“Bokisch Vineyards and Cindy Della Monica embody what these awards mean,” the Selection Committee said in a joint statement. “By providing a unique, meaningful and valued experience to visitors and locals alike, they have elevated the Lodi destination experience. It is our honor to bestow these awards on these deserving individuals, and we hope the community will join us in showing appreciation for their efforts during the Tourism Luncheon.”
Since planting their initial vineyard in 1999, Markus and Liz Bokisch have produced premium Spanish wines made from unique grape varietals and provided an outstanding wine tasting experience to wine tourists for almost two decades. Bokisch Vineyards has continually been recognized with honors and praise regionally and nationally, being featured in Wine Enthusiast most recently in February 2018 and receiving an Editor’s Choice for their 2014 Tempranillo which earned 92 points from the publication.
Most of all, Bokisch Vineyards has been a leading force in establishing Lodi as a destination for wine lovers, seeking the out-of-the-ordinary, and have traveled throughout the country and world promoting Lodi as one of the premier viticultural areas in the world. Liz and Markus have been at the forefront of the sustainable winegrape grower movement, helping to develop and promote Lodi Rules and their two certified organic vineyards, Terra Alta and Las Cerezas. Their commitment to not only producing quality wine and winegrapes but raising the profile and influence of the Lodi Appellation is appreciated and admired throughout the community.
"Not only have Markus Bokisch and the whole Bokisch Team been making critically-acclaimed Lodi wines for decades, but they have been raising the tide for all of us winery 'boats,’" said Visit Lodi! Chairman Jon Bjork. “They were an important early grower of higher-level, premium winegrapes, not only for their winery but also for many local wineries. They drove the establishment of Lodi's sub-appellations, helping to raise awareness for what grows best in specific areas.”
For Cindy Della Monica, owner of Cheese Central in Downtown Lodi, her personality, expertise and extensive product selection have kept visitors and locals continually coming back to her and her business. With over 35 years of experience in food and hospitality, Cindy provides many visitors with their first taste of what Lodi is, a friendly, helpful and fun experience that allows them to enjoy their vacation to the fullest.
With a large selection of cheeses, charcuterie, olive oils, wine, and craft beer, visitors tend to stock up on food that will enhance their wine tasting experience as they explore Lodi’s 85-plus wineries. It’s not just selection that keeps her Yelp! profile glowing with recommendations, but it’s her service with a smile.
It isn’t just service with a smile, but teaching with grace, as Della Monica continues to provide classes on cheese, baking, pasta making and various other cooking classes. Never one to shy away from helping someone find the right product, learn the right skill or how to maximize one’s experience in Lodi, Della Monica is indeed a beacon of positivity that shines brightest when interacting with everybody who walks in.
“Cindy is an amazing individual,” Visit Lodi CEO Nancy Beckman said. “She opened a niche business during a downturn in the economy and built Cheese Central into a successful shop that is a favorite of tourists and locals alike. She is a role model for customer service excellence, wanting all who come into her store to have a great experience and leave satisfied. Cindy works closely with wineries, restaurants and local organizations to do cheese pairings for visitors and media – creating an experience that showcases the best that Lodi has to offer as a destination.”
Both Bokisch and Della Monica will receive their awards on Tuesday, May 7 during the 13th Annual Tourism Luncheon from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. at Wine & Roses Hotel, Restaurant & Spa. Early bird tickets are on sale now until March 29 and are just $45 per person. Tickets after the early bird deadline will be only $50 per person and all RSVP’s must be made by the end of business on April 26.
To RSVP, please call Visit Lodi! at (209) 365-1195 with your Visa, MasterCard or Discover card.
Visit Lodi! is the official destination marketing organization for Lodi, with a mission to increase tourism by promoting Lodi as a destination, enhancing economic growth. This mission is accomplished through a variety of promotions for the region through advertising, travel trade shows and Visit Lodi!’s website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. Visit Lodi! operates the Downtown Lodi Visitor Center where visitors to our area can view a variety of attraction exhibits as well as pick up a visitor’s guide and other visitor-related information.