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Lodi Zinfest Tasting: May 18-20, Lodi, CA

zinfest.jpgCreedence Clearwater Revival probably wouldn't have written the line "Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again" if they had managed to be in town for the annual Zinfandel festival, which is happening next weekend in this little town at the far end of the Sacramento river delta.

Lodi could have become (and indeed, was, at various times) famous for any number of things including being the birthplace of A&W Root Beer in 1919, as well as the infamous inspiration for the aforementioned rock song. Luckily for all of us, after an ill-fated fling with the Flame Tokay grape that peaked in the Eighties, Lodi decided to become the Zinfandel capital of the world, and that is the title that it has held for some time now.

Of course, the decision to become the epicenter of Zinfandel doesn't necessarily make it so. But as luck would have it, Lodi and other surrounding appellations include some of the oldest Zinfandel vines in the state, and quite possibly the world.

So when Lodi throws a Zinfandel party, anyone who appreciates this variety ought to pay attention. Or even better, show up.

The Lodi ZinFest takes place, as is typical for these sorts of wine festivals, over three days. The event starts Friday the 18th with a "vintners grille," which as far as I can tell is just a fancy name for a barbecue with lots of winemakers there pouring their wines. Then on Saturday, the park by the lake is filled with scores of wineries pouring wines for eager tasters, and plenty of food and entertainment are also on offer. There's a tent where you can try your hand at blending your own Zinfandel (with a little Petite Sirah and Syrah if you like), arts and crafts for sale, and the opportunity to buy many of the wines from the area.

So if you're looking for something to do next weekend, and want to drink some nice wine in a fairly low key, friendly setting, you'd be hard pressed to find a better occasion than the ZinFest.

ZinFest Wine Festival
Saturday, May 19, 2007 12 noon - 7 PM
Lodi Lake Park
1101 W. Turner Road
Lodi, CA 95242

Tickets for the main festival event are $25 per person in advance and available for sale online. You can also buy them the day of the event for $35 per person. Tickets for the Friday night dinner are $75 in advance.

It's looking like the weather is gonna be stellar, so make sure to bring a sun hat, lots of sunscreen, and drink lots of water. Dehydration + heatstroke + alcohol = an ugly combination.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.