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Second, Fifth Largest Wineries In U.S. Located Here
Delicato’s Manteca wine tasting room at French Camp Road and Highway 99 is open seven days week from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

California’s largest winegrape growing county isn’t Napa.

Nor is it Sonoma or even Monterey.

It’s San Joaquin County.

That tidbit of information may startle you.

But what might prompt you to drop your glass of Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel or spill your Franzia Chardonnay is this: The fifth largest winery in the United States is in Manteca while the second largest winery is in Ripon.

Delicato is in its 99th year. And just like fine wine it gets better with time.

What started three generations ago with the planting of a vineyard three miles north of Manteca has blossomed into an 18 million cases a year concern that employs roughly 600 people year-round.

It is now the fifth largest winery in the United States.

Its portfolio includes 20 premium wine brands crafted from 6,000-plus acres of estate vineyards in the Napa, Lodi (San Joaquin County), Monterey and Sonoma wine regions.

Delicato is one of 85 wineries — many with wine tasting rooms — in the Lodi Region.

It is the third largest winery for exporters of wine in the United States.

The winery is still on the original land where Gaspare Indelicato started it all on the southwest quadrant of French Camp Road and the Highway 99 interchange.

The Wine Group — a relative newcomer that got its start in 1981 — is six miles to the east of Manteca. Its winery — and warehouse — are along East Highway 120 in the rural Ripon area on the way to Escalon.

The Wine Group sold 51 million cases last year. Unlike Delicato, the winery does not have a wine tasting room.

And while more and more vineyards keep popping up in the South County, there is a dearth of wine tasting rooms.

That is changing.

Zinc House Farm plans to expand from a small to large winery on the north side of East Highway 120 located less than a mile east of Carrolton Road. It will include the first tasting room is proposed along East Highway 120 between Manteca and Escalon.

The biggest winery in the United Stats — as well as the world — is Gallo in Modesto.

It blows the doors off the competition shipping 88 million cases a year.

Ironically, Stanislaus County, where Gallo is located, grows only a tenth the amount of wine grapes that San Joaquin County does.

San Joaquin County in 2021 had 68,475 acres planted in wine grapes while overall grape production takes place on 88,700 acres.

Grape acreage is segmented by type grown for wine, those raised to produce raisins, and table grapes.

Following San Joaquin County in the wine grape category is Sonoma at 57,075 acres, Fresno at 55,510 acres, Napa at 46,019 acres, and Monterey at 45,972 acres.

Tw counties — Fresno and Kern — grow more grapes overall than San Joaquín County.

Fresno tops the “all” category with 171,000 acres. In addition to the 55,510 acres of wine grapes Fresno County has 31,711 acres of table grapes and a whopping 85,299 acres of grapes that ultimately find their way to store shelves as raisins.

San Joaquin County shares a lot of things with the Napa Valley.

Ideal soil. Cool winters that chill vines. Warm to hot days during the growing season that come with essentially cooling night breezes to help make the sugar content more robust.

What San Joaquin County doesn’t share with the Napa Valley is a reputation as a tourist Mecca with $300 spa treatments and $250 mud baths and top-tier dining although Ernie’s Fine Dining and Spirits in Manteca is impressive enough it draws clientele from San Francisco while Lodi’s wineries can hold their own for wine tasting.


Wine tasting, flights &

winery concert info

Wines & Roses in Lodi is a comparably affordable getaway with elegant rooms, top-notch space, fine food and wines plus it is next door to the Lodi Wine & Visitor Center. Altogether, San Joaquin County has nearly 90 wineries with the vast majority in the Lodi area.

There are more than enough wineries in the Lodi area per se that can make a day excursion with friends to make repeat visits to the northern end of San Joaquin County doable with a different option each time.

More information can be found at including a downloadable PDF map of wineries and contact information.

But if you want to squeeze in a wine tasting adventure with friends without making an entire day commitment and travel two hours one way to do so— or pair it with other activities such as guests are now doing that visit Great Wolf Lodge — Delicato is an option that’s just a short drive away.

The winery tasting room is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Delicato also offers seated wine tasting starting at 9 a.m. with the last tasting at 4 p.m.

Reservations are not required but suggested. To reserve your table, go to or call the tasting room at 209-824-3501.

Tables are set for four to six guests per party for a 60-minute stay. Choose a pre-selected flight of four wines: all Reds, all Whites, a combination of Red and White or all Sweet wines for $5 per person.

An optional Charcuterie Tasting Board for two is available for $30 which includes two wine flights plus sliced cheese, sliced pepperoni and salami, rustic crackers, olives and a sweet treat.

The flights include:

*Red Flight: Black Stallion Pinot Noir / Z Alexander Brown Cabernet Sauvignon / Diamond Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon / 1924 Double Black Red blend

*White Flight: Diamond Collection Prosecco / Sofia Coppola Rose / Noble Vines 242 Sauvignon Blanc / Diora Chardonnay

*Combo Flight: Sofia Coppola Rose / Noble Vines 242 Sauvignon Blanc / Z Alexander Brown Cabernet Sauvignon / 1924 Double Black Red blend

*Sweet Flight: Relax Rose / Sweet Marie White blend / Delicato Limited Reserve Port / Diora Late Harvest Malvasia Bia

The wine tasting room offers gift baskets, gourmet items as well as wine sales.

There is also a second winery in the area with a tasting room that offers wine tasting flights.

It’s the Lucca Winery at 16265 East River Road in rural Ripon.

The wine tasting room is open Friday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Appointments for wine flights are at noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. They last about 75 minutes.

There is a $10 charge that is waived if you purchase wine.

The winery serves as the venue for concert and dinner series benefits put on through the Red Tie Arts non-profit that helps support musical arts in Stanislaus County.

There are four concerts in this year’s summer series: Slim Man on June 10, Foreigner Unauthorized on July 8, Kalimba — the spirit of Earth, Wine & Fire on Aug. 12, and Big Bang Beat on Sept. 9.

Tickets and other information can be secured by going to

As far as Lucca Winery is concerned, call 209-761-5553 or go to their website at

A vineyard in Lodi near the Mokelumne River.