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WOTM #1 – Woodbridge / Robert Mondavi – Lodi, CA – PART 2

The tour of the winery and how the process of the Woodbridge wines are produced was similar to many mass production wine facilaties.

The trucks with the picked grapes are routed in to the crushers where the grapes are rotated through a auger to seperate, destem and crush – then up a conveyor to a system of flowing tubes and pipes that transport the crush/juice to whereever it is needed; Large stainless steele tanks in this case. These tanks are massive. I was able to open one, that had just been emptied and cleaned, and stick my head in to take a peak – huge! And so sterile and clean you could drink out of it! (wink)

The pipes up over your head are running from every section of the winery. This type of system keeps the movement of the juice to a precision. It looks like you’re part of a hamster tube city – its so awesome! After proper fermintation, the juice goes through several processes and when ready it’s barreled and aged. These barrels are in a massive barreling warehouse that is built underground on the property. This ensures proper storage temperature year round.

A truly innovated idea back in the days of Robert Mondavi starting this winery. From the barrel the wine obviously needs to be bottled. Woodbridge has a state of the art bottling line that is fast and impressive. Not to worry though, its not ALL automated – they still have to use the “human touch” on inspecting and adjusting.

One of the special highlights of the tour is the “Cork Tree”. This tree is wonderful to see and touch. It’s said that Mr. Mondavi had several on this property that were brought over from the Mediterranean but only one or two of them have survived. They struggle to make it in our western part of the world. The tree does indeed “feel” and look just like the cork you pull right out of a wine bottle. Really a facsinating thing to see and touch in person.

The balance of my tour was a walk of the picnic grounds and the vineyards. It was a beautiful, off season, winter day – but none the less, wine vinyards are always tranquil and mesmerizing to me. A part, I personally enjoy most. (with a glass of red in my hand, no doubt!)

After the wonderful tour I was taken back to the tasting room where I was then set up to further taste the Premium and Reserve wines that Woodbridge has to offer only through the winery. These were some really enjoyable wines. The line up was as follows:

2009 Section 29 – Lodi Zinfandel
2009 Section 29 – Lodi Red Blend
2009 – Lodi Tempranillo
2011 – CA Muscat Hamburg

All of these wines were wonderful! I was truly impressed with the results – as admitted before I had not ever given much opportunity to trying Woodbridge wines – but I now know how wrong that was! If you enjoy the Woodbridge wines you find at your local retailer – then these wines above are really worth a swirl and can be ordered directly from the winery. Wine Club is also a great option.

If you are ever in Lodi wine country – do all you can to make Woodbridge Winery one of your visits. The tour is worth it alone, the staff is the nicest around and the wines are wonderful and worth every small penny! Thank you Robert Mondavi, for giving those of us who have always loved wine, a legacy to remember… and for giving us those who figured out they love wine because of you….you will always be missed. 🙂

Cheers!

To make plans for a visit or to buy Woodbridge wines that are not sold in retailers across the US – go to:
http://www.robertmondavi.com/woodbridge/

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