It's hard at first to believe that the Bechtold vineyard is Lodi's new superstar. A patchy parcel of knobby vines of the generally unloved Cinsault grape, with an irrigation canal for a neighbor, it is hardly the sort of site that inspires rhapsodies.
So why are its rows marked with winery names - Bonny Doon, Turley Wine Cellars, Scholium Project - well known in tonier ZIP codes than Lodi? Because Bechtold has some crucial things going for it.
One: Its age. It was first planted in 1886 by Joseph Spenker and is still held in the family by his great-granddaughter and her husband.
Two: More by oversight than anything else, Bechtold has long been farmed organically, a true rarity in Lodi.
And three: Cinsault may not be the stuff of legend, but it is a reliable grape, one suited to Lodi's warmth, and one of interest to a growing collective of winemakers seeking something different.
For more, see: In Lodi, a hunt for vineyard soils that speak