Home Cities Lodi: The Wine-Grape Capital of California

Lodi: The Wine-Grape Capital of California

Lodi: The Wine-Grape Capital of California

Lodi gained international renown when it became a song written by Creedence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty. Fogerty admitted that he had never been to Lodi prior to writing the song, but he just liked the name.In the lyrics of the song the refrain is “Oh Lord, I’m stuck in Lodi again…” I am going to explain to you why Lodi may just be the best place in the US to be “stuck in” again.

In the lyrics of the song the refrain is “Oh Lord, I’m stuck in Lodi again…” I am going to explain to you why Lodi may just be the best place in the US to be “stuck in” again.

A Bit of History

By Randy Elliott (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Randy Elliott (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
In 1869 the Central Pacific Railroad was in the process of creating a new route. Some of the pioneers who settled the land, which is now Lodi, offered the railroad a townsite of 160 acres in order for them to build a station there. The railroad received a “railroad reserve” of 12 acres in the middle of town and surveyors came and began laying out streets around the station. Soon settlers flocked there from nearby Woodbridge, Liberty City, and Galt.

The newly formed town was originally named Mokelumne after the nearby river. This naming caused confusion with some of the other surrounding towns and prompted a new name for the recently established town, Lodi. Many believe that the early settlers in this area were from Lodi, Illinois and they chose the name because of their home town.

In 1906 the city of Lodi was officially incorporated. The population today is 65,000 people.

Where is Lodi?

lodi ca photo
Photo by sonstroem

Lodi is located in San Joaquin County in the northern portion of California’s Central Valley. The climate is cool and wet during the winter months and very warm and dry during the summer months. The nights during the summer are often cool and dry as the breeze blows in from the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta.

Where Do “Lodians” Work?

The saw mill was built in 1877 on the Mokelumne River and is still in operation today.

The “Flame Tokay” grape from Algeria was a central feature of the up and coming vineyards in the area. An interesting bit of minutiae, in the late 19th century many of the grapevines were “usurped” in the favor of watermelons and wheat, but price cuts and label problems encouraged farmers to plant more vines. Those vines now are the basis for the largest industry in Lodi, the production of wine.

Grapes and Wail – Lodi and its surroundings are known for the cultivation of grapes and its production of wine. From the early part of the 20th century right up to the 1980”s Lodi promoted itself as the “Tokay Capital of the World” due to its abundance of Flame Tokay grapes dating back to the late 1870’s.

Today Lodi refers to itself as the “Wine-Grape Capital of California” because there is a wide variety of grapes grown in Lodi and its surroundings.The primary grape grown today is  “Zinfandel”. Lodi has also been named “Wine Region of the World” by “Wine Enthusiasts Magazine” in 2015.

aw root beer photo
Photo by purpleslog

Those of my generation who remember the song “Lodi” also remember A&W Root Beer.

Lodi is the birthplace of A&W Root Beer, which in 1919 became the first franchised fast food restaurant in America. A&W Root Beer is still sold in cans and bottles throughout the U.S. While you are stuck in Lodi you might want to visit the A&W Root Beer Museum.

There are many other business and industry that are part of the working foundation of Lodi.


Jamie Stewart America Unraveled's resident expert on all things higher ed!


  1. Did the author visit Lodi or just look stuff up on the web &/or a press kit?

    Not one word on the people of Lodi who truly make this town “Livable Lovable Lodi.” Go to many of our area tasting rooms and not only will you be impressed with the many, many award winning wines but you’ll probably be talking to either the winemaker or owner. Many of the wineries are families who have farmed the land for 4, 5, and even 6 generations.

    Lodi’s Downtown main drag is School Street full of restaurants of all kind, boutique shops, a few bars, and 6-8 wine tasting rooms.


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