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Winery-Sage: Field Trip To Oak Farm Vineyards

Editor’s note: We catch up with our friends Karen and Ken Geiszler of as they continue their wine-tasting adventure in Lodi (Winery-sage: Stuck On Wine Tasting In Lodi).

Our tasting trip started with a visit to the Lodi Winegrape Commission, a great facility with a knowledgeable staff and a broad selection of Lodi wines. If you have time for only a quick stop in Lodi, this is your place.

Not only can you taste a wide variety of Lodi wines but there is a restaurant and spa located next door. They’re not affiliated with the association but it’s pretty damn convenient if you’re in need of a meal. We were here to drink wine though, so no hot stone or mud bath treatments for us.

In addition to recommending a number of local wineries, Wendy, the wine association director, gave us a quick overview of an intriguing program called the “Lodi Native” project, an experiment where six well-regarded local wineries are creating completely vineyard authentic wine. No manipulation of the wine is allowed, for example, adding yeast, acid, water, strong new oak flavors — just in its basic form, pure and simple.

This is a growing trend in the wine industry which uses the native yeast and little-to-no-additives. It allows the fruit to come forward without the sometime heavy hand of the wine-making getting in the way. If you want to learn more about this “back to basics” method of making wine, here is a link to the Lodi Native website.

Our first stop was Oak Farm Vineyards, a newer facility, having opened just three years before. A number of their vines are also quite young, so they aren’t really showing what their potential will be. Our tasting guide was Sierra, the young assistant winemaker who recently joined the winery. Oak Farm doesn’t specialize in any particular type of wine so they are happy to make wines originating in various regions of France and Italy, Spain and the lower regions of the Alps. They make roughly 20,000 cases of wine per year so they are just emerging from the boutique winery niche.

Karen and I thought the 2016 Albarino was the best of their wines, which won best in region at the California State Fair, Commercial Wine Competition. We have a real soft spot for Albarino, so having one for our first tasting of the day is always a great way to start.

They also make a couple of unusual wines. Fiano a fragrant white wine grape of the “Campania” area of Italy and one we’ve never seen (or heard of for that matter), Cortese – pronounced “Cor- Tay-Zee, also from Italy although it hails from South Eastern Piemonte, Italy (that’s Piedmont to the English speakers among us), a region in the Northwest of Italy surrounding Turin, just west of Milan.

The sometimes fickle Northern Italian weather rarely produces ripe Cortese fruit leading to its reputation as a somewhat boring wine grape in Italy but the warm predictable California seasons are a perfect incubator for it.

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Winery-Sage is an online Winery Encyclopedia designed to help you compare wines, wineries, and regions by using a unique database. Cross-reference varietals and the wineries that produce them, as well as discover events sponsored by wineries and associations. We’re not here to sell you anything or pass you off to paid advertisers, just share the love for wine. Discover the world of wine at

About Karen and Ken Geiszler:

Here you can find information on bloggers bios and how the web site came to be. Ken – Brief Bio I am somewhere approaching middle age (which is everyone’s way of saying older than I want to be but I’m not dead yet). Isn’t it ironic that when some one claims to be middle aged, that would typically mean they plan on living to be 110? I can claim to be in my 40’s as long as the blog post gets published relatively quickly. I was born and raised in Northern California, and developed a passion for wine in my late 30s. I am married to Karen, the other principal in KG Web Publications, the partnership that publishes Our last name starts with “G”, hence the name “KG “ works for both of us – no top billing. Marriage is all about compromises. When/if things slow down at work, I would like to get my certificate as a certified wine professional. Karen – Brief Bio Karen is slightly older than Ken (a point that never gets old – not hard to tell which of us wrote the biographies, is it?). She was born in Southern California but moved to Northern California in the mid 80’s. Ken claims it’s because she was looking for him. She ignores him, something at which she has become quite adept. She was a retail manager for a number of years and continued to work through our older child’s school years but became a stay at home mom for the 2nd one. To avoid going nuts, she volunteered at both kid’s schools. Now that the younger one has moved on to college and doesn’t want his parents within a three hour drive of the place, she has moved onto administering the web site and allowing the 90 pound Black Lab to take her for walks. She graciously allows Ken to think that they have compromised on a number of things even though she’s usually had the end game figured out from the beginning. Joint Bio (Updated in late 2017) Karen and Ken have now been married for almost 25 years and to date have still not had a fight since being married, probably because Karen has the patience of a saint. They live in the Silicon Valley area but have had a cabin just south of Yosemite (in the Bass lake area) for roughly 13 years and spend as much time up there as they can. The first 10 years was just relaxation. The last three has been lots of work recovering from damage caused by the Courtney Fire and then continuing on with a remodel. In 2018, they hope to spend as much as a third of their time up at the cabin. They are now empty-nesters with with older soon being married and living in London with his new wife for the next two years and the younger one living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, getting his PHD in Bioinformatics. From where he got the brains is a complete mystery but the best guess is the dog. They are not sure what they did to drive their kids so far away but the only consolation is that both sons claim to want to move back to the Bay Area in the future. Why was Winery Sage born - frankly, it’s too long of a story to post to include in here but if you are interested you can read about it at: Cheers! Karen and Ken

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