2015 Winners: BEST OF Wine & Drink

Best of San Joaquin


By Lindsey Rodrian

Although Lodi has been home to vineyards since the late 1800s, the Lodi Appellation has made quite a name for itself in recent decades; producing premium wines and rivaling the best California has to offer. Macchia Wines’ owners Tim and Lani Holdener are among the vintners leading our industry and securing our outstanding reputation for generations to come.

As Lani explains, Tim began making home made beer with a friend in the early 1990’s, a hobby that led to a winemaking love affair, and the founding of Macchia in 2001. “People ask us what our business plan was, and the only plan we had was to make the best wines for the best price,” says Lani.

Establishing an award-winning winery is no easy task, but the duo applied their dedicated work ethic, passion and personality to the craft, resulting in an array of awards including Macchia’s Barberas Righteous and Delicious being named the top two Barberas produced outside of Italy; four Five Star Gold’s; and multiple Best Zinfandel titles in the state of California… to name a few.

“We are one of a handful of wineries in the area in which the owner is also the winemaker,” Lani explains. “Tim’s passion and competitiveness shines through his wines,” she says with a smile. And it’s clear their zest for life infuses the personality of their family business, as Lani talks of personal accomplishments, like climbing the face of Yosemite’s Half Dome. “Our wedding cake was modeled after the Half Dome, with glass figurines climbing to the top!”

This year, Lani has enjoyed watching her eldest children Tanya and Jonathan gracefully take the torch as assistant winemaker and manager. Macchia’s success and smooth operation has been a long time coming, and each year is better than the last as aspects of the winery improve and expand. The cozy tasting room was originally the house Lani and Tim lived in when first diving into this project. Today, the 100 plus year old farm house offers a personable experience, surrounded by lush grounds equipped with Bocci Ball, horseshoe pits and places to picnic.

“We’re truly family-focused,” Lani says of the property open to children and pets; an aspect that will take new meaning when her daughter welcomes twins later this year. “We look forward to being able to have them at work with us, watching them play and grow!”

The home-away-from-home winery also hosts some pretty noteworthy parties boasting inspirational, creative themes that encourage members to get involved and have some fun. “It’s so great seeing the costumes, they’re incredible,” Lani says of theme participants. “I like to thank people that get involved, by offering giveaways like a free T Shirt, wine glass or a discount on their next order.”

As for future plans, Lani and Tim look forward to many more years with their amazing staff, the evolution of their family business and the continuation of their original, simplistic business plan- great wines for a great price. And to that Lani says, “We want people to drink good wine every night!”

What is your favorite date night spot?

Rosewood, especially during the Farmers Market on Thursday nights.

Where do you love to shop in SJ?

Stella Boutique


Happy Hour

Garlic Brothers
6629 Embarcadero Dr., Stockton
(209) 474-6585

Nothing beats watching the sunset along the Delta with a cocktail in hand, and Garlic Brothers offers a front row seat! The ambiance offers a relaxing environment with an impeccable view, and of course, a satiating yet simple food and drink menu with daily deals and a long lasting happy hour. From 4 to 7 PM Monday to Thursday and from 4 to 6 PM on Friday Garlic Brothers invites all to enjoy $2.50 well drinks and bottled beers, $3 drafts and discounted appetizers….we’ll drink to that!


Market Tavern
236 Lincoln Center, Stockton
(209) 932-8001

The cocktails at Market Tavern are simply masterpieces. As works of art, each is carefully constructed to impress in more than one way. Indulge your eyes and taste buds with these cleverly named, innovative takes on classic drinks, such as their Bloody Mary. Fitting to the Tavern’s theme, each cocktail is made with freshly squeezed juice and in-house infused liquors. For the beer lovers, the bar also features several craft brews on tap!

 Coffee House

Empresso Coffee House
1825 Pacific Ave., Stockton
(209) 941-0072

Empresso Coffee House, exclusive to Stockton’s Pacific Avenue, has revived the Empire Theatre to give it new life as a café. And not just any café, Empresso has taken full advantage of the theatre-type ambiance to re-create an experience that is far beyond your typical coffee house. Here, you will find an extensive menu from food to drinks, and entertainment to boot. The café offers art in all forms, evident through daily and nightly performances, heavenly pastries and, of course, the epic espresso art!

CowgirlsSassy Glassy (Editor’s Pick) 

Thee Glassy Lady

Thee Glassy Lady lends her artistic talent to San Joaquin by offering one-of-a-kind gift ideas for all. Heidi Moorefield has been an artist since she first picked up a crayon. Originally drawing animals, she now hand paints wine, champagne, martini, beer, and pilsner glasses for all occasions, giving us the opportunity to transform the plain to personal, representing a special moment or event. She creates one-of-a-kind masterpieces which include portraits in magnificent detail, right down to the toenails, jewelry and eye color. After she carefully paints each piece, Moorefield heat treats the glasses for wash-ability so designs are sure to last for years on end! So sip in style, San Joaquin! These are the gifts that keep on givin’.

wine dispenser lincoln cellarSwipe and Sip (Editor’s Pick) 

Lincoln Cellar
357 Lincoln Center, Stockton
(209) 594-1691

The Lincoln Center based restaurant, known for their dimensional, flavorful dishes paired impeccably with an extensive selection of wine, is now home to the only WineEmotion in the county. The state-of-the-art dispensing system (much like a vending machine with alcohol-infused options) allows customers to automatically select and be served their choice of wine at the perfect temperature. So swipe, select and sip to your heart’s desire!

Adult Punch (Editor’s Pick) 

Habanero Hots
1024 E. Victor Rd., Lodi
(209) 369-3791

Habanero Hots has captured San Joaquin’s heart as a premiere destination for great food and unbeatable cocktails. The drinks are just as generous as the plate portions.  While the restaurant’s famous margaritas and tequila tasting nights are noted regional favorites, we highlight the bar’s Poncho Punch. Reminiscent of jungle juice or even a Long Island Iced Tea, this very adult style punch is made with a mix of tequila, rum and vodka with splashes of pineapple, cranberry and grenadine to give the drink a fruity tang with just the right amount of tart. With cocktails this colorful and creative, we don’t mind if we do!

IMG_1299Do You Bellini in Life After Love? (Editor’s Pick) 

French 25
110 N. El Dorado St., Stockton
(209) 451-0617

Here in the central Valley, we are no strangers to the heat. Escape the rising temperatures and find refuge along the Stockton Waterfront’s French 25. The restaurant urges us ‘not to swelter, seek shelter,’ and they’ve got you covered with a cleverly themed drink menu that’s sure to cool you down, including the ever-refreshing Sub-Zereaux Peach Bellini. Find your peach-perfect bliss in this frozen masterpiece, made from champagne, Chambord and peach puree for an un-bellini-ible, heat-liberating libation.

1972272_10152321892583217_1493214510_nKeepin’ it Peachy Keen (Editor’s Pick) 

Rosewood Bar and Grill
28 S. School St., Lodi
(209) 369-0470

Found in beautiful downtown Lodi, Rosewood Bar and Grill offers residents an all-around upscale experience with an unbeatable bar menu. If you’re looking for a refreshing treat, we recommend the restaurant’s Georgia Peach. Though sweet, this cocktail is strong both in flavor and alcohol content, so don’t be fooled! Made with splashes of simple syrup, pomegranate juice, and lemon, the concoction consists of Absolut Apeach and peach schnapps all muddled together with fresh peaches. Shaken and strained into a martini glass with a half rim of sugar, one sip of the Georgia Peach will have you feeling like you’ve just taken a bite of one of the South’s most cherished exports. Well done, Rosewood, well done!

IMG_3425Latte’s for the Lactose Free (Editor’s Pick) 

House of Coffees
239 N. Ham Ln., Lodi
(209) 368-2611

For good vibes and delicious beverages of all sorts, stop by Lodi’s House of Coffees where locals gather for a non-corporate coffee experience. The café impresses with an extensive list of hot and cold drinks, even smoothies or espresso creations that cater to dietary needs (even gluten free goodies)! House of Coffees’ Lactose Free Lattes mean customers can still have their favorite drinks, free of milk. Instead, the café uses coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk or lactose free-milk to substitute – making for a delicious espresso drink.  With menu items like the Grasshopper, the Surprise or Happy Camper….we can’t wait to try them all, made with lactose free options.

FREAKSHOW2Become Your Bottle (Editor’s Pick) 

Michael David Winery
4580 Hwy 12, Lodi
(209) 368-7384

Michael David Winery is a local treasure and international gem, based right here in Lodi. It is no wonder that they’ve delivered yet another fantastic merger of elegance and gulpablity, complete with a pop of pomegranate and oak for a slightly smoky flavor. In yet another quirky stroke of genius, the 2012 Freak Show Cabernet Sauvignon offers a delicious dense red wine with depth. This smooth yet bold blend is best paired with a great meal and great company!


Market Tavern
French 25
Ave on the Mile

Market Tavern
Casa Flores
La Palma Mexican Cuisine

Coffee House
Empresso Coffeehouse
House of Coffees

Wine Tasting Room
Harney Lane Winery
Macchia Wines
Oak Farm Vineyards

Michael David Winery
Viaggio Estate & Winery
Van Ruiten Family Winery