Experiencing a Hidden Wine Country in Lodi, California
I had driven by this rural part of California's Central Valley numerous times but had no idea what a special oasis lay among the old oak trees and huge vineyards around Lodi. After visiting last week, I now consider this place to be a new favorite getaway. Oak Farm Vineyards is what exemplifies Lodi wine country: it's rural, friendly, tied to the area's history, and home to excellent wines. The property, with a large plantation-style house, was built in 1864. It is now a destination winery, a beautiful property that visitors can walk around before or after wine tasting. Even though the property is one of the oldest in California's Central Valley, the two guys who run the place are young and fun and looking to the future.
The winery is an easy 10-minute drive from the town of Lodi. It's open Fri.-Sun. 11-5 and Mon.-Thurs. by appointment and is family friendly. The 2011 Barbera won a platinum medal at the 2013 Consumer Wine Awards, and it's easy to see why--smooth and fruit-forward. Tastings are between $5 and $10; the $10 tasting includes 11 wines and a wine glass to take home. The design on the bottles and glasses is of the property's 400-year-old enormous, twisting oak tree, proudly reflecting the history and roots of the vineyard in the California valley.