One of mine & Travis’ favorite things to do together is the Lodi Wine and Chocolate weekend. It has become a tradition for us. We have been going every year for the last 4 or 5 years. By now we have a route we like to take to our favorites (there are over 40 participating wineries in the Lodi area!) so we don’t waste any time driving around getting lost on the country roads. The past two years our friends Jimmy and Jodi have come along making our little tradition even more fun. This time they brought their sidekick, Edge :)
Since the wine and chocolate weekend appropriately falls on Valentine’s weekend and we are not much into the whole commercialism (shouldn’t we send love letters and do sweet things for our significant other all of the time?) of the holiday, this is the perfect way to celebrate. I would much rather spend a fun day with Travis than get some wilting flowers and a cheesy stuffed animal…
Our first stop was Vino Con Brio. This winery tasting is held in the beautiful backyard of the wine makers home. We only stayed here for a few minutes because it was a bit too crowded but usually we participate in a blind taste test here. I am terrible at this but Travis is great at picking out different flavors in wine and knowing exactly which variety of grapes he is drinking.
Next we stopped at Harney Lane. This is a new winery, just 3 years old. We have come here since they opened. The first time we visited the tasting was in a huge shop where they stored the barrels. Now they have a beautiful tasting room and gift shop. They are known for their Chocolate Chili, which is delicious and of course their wines. I like them all, but the best is probably their Tempranillo.
After Harney we went up the road a couple blocks to Harmony Wynelands. This is a family owned boutique winery, set on a beautiful property. This winery always has a fun atmosphere. Each year they also have barrel tastings. It is interesting to taste the wine fresh out of the barrel and then taste it once it has been bottled and aged a few years.
Inside of their tasting room they have a historic San Francisco Castro Theatre antique pipe organ. The Winery owner Bob Hartzell plays it throughout the day.
Next on our route, Vino Piazza.
There are actually several wineries located here. I wouldn’t say they were my favorites of the day but this little piazza is really cute. They have tables everywhere to hang out, a courtyard and live music in several spots.
On our way home we stopped at Berghold Winery. We were unimpressed with their wines, but we mostly wanted to stop here because of this music machine thing they have. It is encased in glass and has dozens of different instruments playing tunes. Very cool. This winery is also a wedding venue, so naturally it is beautiful.