Oak Ridge is Lodi’s oldest operating winery, founded in 1934 as a co-op of local growers. Over time Oak Ridge fell into disrepair, but over the last few years it has regained much of its former glory, thanks in no small part to Chris’ efforts. Chris is the head of sanitation and said when he arrived, things looked pretty grim. The winery shines now, and after exploring the lab and meeting Senior Winemaker Chue Her, visiting the bottling line and massive storage and fermentation tanks, we wound up in the tasting room.
Oak Ridge’s tasting room is a converted 50,000 gallon redwood tank. It lends itself perfectly to wine tasting and we went through their line up of wines under their five different labels. We enjoyed them all, but the ’05 Moss Roxx Ancient Vine Zinfandel remains my favorite. Champortini is unique. It’s a pink sparkling wine with a bit of port in it.
Jessie’s Grove was our next stop. The weather was perfect, sunny and mid to upper 80s and it lit up the property spectacularly! The ranch dates back to the 1860s. The tasting room is a veritable museum and a tribute to the history of Lodi wine. Suzanne took wonderful care of us, tasting us from Jessence, aViognier/Roussanne blend, on to their amazing Zinfandels (there are five!) as well as their Cab and Petite Syrah. We finished with samples in the barrel room.