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Top Boutique Wineries In Lodi You HAVE To Visit


Destination Drivers is the original designated driver service, providing 5-Star luxury hospitality in California Wine Country since 2010.  With seven operations statewide, we conduct thousands of wine country tours every year giving us an extensive knowledge of the wineries in our service areas as well as travel routes, road construction, dining options, tourist highlights and more.  Hire one of our drivers for your next wine country tour and let us help you plan your itinerary!

Today we are happy to share with you our favorite boutique wineries in Lodi & San Joaquin County.

As the largest wine grape growing region in the US at over 110,000 acres in production, Lodi was named wine region of the year in 2015 by Wine Enthusiast magazine. While known as the Zinfandel Capital of the World, Lodi’s 750+ growers also produce outstanding ​​Albariño, Kerner, Graciano, Vermentino, Teroldego and other varieties being nurtured by a new generation of innovators. There are over 90 wineries and 70+ tasting rooms in Lodi, from large production wineries with international distribution to small, boutique wineries producing outstanding vintages.

a group of people posing for a photo

When it comes to wine tasting in Lodi, the most-visited wineries are easily found searching review engines such as Yelp and will be referred to by local hotels. However, if you’re looking for wineries less-traveled and experiences that locals revere, the Lodi region has much to offer. Smaller winemaking operations are some of our favorites, run by families producing small-batch wines that simply aren’t found anywhere else.

In this article, we have compiled a list of our top must-visit boutique wineries, each offering something special, from unique blends and varietals, to fantastic architecture set in the midst of full production vineyards, to beautiful multi-generational properties . So, grab your glass and join us on a journey through some of the best boutique wineries in the country.

california wine traveler header image of a car driving through vineyards

Here’s our list of boutique wineries in Lodi that will excite any wine taster looking for a hidden gem:

1. Drava Wines

Drava Wines is our and our guests’ number one choice for the top boutique winery in Lodi! Brothers Steven and William Carson founded Drava in 2014. Steve has a degree in Enology & Viticulture from University of California, Davis. William is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with an Economics degree.

Drava wine staff holding wine bottles and smilingProducing under 500 cases a year each vintage is created from hand-selected and hand-harvested Certified Sustainable winegrapes and lovingly made in small one-half and one-ton lots. Their passion and commitment shows in their outstanding, award winning wines. The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition has awarded them 10 medals including…

  • 1 Double Gold Medal: 2018 Petite Sirah
  • 2 Gold Medals: 2017 Sangiovese, 2021 Pinotage
  • 6 Silver Medals:  2015 Grenache; 2018 Maribor (Zin/Petite Sirah blend); 2018 Wegat Vineyard Old Vine Zin; 2018 Mohr-Fry Ranches Old Vine Zin; 2019 Teroldego; 2019 Graciano
  • 1 Bronze: 2021 Rousanne

A visit to Drava Wines is the whole package!  Steve and William’s enological creations and extensive knowledge take you on a journey of the palate. Combine that with their warm personal welcome – Steve and/or William will be hosting you personally – and you will be inspired to come back again and again. 

As if that’s not enough, William’s amazing stories of international adventure (he’s lived in Alaska, Morocco, the Virgin Islands, the Czech Republic and Slovenia) will make you feel like you’re reuniting with old friends. Ask William about his rare (only 3 in existence in the US) bottle of Slovenian wine from the oldest (450 years old) winegrape vine in the world.

2. M2

Boasting fantastic dynamic artisan wines and the most architecturally outstanding tasting room in the Lodi Appellation, M2 wines is a great place to spend an hour or an afternoon. Co-owner Layne Montgomery is a self taught award winning wine maker who began his journey in 2004.

“We grow Zinfandel, Tannat, Petite Sirah and Vermentino in our Lodi vineyard, but most of our fruit comes from other places. Growing grapes and making wine are, of course, intimately intertwined, but we leave the hard work for our growers to handle. We work together throughout the season, working to ensure that our wines are made from exceptional grapes.”

a group of people posing for the camera with wine glassesIn 2013 Layne and his partners/investors broke ground on 15 acres in Lodi where they built an amazing facility out of cortan steel, a material designed to rust on the surface while maintaining its structural integrity. Rising from m2’s surrounding estate owned vineyards, the building is at once dominant while also subtle. The front and side walls of the tasting room are huge sliding panel doors made from opaque double walled recycled corrugated plastic. During the spring, summer and fall, the doors open wide and the cozy enclosed tasting room suddenly becomes a large indoor/outdoor space with a patio, area for bands to play live music on the weekends, and a fire pit topped with an impressive 25 foot piece of the Alaska Oil Pipeline as its chimney. 

The friendly staff, led by customer service and tasting room manager Denise Gage are extremely knowledgeable and attentive, both of their own wines as well as other wineries in the area that they can recommend based on your preferences. 

When you visit m2, you are treated like royalty but feel like family. I’ve even been known to jump in and help when its super busy, clearing tables and washing and drying wine glasses so that they can stay focused on their guests. That may seem like me being the one going the extra mile, but being allowed to help out a business I support and that supports our clients is an honor and testament to m2’s community focused attitude. Plus, dogs, children, and outside food are welcome at m2. In fact, they are so dog friendly that they have a few wines for which a large percentage of your purchase price is donated to local animal rescues.

3. Jessie’s Grove

Jessie’s Grove is a beautiful farm-style winery founded by owner Greg Burns. It’s rich multi-generational history is as much a part of its unique charm and success as are their outstanding wines. a group of people sitting in the shading drinking wine

The first vineyard was planted on the property by Greg’s great-grandfather Joseph Spenker in 1886 and is presumed to be the oldest existing Cinsault vineyard in the US and possibly the world.The Royal Tee vineyard, Lodi’s oldest surviving Zinfandel vineyard was planted by Joseph in 1889. The first Carignane vineyard was planted in 1900 and is still producing today. 

Joseph walked out of the California Gold Fields in 1865 with only $1.27 to his name and within two years made a small fortune as a merchant selling supplies to miners. He used his wealth to purchase 1,500 acres in Lodi.

The property passed down to Joseph’s daughter Jessie and then half to her grand-daughter Wanda, who eventually gave it to her son Greg who began to manage the family vineyards in 1994. 

With 280 acres of grapes in production, this 5th generation grower, former rodeo rider and ski patroler, and first generation winemaker is able to carefully hand select the best grapes for the winery he named in honor of his grandmother and loves making wine from his own heritage. Respected for his palette and experience, Greg is also a well known judge in many regional and national wine competitions.

If you visit Jessie’s and have the opportunity to meet Greg, you won’t be disappointed. He wears his passion, joy and compassion on his sleeve, as visible as the smile always found on his suntanned face.

4. Fields Family Winery

a group of people tasting wine indoorsFields is a small winery producing under 1000 cases a year. Distribution is solely through wine club and regional gourmet restaurants. With a focus wholly on the quality of their wines and the preceding grapes, their winery and tasting room is a simple steel structure and a small side building where manager Michael Perry curates some of the most informative and also entertaining private wine tastings I’ve experienced.

Winemaker and partner Ryan Sherman is primarily self taught, having consulted with local and regional winemakers including Steven Carson of the aforementioned Drava Wines. Ryan depends almost exclusively on creating fermentation with native yeasts, meaning only with the yeast that is naturally occurring on the harvested grapes and in the air rather than on purchased yeasts. While less dependable than using purchased yeasts, the process of using native yeasts enhances the creativity of the process and leaves more to chance, allowing nature to express herself through the artist. The result is a variety of outstanding wines that pair well with great food.

5. Acquiesce

Acquiesce is a pleasing white wine oddity in a region famous for reds! Yet winemaker Susan Tipton and her husband Rodney followed a dream and have created a special destination in Lodi. Even Destination Drivers guests who claim to not care for whites have their passions awakened by Susan’s lovingly created small batch award-winning premium white and rosé wines. Grenache Blanc, Picpoul Blanc, Roussanne, Viognier, Clairette Blanche, Bourboulenc, and white blends Belle Blanc and Ingénue plus a Grenache Rosé.bottles of wine adorned in medals

The juice from these hand-picked, sustainably grown, whole cluster pressed Rhone grapes are fermented in stainless steel and the resulting wines have received numerous Double Gold, Gold and Best in Class awards as well as Best Viognier in California in 2016. Susan was also awarded the honor of Best Woman Winemaker in the 2022 International Women’s Wine Competition!

Every tasting in their 100 year old converted barn tasting room is paired with small bites designed by their Creative Food Pairing Chef Rebecca Forrest and lovingly curated by an outstanding staff who guide each guest through this journey of the palette.

6. Consumnes River Farm

a group of people at the outdoor patio

Another example of great wines and a multi-generational Lodi Appelation winery is Consumnes River Farms. Located in Thornton near the Cosumnes River, wife and husband team Jackie and Ken Gifford are 4th generation Lodi Appellation grape growers. Ken runs the 140-acre sustainble farm and his hands on in all aspects of the operation, while Jackie is the force behind their award winning wines, vinegars and olive oils. Their passion for producing outstanding products from sustainably grown fruits, and enthusiasm for artisanal craftsmanship comes across in every glass and bottle.

Since founding Consumnes River Farm and Bellindora Vinegar in 2006, Jackie has been producing wines receiving Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals. Their Thornton Ranch produces non-irrigated Chardonnay and Merlot to produce the intense, high-quality fruit that results in their incredible wines. Their Old Vine Zinfandel vines were planted 80 years ago by their grandfather. 

One of their Old Vine Zinfandels is aged in French Oak while another in American oak to give each their own unique characteristics. Their District 11 Chardonnay is fermented in stainless steel, allowing the fruit to come out on its own.

Their tasting room on Thornton Road is part tasting room, part shop, and part production facility. On Thursdays they historically have hosted a potluck where all are welcome in the evening, with both indoor and outdoor seating available. On weekends in the warmer months there’s usually a band out on the patio playing live music, and Jackie and her team do a great job hosting guests, making sure everyone is taken care of and feeling welcome and at home. To accompany the wines, vinegars and oils, they offer a selection of locally sourced cheese and snack items in the tasting room. 

Visiting small boutique wineries is a great way to experience the passion and artistry of winemaking of Lodi. These wineries offer a more intimate and personal experience than larger, commercial wineries, often allowing visitors to connect with the winemakers, learn about their unique techniques and philosophies, and taste one-of-a-kind wines.  

So, if you are a wine enthusiast or simply looking for a unique and memorable experience, come to Lodi and visit a small boutique winery for an unforgettable taste of local terroir and hospitality.

If you book a driver with Destination Drivers and let us know in your booking form or reach out to us after, we’d be happy to make recommendations and assist you in planning your day in Lodi so that you can make the most of the experience. Our personal relationship with some of these special wineries enables us to occasionally set up unique tasting experiences, winery tours, vineyard visits and even personal introductions to some of the passionate owners and winemakers that are the driving force behind these boutique wineries  in Lodi you have to visit. 

This is my second time using this service and it will continue to be my go-to driving service for all wine country experiences. Our Driver David was extremely friendly and professional. He went above and beyond to ensure our group had an enjoyable and safe experience. Not only did he keep us on time with our itinerary, but he helped carry purchases to the vehicle and even procured us a replacement tasting glass when there was a glass casualty! I would highly recommend this service. 5 stars all the way! – LS, Lodi Visitor and Yelp Reviewer

In addition to Napa & Sonoma or Lodi, Plymouth, Sacramento and the Sierra Foothills, you can also reserve drivers for other locations statewide! Click below to book: