Zin Fest, an annual three-day tasting party each May, offers a chance to sample some 250 wines from Lodi’s best producers.Historic ranchlands, a romantic coast, country roads, stay-a-while towns, and grapes—lots and lots of grapes—make the Central Coast an outstanding wine country destination.Still, there remains a down-home sensibility in this neck of California, with most Gold Country wineries being family-owned, with the winemaker also being the one who pours you wine in the tasting room.Best known for big red wines, particularly old-vine Zinfandels, this American Viticultural Area 100 miles east of San Francisco is also a leader when it comes to going green.
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The area is home to some of the state’s most progressive winemakers, who perfect organic sustainable techniques in their boutique vineyards.
In fact, Mendocino County has the most acreage of certified organic vineyards in the country.
A great place to start is the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center, offering a rotating selection of varietals from nearly 80 local vintners.
Though the range of wines has grown, the rich, concentrated New World varietals are still the region’s hallmark, and more than 40 percent of the state’s Zinfandels are produced here.