David Lucas has helped put Lodi on the wine map.
Lucas has served on numerous boards and committees and opened one of the first boutique wineries in Lodi back when the area was dominated by large producers.
Last week, The Lucas Winery was named Winery of the Year by Visit Lodi!, and Taylor Kininmonth, owner of Sip Shuttle, was named Tourism Advocate of the Year.
Lucas was lauded for his leadership as much as his award-winning wines, including his flagship ZinStar Zinfandel, which grows directly behind his tasting room on Davis Road.
“What stood out are his many years of leadership in the industry,” said Nancy Beckman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Visit Lodi!, which is funded by the City of Lodi and area hotels. “He was one of the first independently owned and operated wineries in the county, and he was instrumental in fighting for the wineries.”
The Lucas Winery opened in 1978 when there were approximately 13 wineries in Lodi. Today, Lodi has more than 80 wineries and about 70 tasting rooms.
“Some people thought it was a really silly idea and some people thought, oh well, you might as well try it,” Lucas said. “Most of Lodi’s grapes go to larger wineries, 95 percent, where the appellation is lost. So, the small wineries are an important aspect of building a reputation for Lodi.”
Kininmonth owns Sip Shuttle, which provides hop-on, hop-off and private tours of Lodi wine country.
“It’s awesome that the whole community has been so supportive,” said Kininmonth, a native of Lodi who started her company in August 2015. “It’s just a good feeling to be able to show people our area.”
Lucas and Kinimonth will be honored at the 12th annual Tourism Luncheon on May 1 at Wine & Roses. Tickets are $40 each, $45 after April 18 and are available at the Visit Lodi! Downtown Center at 25 N. School St., or by calling (209) 365-1195.
Contact Bob Highfill, marketing and communications manager with the Lodi Winegrape Commission, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bobhighfill and @lodi_wine.