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Lodi Calls Attention to Old Vines

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Gnarled Tokay vine planted at Jessie's Grove ib 1889 Gnarled Tokay vine planted at Jessie's Grove ib 1889 Randy Caporoso photo courtesy Lodi Winegrape Commission

TASTE News Service, October 12, 2020 – The Lodi Winegrape Commission has unveiled its “Save the Old Vines" integrated marketing campaign.

Focused on preservation, the campaign aims to raise general awareness and education surrounding historical, old vine plantings in Lodi and to foster recognition of the quality of wine produced from these vines amongst both consumer and industry audiences.

With a history dating back to 1850, the Lodi Appellation has the highest concentration of own-rooted, old vine vineyards in the United States, a fact which is a great source of pride among the community. These old vine vineyards – many of them over 100 years of age – helped sustain Lodi’s grape-growing industry as growers found a booming market in shipping freight car after freight car to people looking to try their hand at home winemaking. Thanks to the ongoing care of Lodi’s farming families and unique sandy loam soil profile resistant to diseases like phylloxera, these vineyards have experienced longevity unseen in many other winegrowing regions throughout the world. 

Stuart Spencer PicmonkeyStuart Spencer of the Lodi Winegrape CommissionIn recent years, however, increasing costs of vineyard management, low yields, urban developments, and a diminishing financial return are forcing growers in Lodi and throughout the state of California to rip out hundreds of acres of old vines annually. Typically, these old vine vineyards are replaced by vineyards of younger, more productive vines. The tragedy being: once old vines are gone, so too are the special wines that they produce.

“What’s happening is tragic,” says Lodi Winegrape Commission Executive Director Stuart Spencer. “And it’s not specific to Lodi. Old vines are living pieces of agricultural history and they are disappearing, one by one. The market lacks the recognition and premiumization of old vine wines. Until these wines can fetch the premium price they deserve, we will continue to see old vines ripped out. It is simple economics. Our goal is to preserve Lodi’s historical vineyards for generations to come. We start by raising awareness and providing education.”

The “Save the Old Vines” campaign is supported by a dedicated website (savetheold.com) and targeted public relations initiatives including a virtual tasting and panel discussion of old vine wines on Tuesday, November 10, at 4:30 pm PST/7:30 pm EST on the Lodi Wine Facebook page. The campaign is augmented by interactive content and digital and social advertising with partners Wine Enthusiast, Vinepair, Wine Business, and others and will extend through limited-edition old vine-themed merchandise and wine packages. The campaign began will run through November 22, 2020.

To discover how you can get involved, visit savetheold.com.

About the Lodi American Viticultural Area (AVA)

A historic winegrowing region since the 1850s, Lodi is situated 40 miles south of Sacramento and 90 miles east of San Francisco. Lodi’s Mediterranean climate and distinct soils allow its growers to cultivate 125 winegrape varieties, making Lodi the most diverse winegrowing region in the United States. The region also serves as home to 85 boutique wineries specializing in small-lot, handmade wines that have garnered major awards at domestic and international wine competitions.

Lodi is naturally a leader in sustainable viticulture. Created by California farmers and accredited by world-renowned scientists, LODI RULES is America’s original sustainable winegrowing program. Held to a high standard of scientific rigor and excellence, the program emphasizes environmentally and socially responsible practices, while keeping economic feasibility in mind for long-term business success. Today, there are more than 51,000 acres certified throughout California and Israel. For more information about the Lodi AVA or LODI RULES, visit lodiwine.com and lodirules.org.

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