A short trek from Lodi Wine Country, Murphy’s is home to Ironstone Vineyards, a tasting room behemoth offering a fall experience unlike any in San Joaquin County. That’s because the location is bursting with fall colors and moderate temperatures all season long, beckoning visitors from surrounding communities to come and explore.
The expansive grounds are welcoming, to say the least. Large hedges boasting IRONSTONE overlook a grassy knoll and small pond shaded by towering trees. Even in November, the weather is nice enough to enjoy a picnic, and if you didn’t bring your own goods, the tasting room fridges are filled with grab and go items to make up a meal. The most important ingredient, however, is a glass of wine. In fall, deep reds complement the season, and Ironstone has plenty; we recommend pouring a glass—or splitting a bottle—of the 2019 Reserve Cabernet Franc, the 2014 Kramer Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, or a 2016 Reserve Merlot.
It’s possible to spend your whole day at Ironstone. Chef Bob is busy in the kitchen curating a menu of upscale fare including grilled octopus, crispy calamari, and medium-rare filets at the Gold Leaf Bistro, which is illuminated by ornate chandeliers and an old-school pipe organ that echoes throughout the hall when played.
Before Christmas, load up on one-of-a-kind goods. While a membership to wine club or a few well-selected bottles are an ideal gift, the tasting room is also brimming with goods for every hard-to-shop for person on your list. For the chef in your family? An Ironstone cabernet sauvignon chocolate wine sauce or chardonnay caramel sauce. For the wine aficionado? Fun and festive tumblers. For the homebody? Scented candles.
Ironstone Vineyard collects its grapes from an array of different vineyards, including many in Lodi. The Lodi selected grapes are used to make the estate’s zinfandel wines since we all know our hometown hails the best zin grapes around. To taste a little bit of home while you’re away, order up the 2019 Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel rich in flavors of dark berries, pepper, and chocolate, or the slightly sweet 2018 Rous Ancient Vine Zinfandel with flavors of caramel, vanilla, brown spices, clove, and blackberries.