In the heart of California’s Lodi appellation, Michael David Winery stands as a testament to generations of commitment to quality and innovation. Among its portfolio of exceptional wines, Earthquake Zinfandel has emerged as a crowning achievement, embodying the power of the region’s terroir and the winemaking prowess that defines the Phillips family legacy.
In 2023, the wine was bestowed with the International Revelation Oaked Wine award – Sylvain Trophy – at the disinguished Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. This recognition underscores the wine’s international appeal and showcases the winery’s ability to create wines that captivate palates worldwide.
A Seismic Tribute to History and Intensity
Named after the seismic activity that has shaped Lodi’s landscape, Earthquake Zinfandel captures the essence of the region’s bold and daring flavors. The roots of this wine trace back to an old Lodi vineyard, planted during the time of San Francisco’s iconic earthquake in 1906. In fact, the 2020 label itself has an accurate seismograph reading of that very day. Reflecting upon this historical event, Michael Phillips, the winery’s co-owner and founder, found the name “Earthquake” perfectly encapsulated the intensity of the wine he was crafting. Much like the earth-shattering events that have shaped the land, this Zinfandel boasts a dark, voluminous character that leaves a lasting impact.
The very first vintage of Earthquake Zinfandel was 2000. It was introduced to the public shortly after and has remained a staple of the winery ever since.
Tasting the Quake: A Symphony of Flavors
What sets this wine apart is the fusion of Petit Verdot and Sirah, intensifying the luscious red fruit and brown sugar notes of the Zinfandel. This results in a lavish, profoundly flavorful wine that immerses the palate in a symphony of blackberry, blueberry, and dark chocolate nuances, all enveloped by supple tannins that ensure a velvety mouthfeel. After aging predominantly in new American oak barrels (80% new), the wine also boasts a rich interplay of oak spices, including hints of vanilla and nutmeg. The wine’s audacious character and intricate layers of complexity are a direct reflection of the painstaking winemaking process meticulously orchestrated by the accomplished team at Michael David Winery.
The 2018 vintage of Earthquake Zinfandel has been sold out but the winery still carries the most recent vintages 2020 and 2021. “With seismic flavors such as these, it’s a wonder how we can keep these on our shelves”, says the winery’s team.
Family Heritage and Sustainable Farming
Michael” and “David” refer to Michael and David Phillips, two brothers whose family has been engaged in farming in Lodi since the 1850s. Their agricultural legacy includes cultivating wine grapes for nearly a century. In the present day, Michael David Winery has extended its influence to the sixth generation of grape growers within the family, with Kevin Phillips and Melissa Phillips Stroud now actively participating in the family enterprise.
Guided by a forward-looking perspective, Michael David Winery has embraced progressive and sustainable farming practices. Their dedication to environmentally conscious agriculture is evident across all 750 acres of the family’s vineyards, all of which have received third-party certification. From the 2011 vintage onward, 100% of the Lodi-grown fruit crushed at Michael David Winery has been certified as sustainable.
Innovation and Originality
The family’s unwavering commitment to crafting exceptional wines with distinct and visually captivating labels remains a focal point. In addition to the renowned Earthquake Zinfandel, the winery has gained national recognition for its Freakshow brand. This creatively eccentric label showcases a compilation of sideshow characters, oddities, and unique personalities from the late 1800s to the early 1930s – real acts or individuals that were part of public arts and expressions. From the enigmatic Wolf Man to the enchanting Madison, a siren of the sea, these depictions honor a diverse range of historical figures.
Today, Michael David Winery’s products are present in approximately 30 different countries, reaching international enthusiasts and garnering appreciation in European nations such as Belgium and Denmark. This global expansion underscores the winery’s commitment to sharing its distinctive creations with audiences around the world.