According to Camron King, Executive Director 2 with the Lodi Winegrape Commission, “The [Lodi] region has been the backbone of the California wine scene for generations.” Today, Lodi continues to be home to many multi-generational farming families that produce the grapes used to make wines on the dinner tables of families around the world.
The Lodi Winegrape Commission works with the winegrape growers and vintners of the region to showcase the vineyards and wines made in the Lodi region through events, media coverage, marketing and advertising campaigns, quality educational program for growers, winery owners and staff, and by promoting research to ensure the region continues to grow the best winegrapes possible. King’s duties varies from day to day and includes working on different projects and events at any given time, which is what he enjoys most about role, along with the people he gets to work with.
How did King land this dream job? “I have been in the wine industry now for over a decade and had the good fortune of working with growers from all over California and the country as an advocate for the California winegrape growers, he explains. As for working in Lodi, he says it is a dream come true. “I have long respected the folks here for their history and traditions, but also for their commitment to looking to the future and being innovators. I wanted to have the opportunity to work with people who know where their roots are but also want to make a difference, and Lodi embodies that.”
The Commission is involved in many ways as a part of the community and by supporting events and activities that better the Lodi region. While they are not directly involved in charity work, King notes they work with many wineries and growers, as well as other groups, to offer support in any way they are able to.
So, what are King’s favorite spots to sip wine in the city? “There are so many fun places to go,” he ponders, “but I think my favorites have to be TowneHouse, School Street Bistro, Alebrijes and Pietro’s.” He wasn’t as forthcoming, however, when asked about his favorite local wines. “I can’t pick just one!” he exclaimed. “Our growers are growing so many different varieties of winegrapes that there is something for every taste, every food, every occasion… and I am so lucky to not have to pick one!” What about non-local wines? “The beauty of wine is that it is an adventure and an exploration, and there are so many wines to try and regions to try wines from. I like comparing and contrasting the same varietal from different regions, but truthfully here in Lodi we grow grapes from all over the world, everything from Albarino to Zinfandel, so this is a fun place to start.”
Indeed, while Napa and Sonoma often seem to command the majority of the attention bestowed upon the California wine scene, Lodi has cultivated its own unique niche. “When people come to Lodi,” King concludes, “often they are blown away by a few things: how great the wines are, how wonderful and friendly the people here are, and how passionate the region is about our wine community. There is something so special and unique about getting to meet the grape grower, the winemaker, the family as they work in tasting rooms, are visiting friends or enjoying a meal in town. This is truly a community and will continue to maintain that special feel for generations to come.”
Don’t miss the upcoming 17th Annual Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend, February 8-9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., organized by the Lodi Winegrape Commission. Sip award-winning, handcrafted wines and sample decadent chocolates at over 40 wineries in the Lodi appellation. For more information, visit lodiwineandchocolate.com.
By Kimberly Stredney