An Early Valentine's Day Adventure: Lodi Wine & Chocolate

10:10 AM

Sometimes being a cliche is okay!
The Lil asked if we wanted to join her and her dude at Lodi Wine and Chocolate. We didn't really need much convincing, so we agreed. I'd heard of this event, but I've never thought to actually go. I love a new adventure and I love lover's day, so it seemed like a great way to celebrate Valentine's day.

Seeing as how Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday this year, we decided to celebrate it as a family with L and his mom, instead of us going out by ourselves. This was the perfect way to cover both options, one with just us and one with L!

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of this weekend event. It goes both days, but we decided to go on Sunday. Since it is their 20th anniversary, they themed the weekend as "The Roaring Twenties" and encouraged everyone to dress up. Yeah right, we weren't doing that! HAHA! The event allows you to "sip handcrafted Lodi wines and sample delicious chocolate treats as you travel between 50 local wineries." The event has a Chocolate sponsor, Brix Chocolate, who provides the commemorative chocolate treats with your event ticket.
Since Lil's dude is a member at a variety of Lodi wineries, he was able to score us event tickets for $45. If you bought them without being a member somewhere they were $55 pre-sale and $65 day of. They said they offered Designated Driver access, but you didn't need a ticket nor a fee would be incurred, but you'd have to show your ID. Kinda weird, but maybe just to signify you are part of the event?! Go figure, I'm not DD'ing anyways! HAHA

We met at D'art, one of Lil's dude's fave wineries in Lodi. We were running a little late to meet them, but they were super cool and waited there for us. When we walked up there was a table where we handed them our tickets and they gave us a shiny gold bracelet, our wine glasses, and a sample of Brix chocolate. The group even let us taste and then try the Mole chili before we caravan'd to the next spot.
So I used Yelp to try to remind myself of all the wineries we stopped at, including the order. So here goes nothing:

1. D'art -- They served mole chile, but it had tons of beans. It had delish flavor, but I only had a little. Fun little vineyard and the owner was in full theme and looked like a super faux buff gangster.
 
2. Mettler Family Vineyards -- They only tasted three varietals and also had mole meatballs on their patio. They have a gorgeous location, but their attitude regarding the PG&E petition was a little off-putting, even though I signed it for them.
3. Klinker Brick Winery --They were so worried about tasters, they had a check list for everyone to use. They had whites/rose, reds, more reds, and the final reds separated throughout their facility. They have a great facility with tons of different areas to relax. Their huge fountain had a fun rubber ducky in it. They also had a huge Brix table spread to try more chocolate and they also offered fondue.
4. Berghold Vineyards -- It has a churchy vibe, but a huge estate. They also had Drewski's Food Truck there, so we all partook in some lunch here! The estate is gorgeous and perfect for pictures. There's a house cat that I didn't care to pet!
5. Oak Ridge Winery - We walked right past their regular 'tasting room' to another larger room where they had everything spread out. They had snacks -- chicken wings and meatballs -- to snack on. They had a kissing booth, really a photo booth. And they had boxed wine tasting here, which intrigued all of us!
 
The next three were all warehouse wineries, which were all in walking distances and smaller locations.
6. McCay Cellars -- Even though it was a warehouse on the outside, they went out of their way to make sure the inside was festive. They even had a chance to win something, everyone in our group won the BOGO offer. I didn't taste here, I took a break.
7. Twisted Barrel -- Live band and probably where I got my light weight food poisoning from their turkey meatballs :( The ladies here were super nice and they had a little homemade photo booth, which I took too solo! HAHA!
8. Drava Wines -- Probably the smallest and most low key spot we visited all day. They had soccer jersey's on their wall and were very low key.
From the warehouses we headed to Downtown Lodi.
9. Jeremy Wine Company -- This cute little downtown spot smelled like hot ass so bad that I couldn't even stay in there. I left and sat outside on the patio. Lil said normally it isn't that gross and its actually cute and fun.
Then back out to more secluded wineries.
10. M2 Wines -- As we pulled in it was super flooded, but we made it through the mini lake. Lil's dude is a member here, so we were able to go into the special tasting room. It was very urban chic and I enjoyed it here.
11. Dancing Coyote Wines -- Our last stop. I instantly recognized this place. This was the first stop on my 31st birthday wine tour in Lodi. I didn't partake in wine, since I wasn't feeling well -- but I did enjoy their couches and their photo booth.

Lil's dude and his friend were on a mission to blaze through as many wineries as possible. I mean we had the option to hit 50 within a five hour span. We didn't do so bad, in my opinion. We spent more time at some and less time at others. I never felt in a rush, but if we were done, we were done and on to the next one.
So, I didn't realize it until I was home puking all evening. But I got lightweight food poisoning somewhere along the way. Lil and I deduced that I was the only one that ate the turkey meatballs at Twisted Barrel. I'm not mad at them, but it will make me re-think any time I reach for a snack out of a chafing dish or a large scale sampling.

I'm glad we decided to check out this event. The theme was great and it made for real good people watching. I will say, I think Lodi was exhausted from day one of the event. Most wineries staff seemed a little less nice than they probably could have been. No one was outright rude, but everyone just seemed to have had enough. I heard this was the biggest event to date, but that seems like it would be a good thing. 

For those planning this event, I send my marketing and party planning kudos. It was easy to understand at each winery where to go to check-in for the event, if you needed too. The 'chocolate' factor got lost, with the exception of Klinker Brick winery because they had a Brix table and tasting. Other than that, my small square at check-in didn't quite live up to the events name.

We never bought any bottles of wine. We didn't find that many that we were swooning over, specifically because Lodi is home of the Zinfandel. Which isn't something that J and I are particular too. It was nice to checkout so many different spots in Lodi, even though their wine isn't at the top of our list. It is a great area to wine taste and I hope anyone locally takes advantage of all of these fifty spots at some point in the wine drinking career!

Love the wine you're with...

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