Why rent a home for a vacation in Lodi?

Mission Arch, nighttime

This question comes up regularly.  Renting a vacation home meets the needs of many travelers and families.  There are many reasons our guests stay in one of our three homes.  They come for art classes, festivals, to watch the Sandhills Cranes in winter, to have close access for cherry harvest season (brokers), grape harvest, and olive harvest.

liz_card_bk_prfThey offer private get aways for anniversaries, honeymoons, places for families to stay for weddings, college graduations, grandparents welcoming their new grandchildren, grandparents turning their home over to children and grandchildren and finding a quiet place, staff retreats, get aways for pastors and missionaries, and class reunions. Our long term stays are for brokers, winery staff and out of town contractors that prefer something more like home rather than stay in a hotel for months.


T his is the sixth year that we’ve welcomed guests to our Cottages.  We are the longest operating vacation rental in our area.  We can accommodate multiple families or groups traveling together in our two cottages that share a property and allow meals and excursions to be shared.


As our local lovely gems become more popular with visitors, more people traveling together look for a shared place conducive to  eating some meals in, more privacy, traveling with children or pets,  and flexible check in and check out times.  Parking behind a gate helpscoa_vine_kit2_2


with feeling more secure and less exposed to vandalism. Free wi-fi and satellite TV, laundry facilities for the unexpected events, the ability to barbecue after an afternoon of wine tasting on a private patio with a firebox is a very different experience when traveling.  Many times, it’s less expensive for families or friends to rent a vacation home than to reserve multiple hotel rooms.cottages_Mer_frtrm new




I’m glad to say that Lodi offers choice in what type of venue is needed for travelers.  We have luxury accommodations with food and spas on site, we have hotels that offer breakfast and pools and easy access to travel with shuttles for big events, and economy hotels.  There are lovely Bed and Breakfasts nearby in Lockeford and Clements.  And we have several vacation rentals to choose from.  Finding yourself ‘Stuck in Lodi’ isn’t so bad!image


Thinning the New Growth


Yep, old fashioned muscle powered press.

We are fortunate to care for a small Cabernet vineyard near by.  The learning curve for us is caring for the vineyard correctly, as this action affects the fruit quality greatly.  Not everything that grows on the vine produces fruit. Actually only two shoots per spur yield the fruit.  Removing everything else concentrates the vine production to the vines with fruit only.  This past weekend, our team went to work on shoot pulling.  This is round two, and there may be round three.  This was new for me!  Pruning is critical for this stage.  Don’t let amateurs do your pruning! Sulfuring every 12 to 14 days takes place to prevent mildew on the new fruit during this stage.  We have warm weather coming, but we can’t stop yet.


The trunk, cordons go sideways from the trunk, spurs on the cordons are about a fist width apart on each side. The fruiting canes come from the spurs. Now you see each section of the vine.


Look at all the growth taken off the vine!


Close up to show two canes growing from the spur. These green growing canes have the baby fruit bunches on them.


Another close up showing two shoots.


The growth is more than six feet high in about five weeks.


Baby Cabernet cluster


Shoot thinning on the ground


This grand dame is more than nine feet high! She’s been here for quite a while.

Vineyard Soil Health March 2014

Our vineyard usually shows bud break around St. Patrick’s Day.  This year, we were just a few days off. But the Pinot Grigio and the Moscato vineyard adjacent to ours was a little ahead of the reds.  Every few years, the vineyard rows are planted with peas, then disked into the soil to fix nitrogen for vine nutrition.  I love the flowers and took a few pictures before the rain came this week. ImageImageImageImageImage

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again!

Well, 2013 had zero, zippo, nada posts.  It began with a herniated neck disc that prevented me from doing  all sorts of activities, especially anything with a keyboard!  But I have consistently seen so many ideas about Lodi to write about that I feel compelled to get back to the starting gate.  To our guests that come to the Cottages on Armstrong for so many different reasons, there are fabulous festivals, wineries, any several different places to go and things to do.  So, again, I want to feature some of the jewels of our Lodi area.  Along with that will be the the inevitable things I enjoy from living in our little corner of Lodi.  

Today as Mr. D and I visited a downtown tasting room, I heard my words again express how much I love our area and the  lifestyle we are blessed to enjoy here.  

Springtime in the Vineyard

Lodi Grape Statue Downtown

We have the four “B’s” going on right now! Blooms, Birds and Bunnies! But most important, we have  bud break in the vineyard. Discing has started this week  between rain showers.  Driving by the vineyards, you see a line of green about 4 feet high floating over the ground as the new shoots of lime green have quickly developed in the last week.

We have bottling scheduled with many friends next month for our 2010 Zinfandel and Carigagne.  Time to set up the barn and equipment and tweak the wine a bit before then.

Spring brings many local events to Lodi.  This  Friday evening is the School Street  Stroll in downtown Lodi.  Congratulations to Borra Winery for its recognition as Winery of the Year by the VisitLodi Tourism Board.  Later this month, the fabulous  Asparagus Festival is in Stockton,  and we look forward to  the annual Zinfest next month at Lodi Lake.