The Central Valley is often seen as the red-headed stepchild of California’s wine country. However, the popularity of bold red wines and particularly Zinfandel has recently elevated the Central Valley’s status within the wine industry. Let’s explore three communities that truly exude the spirit of Central Valley wine: Lodi, Modesto, and Ceres.
One of the highlights of this region is Lodi, CA. Lodi is known for having an eco-friendly and sustainable wine growing culture. Renowned for its Zinfandels, this wine country produces more than 40 percent of California’s Zinfandels. Better yet, Lodi has some of the oldest Zinfandel vines in California. With more than 85 wineries and lush vineyards scattered over 110,000 acres, Lodi offers a premium selection of Zinfandels, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon blanc. This attractive city has started to attract wine enthusiasts that would like to enjoy wine tasting with minimal crowds. Popular wineries like Michael-David and Harney Lane are sure to give any wine-lover a good time, with tastings starting at just $5. Learn more about the wines of Lodi and add this location to your bucket list of wine tours.
Modesto, CA is home to E. & J. Gallo Winery, also known as the largest family-owned winery in the world. Given Gallo’s huge collection of brands and labels, chances are you have had several wine bottles from this famous winery. With qualities ranging from your everyday Barefoot Wine to the renowned flavors of Clarendon Hills, Gallo offers wine for every sort of wine lover. Interested in having your own home private tasting? Gallo has a long list of wines, and one is sure to fit your palette.
The Bronco Wine Company is also a force to be reckoned with in the Central Valley. With over 25,000 acres of vineyards (mostly located in Ceres, California), Bronco Wine is currently the fifth largest winery and the largest vineyard in the United States. Local Trader Joe’s grocery stores exclusively sell one of its most famous brands, Charles Shaw. By providing this award-winning brand at an affordable price, these wines priced at $1.99 per bottle soon came to be known as “Two-Buck Chuck.” With over 60 brands under its umbrella, this family-owned company continues to permeate American wine culture. Want to see what all the rave is about? Find a Two-Buck Chuck at a Trader Joe’s near you.