioneered here in California and launched in 2006. In 2006 when the program launched we had 5 growers and about 1200 acres certified, in the past ten years we have gone to over 100 growers and 26,000 acres certified in 2016.” Stuart Spencer, Lodi Wine Grape Commission
“Lodi Rules is one of the most aggressive and progressive…and something I am humbly proud to be a part of. Many of the practices of Lodi Rules were things vineyards were already doing to manage their land and be responsible stewards of what we have, in continuing to grow wine grapes.” Aaron Shinn, Vineyard Manager for Round Valley Vineyards
To better tell the story of Lodi Rules, we will explore it through four Lodi wines, each of which carries the Lodi Rules seal on the bottle, meaning at least 85% of the grapes in the bottle come from a Lodi Rules certified vineyard. As you know from reading my blog Lodi is much more than a red wine/Zinfandel wine region. Yes, Lodi produces high quality Zinfandels along with many other red wine varieties; however, Lodi is a diverse grape growing region that produces wines from Spanish, Austrian, German, French, and Italian grapes.
2016 Oak Farm Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Lodi USA ($20): clear pale lemon; delicate characteristic aromas of a basket of fresh fruit including citrus, grapefruit, passion fruit, grassy notes, and tropical fruit; racy prominent acidity that coats the palate creating a good pucker and leaving the mouth wanting another sip of this bright and refreshing wine. These grapes were cultivated in the Mohr Fry Vineyards, a pioneer in the Lodi Rules program back in 2005.
2015 Bokish Vineyards Albarino Lodi USA ($18): clear pale gold; medium aromas of lemon, orange, pineapple, banana, gardenia blossoms, and key lime zest; weighty on the palate with a complex texture, racy acidity, super pleasing porch sipper, also great with seafood and shellfish.
2014 Michael Klouda Wines Broken Vine Zinfandel Lodi USA ($26): deep ruby with scarlet hues; medium+ aromas of fresh picked red and black berries, candied violets, sweet baking spice notes of allspice and nutmeg, milk chocolate, and vanilla; elegant on the palate, restrained yet rich in flavors and texture; full body, balanced with medium acid and tannins that are rustic yet integrated; long, earthy finish.
2014 Michael David Winery Inkblot Cabernet Franc Lodi USA ($35): the name says it all, inky purple in the glass; medium aromas of black berries, black and red cherries, black raspberries, plums, touch of green pepper, savory dried herbs, dried rose petals, sweet baking spice, hint of leather, smoke, and graphite; rich and powerful on the palate, this full body wine is beautifully balanced with high acidity and pronounced tannins that are appropriately grippy and not overpowering, with a long, tart berry/earthy finish; this is a delicious wine but best enjoyed with a hearty meal of burgers, lamb, steak, or any red meat you prefer.
“Sustainability is the future.” ~ Aaron Shin,Vineyard Manager for Round Valley Vineyards
“When you manage the water, manage your soils, you are responsible for pesticides, and your vines are well nourished, typically you are going to end up with a higher quality grape.” ~Aaron Shin,Vineyard Manager for Round Valley Vineyards
Lodi Rules does not only address stewardship in the vineyards. Lodi Rules has a human element that is crucial to the program, taking into account the people that are involved in the winemaking process. Aaron Shin explains that in order to become Lodi Rules certified questions such as “do you give bonuses, do you offer regular safety meetings, and do you provide health insurance” factor into determining a vineyards acceptance into the program.
What the winemakers of Lodi want the consumer to understand is “when you drink a glass of wine made from Lodi Rules certified grapes, you are supporting a farmer, a vintner, and an entire agricultural community that embraces their responsibility to care for their environment and their neighbors.” That alone is a powerful reason to drink Lodi Rules certified wines. However, that alone is not enough; therefore the great news is that wines are so good!
What does the future hold for the Lodi Rules certification program? It continues to grow, with acreage up to 44,000 certified across California this year. Furthermore, there is an international winery looking at the Lodi Rules program as something they want to implement in their vineyards. Positive news as the program hopes to continue to be embraced by wineries and wine regions all over the globe.
Finally, along with the media wine samples I received to participate in the virtual tasting, I also received a cool Lodi Rules wine box/planter with two seed papers to plant and grow herbs and wildflowers. What a fun idea! I promise to plant them and share photos on my Instagram page as the plants grow. What your own Lodi Rules Garden Box? No problem, simply order a bottle of your favorite Lodi Rules wines, then add the box for $10. Remember, it comes with herb and wildflower seed paper. It makes a great gift for Mother’s Day as well. Click here to order.
My Song Selection:
Cheers to a wonderful Earth Day with Lodi wines.