Michael-David Winery: A Family Affair
“What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others” – Diogenes
In my August 13th blog on the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference, I provided a brief highlight of my excursion to the Michael-David winery(www.michaeldavidwinery.com) with fellow wine bloggers. Michael-David wines are favorites and having an opportunity to make a connection with the family responsible for much of the history of Lodi winemaking was an added bonus.
Day 1 of the conference from Stockton to Lodi took me through the heart of California agriculture country. The area’s history provides a glimpse into Lodi’s transformation from a fruit and vegetable farming community to the 1800s as a grower of 25% of the acreage for California grapes. Each vineyard entry reflects the unique character and brand of its owner. Driving past the gateway to the Michael-David vineyards was an early morning treat! To my surprise, I picked a coded registration card that won me a memorable evening at the Michael-David Bare Ranch location.
We started our evening by matching the van drivers’ signs to our badges. I matched Three Ring Circus from my choice at registration. Read my bloghighlighting Michael-David’s exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon Freakshow to learn the history behind the art work and names of some of their better known wines. This will give you a clue as to why I guessed that my evening destination would be Michael-David.
Most groups drive over a rustic wooden bridge to get to Bear Ranch. We came in through a slightly sturdier entrance due to the fact that our van was fully loaded with 15 enthusiastic wine bloggers. We were greeted by an expansive lawn, a fully renovated 1930s home, and a pool/entertainment area ready for our evening meal. Our hosts were Phillips’ family members Kevin, Michelle and Lori Phillips along with some key vineyard team members. Following the Civil War, the family started farming in the Lodi area. The winery was established in 1984 by Micheal and David Phillips. The Phillips’ brothers are great-grand children of the first family settlers Andrew and Lucille Harsher. The transformation to wine producers and dedication to the Lodi are qualities that provide consistent leadership in the region.
The Phillips family introduced us to a variety of white and red varietals from the Michael-David collection. Inkblot – a full bodied Cabernet Franc- was a favorite of mine for the evening. This red wine with a dark purple color features aromas of vanilla and blackberry. There are hints of pepper and dark chocolate. The tannins are well balanced making this a smooth bold wine to drink. This is a top tier wine from the Michael-David collection.
Positivevines Helpful Hint: Cabernet Franc is similar in composition to Cabernet Sauvignon. Growing this grape varietal in chalky, sandy soil produces fuller bodied wines like Inkblot. This is a sturdy grape classified as an “insurance” crop in Bordeaux where unexpected cool weather may negatively impact varietals.
Vineyards surround this location in the Michael-David estate. It is located just 5 miles away from the vineyard entry that I passed earlier in the day. We enjoyed a meal of sushi, wines and local craft beers. The Phillips family was very generous with their time and dinner table discussions. We learned how Kevin and Michelle grew up helping their family grow and sell vegetables at the family stand and Lodi food market. Lori- also from a farming family- is Kevin’s wife and masterfully manages the properties that entertain salespeople and guests as well at Bear Ranch. Each one has a deep love and appreciation for Lodi having gone to various colleges around the state and returning to work in the many facets of the family business.
The next time that you are in Central California, visit Lodi and the Michael-David Winery. This is a team of family members and close friends who have taken winemaking very seriously.
Don’t forget to pick up bottles of Freakshow and Inkblot. With retail prices averaging from $20 – $35, you can find something for every occasion from the everyday meal to a special time sharing wines with good friends.
Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!
@MDWinery @Lodi_Wine #WBC16