The Lodi wine region is home to wineries big and small. Not surprisingly, winery size does not predict winery quality. We love discovering small wineries with huge skills, so we build our tours with lots of new, unexplored wineries. Sometimes, though, a winery is so nice that we have to visit twice. That was exactly the case when we visited Omega Cellars to explore it all over again.
The sun was setting (literally) on our first Lodi tour of 2016. We had already visited the Van Ruiten Family Winery, the Jeremy Wine Company, the Stama Winery and the Jessie’s Grove Winery and we were pushing closing time. We had discovered Omega Cellars on a previous tour and couldn’t wait to go back.
Our previous tasting was hosted by winemaker George Natsis. We fell in love with his passion for wine, and the wine itself. When we entered the winery this time, we immediately asked about George. We were told that George was in Livermore, pouring at his newest venture, Lone Dove Winery. This visit, we had the pleasure of meeting George’s brother Jim.
Since we had strolled in mere minutes before closing time, our plan was to say hello to George, if possible, buy some wine, and head home. Meeting Jim was a bonus. Then we discovered that Jim had the same passion for wine that we loved in George. That meant that we were not permitted (in the best possible way) to leave without tasting our way through their entire menu. With no hesitation at all, we sidled up to the bar and prepared for one last, amazing tasting.
We tasted their ENTIRE catalog! I particularly enjoyed the 2011 Merlot and the 2013 Petite Sirah. Others in the group preferred the 2013 Cabernet Franc and the NV Zinfandel. All of us loved the 2011 Melange and the NV Mystico, their two reserve wines.
A diversity of opinions is natural, and not at all a bad thing, except for one issue: which wine should we purchase? After a (very) brief debate, we solved the problem the old fashioned way; we purchased one of everything. Great for providing options later, great for avoiding conflict immediately. The only real downside will be trying to find slots in our overburdened wine rack. Definitely a wonderful problem!
With our trunk loaded with wine, but happy to have met another fascinating Natsis brother, we headed home. Next, we hope to visit Lone Dove and check in with George.
Until then, cheers!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?