In the 1870s, the Lange family emigrated from Germany and set foot on the land that they would give so much of their heart to over the next century and a half. Initially, they cultivated simple, dry-farmed, red-fleshed watermelons before moving on to table grapes, then wine grapes, before finally landing on one of the most complexly produced, simple pleasures of everyday life, that fermented juice we call wine.
And the place they call home is Lodi, Calif.
The region offers a small-town feel and comprises over 100,000 acres of beautiful vineyards and a vast portfolio of wines spanning 125 varietals. Lodi is not only the supplier of nearly 40 percent of California’s premium wine grapes, but it also won Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Region of the Year in 2015.
For decades, the Lange family has made it their mission to cultivate a lasting impact together, by creating positive change in the Lodi community, change that spans generations.
Sustainability: What’s in Your Glass and Your Future
In 2006, LangeTwins developed a state-of-the-art, sustainable winery as the next chapter in the family’s business and history. For five generations, before it was a term in the lexicon of consumers, sustainability has been at the core of LangeTwins’ approach to growing grapes and producing wine.
“As children, we were tasked with nurturing native oak trees along the banks of the Mokelumne River, building fish habitat in our creeks, and working alongside our family members to create riparian corridors (a unique plant community to the creeks) among our vineyards,” Joe Lange, a fifth-generation farmer and owner of LangeTwins Winery, tells VinePair. “Our parents instilled a belief in us — we weren’t just farmers, we were stewards of the land.” The family also added nesting boxes for birds and owls to help reduce the need for pesticides, as many native birds like to feed on the pests.
As respectful stewards of the land, they’re ensuring that future generations will inherit this gift and they’re steadfastly dedicated to their mission of creating a lasting, positive impact on the community. Alongside many other Lodi farmers, LangeTwins has adopted a rigorous sustainability initiative, the Lodi Rules, which was created in 2005 and is one of the most comprehensive certifications in the United States.
While dedication to sustainability ensures that their farm, community, and agricultural way of life continues to blossom, it also helps ensure that a sense of place is captured in the glass for its consumers, not just today, but for years to come.
Industry veterans and LangeTwins winemakers David Akiyoshi and Karen Birmingham work closely to make sure they are employing winemaking in a way that helps express the varietal and vineyard itself. The winemakers, much like the Lange family, know the vineyards and the grapes intimately, understanding how the weather and microclimates, soils, and viticultural practices of each vintage interact.
They utilize a low-intervention approach to connect the drinker to the land, ensuring that the characteristics of the earth in which vines are grown are prevalent in every bottle. From the Mediterranean climate of Jahant to the fertile soil of the Mokelumne River, these nested appellation microclimates that sit within the larger Lodi appellation, are not only respected but celebrated by LangeTwins.
The subtle touch of Akiyoshi and Birmingham has produced thirteen 90+ awards for their Single Vineyard offerings by Wine Enthusiast, as well as countless bottles of wine enjoyed by families and friends in all seasons.
A Variety of Varietals and Holiday Pairings
LangeTwins grows over 30 varieties of wine grapes, so the possibilities of wines to bottle each year are wide-ranging and brimming with adventurous potential for imbibers. There are currently 16 Single Vineyard wines available. This approach allows LangeTwins to make unique wines from grapes that are seldom bottled as single varietals in the United States, a number of which originate from unique regions of Italy. There’s something for everyone and every craving. And good thing, too, given that the holidays are right around the corner.
Your guests are just arriving, you have an incredible charcuterie board with a variety of cheeses, cured meats, olives with orange zest, and some pickled veggies on the table. Now all you need is wine. Grab a bottle of 2021 Chenin Blanc – Prince Vineyard. With its rippling acidity and lemon-grapefruit zest, it’ll perfectly complement the pick-and-chat portion of your holiday celebration. Swirl it in the glass and take in the tropical notes as you chat with family — maybe that will slow you down a bit.
Or if you want to head to the other end of the spectrum, dive into the Diablo Vineyard’s Petite Sirah, a 92-point and Wine Enthusiast Cellar Selection red that’s inky and deep in color, has aromas and flavors of ripe blackberry and blueberry, and shows a bit of oak thanks to 12 months of aging in neutral French and American oak barrels. Despite its popularity, Petite Sirah is a very rare grape with fewer than 10,000 planted acres worldwide, and most of that is grown in California. Generally, Petite Sirah is a higher-tannin (astringency) grape, which means you’ll want to match them up with richer, more fatty foods and bold flavors. The tannins clear your palate for the next bite, and the flavors harmonize with one another. Think smoked Thanksgiving turkey, a steak with wild mushrooms, or garlicky bean cassoulet.
Sample the Aglianico Rosé from the River Ranch Vineyard for something refreshing, or the golden, oaky Chardonnay from the Merrill Vineyard. There is something for everyone.
In the giving mood? LangeTwins offers thoughtful gift boxes like the “Chef’s Kiss,” “for those who love to cook or love to watch others cook while [they] drink wine.” It includes two of their Single Vineyard wines that pair well with almost anything (Chenin Blanc and Sicilian wine, Nero d’Avola), a LangeTwins apron, and a bamboo spoon. “The Magic of Midnight” includes a 2017 Midnight Reserve Bordeaux red wine blend comprised of 55 percent Petit Verdot, 37 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 4 percent Malbec, and 4 percent Cabernet Franc that would complement nearly any holiday dish. Follow up dinner with the included Midnight Dessert wine, which goes hand-in-hand with your grandma’s pumpkin cheesecake or caramel-laden apple crumble. The combo will likely help you find your way to a blissful nap on the couch.
Enjoy the Bottled History of LangeTwins
If you want to get something really special for someone (including yourself), grab a bottle of the Centennial Old Vine Zinfandel crafted from a 119-year-old vineyard (planted in 1903), the pinnacle of LangeTwins wines that received a 94-point rating from Meridith May of The Somm Journal, a wine that is representative of the family’s commitment to the land, its excellence, and long history in Lodi, a.k.a. the “Zinfandel Capital of the World”.
Since the Lange family first set their boots on the land in the 1870s, they have given so much of their heart and soul to Lodi, and the land has reciprocated. It’s a symbiotic relationship that benefits the LangeTwins family, the community, the land, and now you. LangeTwins Winery — happily rooted in Lodi for generations past and generations to come.
This article is sponsored by LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards.