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LODI — Every spring, wine lovers flock to Lodi Lake Park to enjoy the fruits of hard-working vintners across the regions.
From May 19-21, ZinFest was attended by 3,500 people. According to the Lodi Winegrape Commission, the organizer for the event, that number is a “solid crowd, without being too crowded.” There were 53 wineries represented at ZinFest, 11 food vendors and 15 marketplace vendors.
“Despite the heat that day — one of the hottest days of the year up till that date —we were happy with the crowds,” said Wendy Brannen, Executive Director of the commission. “Our wineries have commented on the level of engagement from attendees, who were asking great questions and really inquisitive about the wines they sampled.”
The most popular events, Brannen said, were the barbecue demonstration, a blind tasting and cooking school. Likewise, a “winery school” was presented by top chefs and others.
During the days surrounding the actual event, wineries hosted pre-event dinners that incorporated their wines. Businesses in the region offered bike rides, paddle-boarding and other activities to draw visitors to the area.
“The devil’s in the details of any event, and we have what you could call layers of mini-events within the event,” Brannen said. “The events of the day and in conjunction with ZinFest were truly engaging and enjoyable, by all accounts. Our staff here at the commission works exceptionally hard for months to bring such a big event to fruition.”
ZinFest is meant to market the Lodi appellation and the wineries within it.
“ZinFest is an opportunity for us to introduce people to the magnificent array of wineries and related wines that we are producing here in the Lodi AVA,” Brannen said.
The event has been attended not only by people throughout the state and country, but it draws an international audience as well, interested in what is being produced through the appellation.
Brannen said it’s a chance to showcase the hard work that’s being accomplished by the local wine industry, but it goes beyond that.
“We also wish it to be an event our community takes pride in and enjoys,” Brannen said. “This whole area is involved in our industry, and we are grateful for their support and hope ZinFest is fun for them, as well.”