Thirty-five miles south of Sacramento, in California’s Central Valley, Lodi is home to award-winning Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Zinfandel. In fact, you’ll find more than 100 varieties of wine grown in Lodi wine country. It’s no wonder Wine Enthusiast Magazine noted Lodi as a Wine Region of the Year (2015).

Want ideas for how to plan your weekend wine retreat? Start right here with these recommended vineyards and wineries—and save room for dessert.

Lodi Wine Welcome Center © Lori A. May

Lodi Wine Welcome Center © Lori A. May

Lodi Welcome Center

Begin your weekend wine adventure by visiting the Lodi Welcome Center. You’ll find maps and planning tools for self-guided tasting tours. The facility also hosts a wine shop, onsite tastings, and a retail shop featuring area pantry products and home goods.

Winemaker Susan Tipton at Acquiesce Winery © Lori A. May

Winemaker Susan Tipton at Acquiesce Winery © Lori A. May

Acquiesce Winery

Discover award-winning small batch premium white and rosé wines at Acquiesce Winery. Sample owner and winemaker Susan Tipton’s Rhône varietals, sourced from Château de Beaucastel of Châteauneuf du Pape in France. I particularly enjoyed the crisp summery notes of Tipton’s Grenache Rosé.

Jeremy’s Jug at Jeremy Wine Co. © Lori A. May

Jeremy’s Jug at Jeremy Wine Co. © Lori A. May

Jeremy Wine Co.

Take a stroll through historic downtown Lodi and pop into Jeremy Wine Co. for a relaxed tasting in a cozy venue. An early 1900’s bank was transformed to house a vintage bar where you’ll often find owners Jeremy and Choral Trettevik chatting with visitors. Try local favorite Jeremy’s Jug, an ever-changing red blend sold in a refillable growler.

Tasting room at Michael David Winery © Lori A. May

Tasting room at Michael David Winery © Lori A. May

Michael David Winery

You’ll hear Michael David Winery is the place to go for creative bottles like The 7 Deadly Zins, Earthquake, Inkblot, and Freakshow. But save room for homemade pie! The vineyard’s award-winning onsite bakery is housed alongside a sizable tasting room, gourmet produce shop, and outdoor gathering space.

Grapes at St. Jorge Winery © Lori A. May

Grapes at St. Jorge Winery © Lori A. May

St. Jorge Winery

For old-world charms and a heartwarming family history, visit St. Jorge Winery. Owner Vern J. Vierra is a third generation winemaker. The property features Mediterranean architecture where stunning sunsets can be seen from the gardens. Try the old vine Zinfandel during a weekend wine tasting.

Sonoma Foie Gras at Towne House Restaurant © Lori A. May

Sonoma Foie Gras at Towne House Restaurant © Lori A. May

Towne House Restaurant

When hunger strikes, pull up a chair at Towne House Restaurant at Wine & Roses— a tranquil resort in the center of Lodi wine country. The restaurant lists more than 70 regional wines, but the real draw here is an amazing menu. Crafted by Chef Bradley Ogden, a James Beard Award winner, the menu features seasonal and regional ingredients. I loved the grilled candy stripe fig and fig puree served with Ogden’s Sonoma Foie Gras. Pair this with Sauvignon Blanc from Michael David Winery.

From Santa Maria Valley to the hidden treasures of Temecula, California is one of FWT’s favorite wine destinations. If you haven’t visited Lodi wine country, start with these suggestions for a flavorful introduction to California’s Central Valley.

Note, a portion of the writer’s itinerary was made possible by VisitLodi.com.