As for the wineries, a good place to start is Oak Ridge Winery. This is the oldest operating winery in the Lodi AVA and started in 1934 as a wine making cooperative of local grape growers. In 2001, Rudy Maggio and his partners, Don and Rocky Reynolds purchased the winery and retained many aspects of the historical property - for instance the building for Lodi's first tasting room. Today the winery produces several brands including its signature Old Zin Vines (“OZV”). The wine is made from grapes harvested from 50-100 year old zinfandel vines spread throughout the winery's various estate vineyards.
And what defines old vine zinfandel? The Historic Vineyard Society, documents older vineyards in the interest of preservation and defines old vines or historic vines as:
- Currently productive vines
- Vines planted no later than 1960
- At least one third of vines traceable to the original planting date
Last week I received a couple samples of old vine Zinfandel from Oak Ridge. They are both reasonably priced wines at $14 and available in most states. Check out the winery's locator.
2012 OZV Old Vine Zinfandel ($14, 13.95%) - includes some Petite Sirah and Merlot, but primarily Zinfandel from 50-100 year old vines. The wine is both creamy and jammy with slight spices throughout. It finishes with very easy tannins.
2012 OZV Red Blend ($14, 13.5%) - a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet, Petite Sirah and Merlot. This wine is also jammy (red cherry) with more of a velvety texture, some spice, and more easy tannins. This wine was also a big hit at a family birthday party. Cheers to that.