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Lodi AVA, part of the larger Central Valley wine region of California, is located directly east of San Francisco Bay between the cities of Sacramento and Stockton. The west of the region lies close to the edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, while its eastern boundary runs parallel with the Sierra Foothills.

Although quite a distance from the coast (the Pacific lies 70 miles/115km to the west), Lodi is blessed with a more moderate, Mediterranean-style climate than might be expected for somewhere this far inland. This is thanks to the many rivers which run through the AVA and the creeks, estuaries and bays into which they flow.

Located immediately east of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (the meeting point of California's two largest rivers), Lodi enjoys all the benefits of cooling water, air and river breezes. Lodi city, around which the majority of the AVA's vines are found, is flanked by the Dry Creek and Calaveras rivers, to the north and south respectively. The city is also bisected by the Mokelumne river as it nears the end of its journey from the Sierra Nevada mountains to the San Joaquin river. The water from each of these rivers discharges into the Suisun and San Pablo bays, beyond which lie San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

The rivers are not the only factor keeping temperatures down in Lodi; topography plays a vital role too. While most areas of inland California are separated from the Pacific by California's Coastal Ranges, Lodi is not. The Bay Area forms a significant gap which allows on-shore breezes to penetrate many miles inland. The Golden Gate (the narrow strait spanned by the eponymous bridge) is the funnel neck of this gap, and is famously characterised by stiff sea breezes and the fog they carry inland, up into the low lying valleys east of San Francisco.

Those parts of the region which are closer to the Delta are noticeably cooler, although most of Lodi enjoys warm days and is suited to the production of full flavoured red wines. Mineral rich, free draining, sandy clay soils help in the production of quality wines, not just the bulk wine common in the Central Valley.

Modern day Lodi vineyards are planted with a classic make-up of California's favourite varieties. Red Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot are complemented by Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. Although much less common, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Graciano, Riesling and Albariño also appear in Lodi wines.

One of Lodi's former stalwarts was the unusual Flame Tokay, otherwise known as Ahmeur bou Ahmeur. Of North African origin, this robust red variety had traditionally been used around Lodi to make fortified wines and brandy. There are no commercial plantings anymore.

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