Lodi Rules Rock

Oh hey, Earth Day has passed but every day can be Earth Day. Honestly—and given that I grew up to my copy of “50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth”—I feel like I don’t do enough these days. But can I at least turn your heads to wine regions that are doing their part? Every little bit helps. Seeing as I’m getting more crotchety than a hipster who knew that fill-in-the-blank was cool before you did…I am into originators. And Lodi was one of those, in terms of sustainable winegrowing. It was a grassroots movement, started in 1992. The goal at the time was reducing use of pesticides. By 2000, the Lodi Winegrowers Self-Assessment was published, inspired by a farming management program in Wisconsin that broke down issues needing attention. In finalizing the certification, the Wisconsin “Healthy Grown” program was instructive—it required farmers to exceed a certain number of sustainable farming practice points as well as not exceeding a number of environmental impact units associated with pesticides. In 2005, the LODI RULES certification was formally established as an incredibly expansive sustainable winegrowing program. Their website is quite comprehensive, but special thanks to Stuart Spencer, Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape commission, for further edifying me on the program. Truly, the more I dug into the LODI RULES website, the more exhaustive I saw that the program was. I’ll try and keep it to the basics here. One of the main tenets of the program are what they call the Standards. Sustainability is about a lot more than the environment—no disrespect Mother Nature on your high holiday Earth Day. But. True sustainability demands more than just recycling (but please don’t stop recycling). The LODI RULES Standards are Business Management, Human Resources Management, Ecosystem management, Soil management, Water management, and Pest management. And all together within those six categories there are over a hundred “standard” practices to take heed of if a winery wants to earn the LODI RULES seal. All of which are reviewed by a third party. That’s hardcore. But there’s more. There is also the PEAS Pesticide Environmental Assessment System (PEAS). It looks to quantify the impact of different pesticides on everything from humans to bees. Pesticides are assigned an Environmental Impact Unit, and pesticides used by LODI RULES winegrowers must fall below 50 units each season. And then, surprise! In researching this article, I found out that there are certified LODI RULES growers in more than just Lodi. The program appeals to other regions both for being grower-driven, and its years of experience. There are now wines bearing the LODI RULES seal in 14 California crush districts, Washington and…wait for it…Israel! But how do they taste? Here’s a few of the tasty Lodi treats I had recently: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 2020 Maggio Estates Lodi Chardonnay Certainly, a California Chardonnay-lover’s Chardonnay, but it just manages to not overdo it. The nose is spirited—you get hazelnuts and oak but also a hint of zippy flint and orange blossom. It’s a heavy satin cape in the mouth and echoes the nose but less nutty, more citrusy, more fruit, and less hazelnut, more marcona almond. I was afraid it was gonna be too much Chard for me, but we are getting on well. 2021 Lange Twins River Ranch Aglianico Rosé Rosé of Aglianico? Be still my heart! Juicy and complex and also sorta ocean fresh. SO juicy. Peach melba, ripe raspberry and underripe white peach with a hint of cream, plus seabreeze, on the nose. That and bits of herbs (sage? Italian parsley even?) on the palate keep things savory-adjacent. Plus like, is that passion fruit? It’s a lot, and does it with just enough grace to make one want to chug, but also not want to, so as to take in everything that is happening. 2018 Bokisch Vineyards Las Cerezas Vineyard Graciano Omigoodness the only time I think I’ve had a 100% Graciano varietal wine (most typically it is a small part of a Rioja blend) it was a rosé, and I loved it, so I was excited to try this; it did not disappoint. Juicy and spicy with totally coy tannins. Spicy, blackberry juice, fun and full but not so full that it necessarily demands food. Quaffable solo. Elegantly done though I might even guess it was an Old World offering in a blind tasting. A little floral, a little caraway. Just a touch of oak that sings of cedar. A wine both fun and serious. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Want to read more from Ellen? Check out her recent articles: Kosher Wine: More Than Manischewitz Academy Wine In Honor of Women’s History Month Ellen in Lalaland: Enter the Valley The Riesling Chronicles, Part One: Old vs. New You can also listen to Ellen's podcast , The Wine Situation here . Check out her recent transcripts of the Final Five questions: Wine Situation Final Five! With Robert Camuto Wine Situation Final Five! With Maryam Ahmed

LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards

Jahant River Ranch Vineyard Aglianico Rosé 2021

Aglianico rosé in California say what?! Seabreeze, peach melba and herb salad yayyyy — 2 years ago

"Odedi", Joshua and 11 others liked this

Bokisch Vineyards

Las Cerezas Vineyard Graciano 2018

Oooh super fun juicy n fresh. Coy tannins. Spicy, blackberry-y and elegant. — 2 years ago

"Odedi", Daniel P. and 10 others liked this


Estate Grown Lodi Chardonnay 2020

It’s a Cali Chard but casually enjoyably so. I’d drink it again — 2 years ago

"Odedi", Daniel P. and 9 others liked this