Lodi may seem like a small town, but appearances are deceiving.
“20 years ago there were probably 8 wineries, we now have about 85,” said grape grower Frank Gayaldo, “There are 100,000 acres of grapes, 750 grape growers, we grow more grapes than Napa and Sonoma combined.”
Gayaldo also added that business is good, “Lodi on the label is becoming known not only locally but markets around the world.”
While the wine is helping Lodi’s economy it’s having another benefit; increased tourism.
“We now get about 2 million visitors a year,” said Nancy Beckman, President and CEO of Visit Lodi.
The boost in tourism led to the opening of a brand new visitor and conference center, which Beckman is in charge of.
Incredibly, the new center features more than just wine.
Beckman said they have information on Lodi’s performing arts theater, downtown shopping, science museum, activities like hiking and bird watching, and natural resources.
Along with having information about Lodi the center also functions as small city museum with art displays, photography, and items from the city’s museums.
While the center has more than just wine it’s still a pretty prominent theme.
Beckman said there are plans to have a local winery set up a tasting room inside the center.
The Visitor and Conference Center is located at 25 N. School St., Lodi.