Home News Ag Economics A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats is the Motto Among Lodi Winegrowers

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats is the Motto Among Lodi Winegrowers

Today, the Lodi Winegrape Commission unveiled a new, grower-focused video series named “A Rising Tide.” Two years in the making, the eight-part video series captures the region’s strong sense of community and the emphasis placed on shared values of unity, sustainability, heritage, innovation, and leadership.

“Lodi is a special place,” states Lodi Winegrape Commission Executive Director Stuart Spencer. “There is the pervading sense here that a ‘win’ for one person is a ‘win’ for the entire community. More than soil or climate, what sets Lodi apart from other regions are the people and their shared sense of values. A rising tide lifts all boats truly is the motto in Lodi.”

Organized as episodes, each video in the series highlights an individual farmer or farming family in Lodi, offering viewers a glimpse into the historical region and its agricultural community.

San Francisco-based Rindal & Co. – the agency responsible for developing the region’s refreshed branding in 2020 – was hired for creative direction. President and Creative Director Eric Rindal says he is inspired by Lodi’s farming community. “The people are down to earth, approachable, humble, charming, and fun. It’s refreshing to see these people pull together for the betterment of the region,” he says.

To produce the series, Rindal sought the talent of experienced writer Dave O’Hare and editorial photographer and director Mitch Tobias. Responsible for teasing out episode narratives, O’Hare described his process: “Everything is a story. And in the case of these videos, my job was to simply be patient long enough for the story to reveal itself.”

Similarly, when asked about his approach to filming, Tobias laughs, “I stayed out of the way to allow authenticity to shine through!” Tobias spent 13 days in Lodi over the course of several months to capture footage for the series.

“A lot of time and energy have gone into these videos,” says Spencer. “We’ve scrutinized every detail over the past two years. We’re excited to finally be able to share these with the world.”

Over the coming year, the videos will be promoted across digital and social media platforms through various publication and community partnerships.

To watch the series, use the included links or visit lodiwine.com/videos.

A Rising Tide Video Series, Episodes 1-8

Episode 1, My Father, the Mother of Invention, featuring Bruce Fry and Jerry Fry (Mohr-Fry Ranches): If there’s a consistency to be found among Lodi growers, it’s that knowledge and a love for the land gets passed down from one generation to the next. It’s the way work gets done, harvest after harvest. It’s how an old Model A duster still stands (and runs) on the Mohr-Fry ranch, serving as a powerful reminder that a farmer is, among many things, resourceful.

Episode 2, El Homenaje (The Honoring), featuring Gerardo Espinosa, Victor Anaya, and Gerardo Anaya (Anaya Vineyards): Heritage is everything to winemaker Gerardo Espinosa. His story begins with his grandfather who – in the 1940s – came to Lodi from Mexico as part of the Bracero program. Today, Gerardo works alongside his family, including his two uncles – wine growers Victor and Gerardo – to create a sense of heritage in every bottle.

Episode 3, Eastside / Westside, featuring Larry Mettler, Kim Mettler-Eells, and Jason Eells (Mettler Family Vineyards), and John Shinn and Bill Shinn (Shinn & Son Vineyard Management): Between the eastside Mettlers and the westside Shinns, there’s a generational family thing happening here and it starts with a land deed signed by President Ulysses S. Grant. How important is it to keep tradition alive and the love of farming all in the family?

Episode 4, Made on the Vine, featuring Tom Hoffman (Heritage Oak Winery): Good wine isn’t made, it’s grown; at least to Tom Hoffman’s way of thinking – a way learned from Lodi-born Robert Mondavi who spurred premiumization in the region. Ever since Tom made the leap from teacher to grower and winemaker, he’s focused first on farming, knowing full well that the quality in the vineyard will translate to quality in the bottle – each one hand-corked and served with pride.
Episode 5, Hello, Plan B, featuring Ben Kolber and Madelyn Kolber (KG Vineyard Management): Ben Kolber was going to be a musician. But like a lot of plans, life has a way of changing them. As life would have it, Ben found Madelyn. Together with business partner Kris Gutierrez, Ben and Madelyn found themselves setting the tempo for a successful farm management company. Today, KG Vineyard Management helps farmers, friends, and family harvest after harvest, proving that sometimes Plan B is the dream come true after all.
Episode 6, Family is Forever, featuring John Ledbetter, Kim Ledbetter-Bronson, and Craig Ledbetter (Vino Farms): Will Rogers once said, “A farmer has to be an optimist, or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.” Throw in a layer of pragmatism and you’ve got the Ledbetters. It’s taken some soul-searching and succession planning but now that multiple generations of Ledbetters are committed to the success of the family business, it’s full steam ahead into the future of farming with solar, autonomous tractors, and more. Welcome to next-gen farming.

Episode 7, The Gnarly Brothers, featuring Jeff Perlegos and John Perlegos (Perlegos Family Wine Co.): As boys growing up, Jeff and John Perlegos were inseparable; they fought, laughed, played hoops, and dreamed about their futures. They also dreamed about leaving Lodi and farming and not returning. So, it came as a bit of a surprise when both brothers decided to return to Lodi to farm. Together. What they discovered was a shared love of old vines and a passion to preserve history.

Episode 8, Everything Old is New Again, featuring Jeremy Trettevik (Jeremy Wine Co.): In the middle of an old vine vineyard sits a modern winery. For grower and winemaker Jeremy Trettevik, ushering in a new generation of wine drinkers takes a keen understanding of their taste preferences, as well as their social habits. The irony is he’s accomplishing both using vines planted over a century ago to serve up modern wines and an innovative experience.

About the Lodi Winegrape Commission 

Established in 1991, the Lodi Winegrape Commission represents the common interests of Lodi winegrowers with programs in marketing, education, research, and sustainable viticulture. The Commission collectively and effectively promotes Lodi’s vibrant, multi-generational farming community and California’s most dynamic wine region. Comprised of nine commissioners and nine alternates, the board of directors provides direction and input on behalf of the region’s 750 winegrowers. For more information about the Lodi Winegrape Commission, visit lodigrowers.com. For information on the Lodi appellation, visit lodiwine.com.

About the Lodi American Viticultural Area (AVA)

A historic winegrowing region since the 1850s, Lodi is perfectly situated 40 miles south of Sacramento and 90 miles east of San Francisco. Lodi’s Mediterranean climate and distinct soils allow its growers to cultivate more than 125 winegrape varieties, making Lodi the most diverse winegrowing region in the United States. The region also serves as home to 85 boutique wineries specializing in small-lot, handmade wines that have garnered major awards at domestic and international wine competitions.

Lodi is naturally a leader in sustainable viticulture. Created by California farmers and accredited by world-renowned scientists, LODI RULES is America’s original sustainable winegrowing program. Held to a high standard of scientific rigor and excellence, the program emphasizes environmentally and socially responsible practices, while keeping economic feasibility in mind for long-term business success. Today, there are nearly 70,000 acres certified throughout California, in Washington, and Israel. For more information about the Lodi AVA or LODI RULES, visit lodiwine.com and lodirules.org.

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