In Lodi, one of California's lesser-known wine regions, one winery is breaking out of the mold and making wines that take everyone who tries them by surprise. When Borra Vineyards opened in 1975, it was the first boutique winery in the area. Now the winery combines the history of the third-generation owner with the innovation of Markus Niggli, the winemaker. His unusual background--raised in Switzerland, educated in wine in Australia, trained in Napa Valley--gives him a different perspective on winemaking, one that is garnering praise in the local wine scene. Niggli makes dry wines lower in alcohol and more reminiscent of European wines than bold California wines. Drinkable and affordable, wines like the Nuvola and Heritage Field Blend are not to be missed if you enjoy trying what's new in California winemaking.
The tasting room is open Friday-Monday, 12:00-5:00. Tastings are $5 per person and include a souvenir wine glass. The atmosphere is friendly and laid-back. Combine a stop here with a day in Lodi--check out the tasting rooms, cheese shop, and restaurants in downtown Lodi.