Klinker Brick Winery is located just east of downtown Lodi, California, in the Lodi AVA (American Viticultural Area). This area, southeast of Sacramento, includes about 551,000 total acres of which just over 100,000 acres are farmed for wine grapes in the AVA’s seven sub-regions (see map below). Zinfandel is the predominant varietal grown here, though around 50 different wine grapes are raised within the AVA.

Lodi AVA map

Klinker Brick Winery is typical of most local producers, offering several versions of mid and premium-priced Zinfandel in each vintage along with a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (60%) – Petit Sirah (30%) – Old Vine Zinfandel (10%) labeled 1850°. A small collection of other wines are produced, including a Syrah, Abariño and Rosé.

The name Klinker Brick comes from a type of construction brick popular in the 1920’s that was sturdier than other bricks and produced a particular clinking sound when hit together (click for more information). The winery’s 1850° blend is named after the temperature at which these bricks were fired to produce their unique density and strength.

The Klinker Brick Winery tasting room is located on Alpine Road (separate from their production facility). A long bar and several round, bar-type tables provide ample space for visitors to sip their tasting flight. It was raining steadily the day I stopped by, yet the room was busy. Tasting room staff is friendly and professional – despite the high volume of visitors, there was almost no wait to begin tasting. Assistant Winemaker Chris Rivera provided an excellent presentation of their wines, local growing practices and associated production methods.

Here are three wines I tasted that deserve a special mention:

2015 Klinker Brick Abariño ($15) – made from the Abariño grape found mostly in northwest Spain and Portugal, this is a light summer wine with lots of peach, pear and floral tones on the nose and crisp stone fruit on the palate.

2015 Kinker Brick Bricks & Roses Rosé ($15) – a blend of Grenache (32%), Carignane (27%), Syrah (21%) and Mourvèdre (20%). Citrus and floral dominate with strawberries, grapefruit and light acidity.

2014 Klinker Brick Burness Vineyard Lodi Native Zinfandel ($15) – made from a small, 5 acre patch of local Old Vine Zinfandel using only the native yeast on the grapes for fermentation and aged in older barrels for light oak finish. I found it very smooth and a bargain for the price.

Special thanks to Lori and Michael at Dracaena Wines for providing tips for my wine tasting adventure in the Lodi area. Wine Adventurers can follow their highly informative Twitter feed at @DracaenaWines.

Visit Klinker Brick Winery –  15887 N. Alpine Road, Lodi, CA 95240   Phone: (209) 333-1845