According to the Lodi Visitor Guide, McConnell Estates Winery, which is located in Elk Grove, is considered part of the Lodi Appellation and so it is on the list of Lodi Tasting Rooms. And, we are so glad it is, as we may never have checked it out—but a challenge is a challenge.
So, on our way home from a meeting in Elk Grove, we decided to stop and taste at McConnell Estates Winery.
The tasting room is in a house built in 1860 that has been converted. It is charming. Shanise was our Tasting Room Associate. She was so friendly and fun. She told us all about the history of the winery. The land, consisting of 1400 acres, was originally a sheep farm. It was converted to vineyards in 1996. The house has always been in the family and became the tasting room in 2003. There are pictures of the family all around the tasting room. Three brothers currently own and run the winery, with their kids starting to take part as well.
McConnell’s hosts a variety of concert events during the summer months. For “First Fridays”, a food truck is on-site and the winery offers sangria slushies! There are also classes, murder mystery dinners, etc. They often host weddings and parties. It seems like a great event venue.
They have two tasting flights – the Classic List and the Estate List. The tasting fee for 5 tastes from the Classic List is $5 and $10 for 5 tastes from the Estate List, waived with the purchase of a bottle. The Classic List includes 3 whites and 6 reds to select from, and the Estate List includes 8 reds. I tried the Classic List and Bobby tried the Estate List.
Lynn, another Tasting Room Associate and good friend of Shanise’s, joined us after a while. We had a ball talking with the two of them. They told us stories about the winery, past concerts and events, and themselves. We talked and laughed the whole time–spent nearly two hours there and it seemed like no time at all. We were fortunate that we were the only people there and didn’t have to share them 😊.
One of the wines on the Estate List was a Tannat. We learned that Tannat grapes are generally used as a blending grape, but their winemaker decided to make a Tannat wine, which was introduced this year. Interestingly, until a few weeks ago at Ripken Winery, we had never heard of Tannat grapes–now we are seeing it again. We bought a bottle of the Vermentino and one of the MKW Winemaker’s Blend.
- Elk Grove, north of Lodi
- 10686 W. Stockton Blvd
- Open 11am – 5 pm — Friday, Saturday and Sunday
I’ll have to say, Shanise and Lynn made it a day to remember. It’s the people that are making “The Challenge” so much fun!
We will definitely plan on coming back for a concert or two this summer. Now, on to another tasting room…