Toasted Toad Cellars • Lodi, CA
My favorite way to go out wine tasting is to choose an AVA and follow my nose. A sign here, a wine map there, a healthy does of Google Maps and let the adventure begin. A few months ago, I decided to take a trip into downtown Lodi here in Northern California. It was a warm Saturday afternoon, so I turned on the music and explored a little. Downtown Lodi is not a very large place so it didn’t take long. Before I knew it, I had stumbled upon Toasted Toad Cellars. The facade was fun and inviting so I pulled into a parking space.
Toasted Toad is a stand alone winery in an urban setting so it is not typical. In fact, at first glance, it seems to be just an urban tasting room. Not the case. The Toasted Toad family converted an old tire store into this quaint little downtown Lodi destination.
When people in the wine business talk about family wineries, they usually refer to large vineyards past down from generations of farmers. Well, Toasted Toad is not those guys. Toasted Toad is owned and operated by an enthusiastic father and daughter, Jeff and Laura Werter. Jeff “caught the wine bug” and he pasted it on to his daughter. Now they are in business together working hard to find good fruit and make good wine.
On this summer day when I strolled into Toasted Todd, Jeff Werter, was behind the bar finishing up a tasting for a couple that was buying a few bottles before they headed back to the Los Angeles area. You would think Jeff knew them for years by their conversation. Sharing and chatting like they were catching up. Wine has been known to help with this. In any case, Jeff was just being himself. Hospitable and welcoming. Oh, and by the way, he loves to talk about all things wine. Awesome spot for a wine newbie looking for an animated winemaker willing to share their craft simply for the love of it.
21 E. Elm Street
Lodi, CA 95240
How to get there:
Head south from Sacramento on CA 99 for a little over 30 miles. Exit E. Turner Road which will loop around back to E. Turner Road. Turn left onto E. Turner Road. In a 1/4 of a mile turn left onto N. Stockton Road. Follow N. Stockton for 1/2 a mile and turn Right onto Elm Street. Toasted Toad is clearly visible on your right about a block down.