Charlene Lange
March 25, 2017

It was little Italy Friday night at LangeTwins winery with Pietro ‘Pete’ Murdaca in the kitchen pairing our Italian varietals with his cuisine. Was it the rainy night? The red checked tablecloths? Perhaps the strolling accordions?  There was a bit of magic in the air as 75 guests witnessed this third generation young chef stretch and execute a unique culinary experience.

Dinner pairings were all Pete’s design – opening act was a golden beet and arugula salad paired with the LangeTwins 2016 Sangiovese Rosé .  He then matched our 2014 Winery Exclusive Nero D’Avola with an oxtail ragu and cavatelli pasta that took two days to prepare.  Our 2013 Single Barrel Teroldego was the feature with a charred ribeye over a bed of raddichio, but it was his chocolate semifreddo dessert topped with toasted hazelnuts and fresh fruits that pushed everyone over the top served with our MVP Dessert wine. 

The addition of Italian varietals to the LangeTwins portfolio can be attributed to winemaker David Akiyoshi who identified these Mediterranean varietals as unique wine grapes that would thrive in the Lodi appellation and especially under the direction of our viticulture team.  “These varietals are old world heartbeats,” said Akiyoshi, “and great additions to the family portfolio of wines.”

Murdaca is a hometown Lodi son of Annette and Jim Murdaca, and a third generation chef.  His culinary training was in Italy, and he completed internships both in Calabria and Rome. Murdaca cites “freshness of ingredients” as a key to his success, with an emphasis on sourcing local produce. Murdaca and his family are currently renovating their Kettleman Lane restaurant, Pietro’s and describe their new look as “blending the old with the new”.  They expect to reopen in the June, 2017.

We spiced up the evening with a caricature of our chef Pete to honor his first solo winemaker’s dinner and pressed him to sign autographs for his admiring crowd.  It was amore! 

Mar 25, 2017 at 10:08 AM
Charlene Lange
February 28, 2017

The event was billed as a “Stuck in Lodi” auction item, offered to Jeff Daniels’ Purple Rose Theatre Company in my hometown of Chelsea, Michigan.  If you raise your palm, point to the bottom of your thumb and scooch over just a bit, you’re pretty darn close to Midwest territory, home of the Spartans, and I’ll give you U/M’s Wolverines as well. 

Our auction item is just one of the little things I do to maintain my hometown connection, while supporting local, original theatre.  Hats off to Daniels, also a hometown boy, who reached back to the community to establish a local theatre while honing his own trade as an actor.  Now in its 25th year, The Purple Rose Theatre enjoys audiences of thousands of patrons annually from across the nation.  That effort alone should garner a Tony.

The auction high bidder secured the three day trek to Lodi featuring our crazy Wine and Chocolate weekend.  We mixed the Michiganders in with 5,000 of our newest BFF’s from throughout California.  February is a great time to leave Michigan ditching snow scrapers and to blast into our warm valley temperatures, and see the daffodils begin to bloom.

Ann Arbor’s Dave Ligotti, his wife Karen, and Saline’s Derek Dobbs with his wife Noelle were very game to jump into the themed Wine and Chocolate ‘Roaring 20’s weekend.  They appeared on our doorstep for the opening event, our Wine Club Release Party (that would be solely to pick up wine…) dressed to kill! 

Randy toured them through the winery, intricately explaining the focus of our winery as creating opportunities for taking the fruit from our estate grown vineyards and distributing through wholesale market place, via our brands or our clients brands.  Our family manages and grows over 8,000 acres of winegrapes, and with 27 different varietals we have a unique opportunity to create many exceptional wines.

The recent addition of our bottling line adds another component to the discussion as we complete the circle of ‘vine to wine’ – the high speed bottling line capacity is 220 bottles each minute.  







The highlight of the weekend is always Big Red Night at the ranch. I cook and Randy grills thick filets – this dinner is not for the faint of heart. It was originally billed as a chance to raid Randy’s cellar and choose whatever red wines, regardless of age, to pair with the filets.  However!  Randy veered off script declaring he knew where the really, really good stuff resided, especially those wines of same vintage/year with multiple bottles.  And since we also included our Canadian friends, Vancouver Police Department #2 Warren and Lisa Lemke, son Joe’s partner on a 10 day bicycle ride from Vancouver to Lodi, circa 2014 we needed those multiple bottles!  I likely neglected to mention the Vancouver crew brought wines as well, so we added the Canadian and Washington labels to the list – we justified the evening as an educational wine experience!








Wine and Chocolate dawned on Saturday morning and I had warned the Michigan crew to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  The best thing they did was book a car and driver – that certainly took the pressure off enjoying wines from 58 different wineries in the Lodi appellation.  We initiated them early at LangeTwins, paired our wines with our signature chocolate, brie and basil panini’s and then sent them off to explore the region. 

So we turned them loose on the greater Lodi area for a day of wine tasting, exploring and enjoying the fruits of our labor, literally. Last word from Dave Ligotti?  Lodi will never be the same! 

Feb 28, 2017 at 10:28 AM