Telling the Lodi story is a task that the Lodi Winegrape Commission has set as a high priority for the next several years.  A small – but growing – number of people recognize the importance of Lodi in California wine’s history.  Two of these people are Elaine Brown and Tegan Passalacqua, wine experts with amazingly sharp minds and an uncanny ability to discover the past through place and people, sharing it with the rest of us via master storytelling.

Wine writer and expert Elaine Chukan Brown speaks with Tegan Passalacqua, director of winemaking at Turley Cellars and owner and winemaker at Sandlands Vineyards. Tegan, a Napa Valley native, got his start in the wine business as a lab technician at Napa Wine Company, supplemented by night classes in Viticulture & Oenology at the Napa Junior College. In 2003 he headed to New Zealand for an internship with Doug Wisor at Craggy Range and upon his return started as intern at Turley Wine Cellars, where he has worked his way up over the past seventeen years to his current role, director of winemaking. During this time, Tegan has worked in the cellars of Craggy Range in New Zealand with Doug Wisor, with Eben Sadie in the Swartland of South Africa, and with Alain and Maxime Graillot in the Northern Rhone Valley of France. He is also winemaker for his own brand Sandlands Vineyards, which he founded with his wife Olivia focusing on wines made from primarily head-trained, dry-farmed and own rooted grape vines.

In the Webinar Series Behind the Wines hosted by the Wine Institute, Elaine and Tegan discuss the rich heritage and varied terroirs of California and, more specifically, Lodi through one of California’s classic grape varieties—Zinfandel—and lesser known, yet equally interesting Cinsault.

The featured wines in this episode are:

2018 Turley Juvenile, California
2018 Turley Cinsault, Lodi
2018 Turley Steacy, Lodi
2018 Turley Kirschenmann, Lodi
2018 Turley Dogtown, Lodi

The video below is a recording of the June 4, 2020 Behind the Wines webinar hosted by the Wine Institute.

Learn more about California Wines, including information about California’s diverse wine making regions here:


Featured image:  Steacy Ranch (photo courtesy of Randy Caparoso)

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For more information on the wines of Lodi, visit the Lodi Winegrape Commission’s consumer website, lodiwine.com.