Rather than evocative views of lush, heavy grapes on the vine, harvest in Napa and Sonoma often means traffic jams. The wine region of Lodi, however, represents the undiscovered side of California winemaking.
And it's best seen in fall, when the grape crush is in action. Hit the visitor center, the innovative Vino Piazza with its collection of small wineries, or the annual Taste of Lodi festival. Or take your time and explore the area's peaceful backroads.
Lodi Wine and Visitor Center. WHAT: Tasting, exhibits, and helpful staff make the center a great starting point. Grab a free Lodi wine country map. WHEN: 10-5 daily. HOW MUCH: Tastings $1. WHERE: 2545 W. Turner Rd.; 209/365-0621.