By Julia Barnes
As Spring beckons us to new horizons and new adventures, we are excited as we make our way down Highway 12 in Lodi, in anticipation of exploring a shining gem that awaits us in our own backyard. With just a slight turn onto Locust Road, we arrive at our destination and are pleasantly surprised as we enter the hidden oasis of LVVR Sparkling Cellars.
The brilliantly beautiful and lush setting creates the perfect ambience that entices our senses and sets the tone to experience and enjoy LVVR’s Sparkling Wines. It is here that we will encounter vibrant Sparkling Wines like no other because there are no other wineries like LVVR Sparkling Cellars.
Eric Donaldson is the Owner and Winemaker of LVVR. A native of Ohio, and a Miami University graduate, he has a degree in Botany and Geography and a minor in Entrepreneurship. His journey in winemaking started with a wine appreciation class while he was still in college.
In 2006, Sparkling Wine captured his attention, and he began making it in small batches while working at different wineries in Cincinnati and Cleveland as well as New Mexico, where he refined his palate for Sparkling Wine profiles. But it wasn’t until 2011 when he moved to Lodi, that his passion for Method Champenoise would begin to manifest itself which would lead to the creation of LVVR Sparkling Cellars
While working at a Wine Bar in 2012, his General Manager, Vanessa Vizcarra, found out about his talent to make Method Champenoise. Vanessa, along with her sisters and their friend became “Huge Fans” and encouraged Eric’s entrepreneurship. The label LVVR comes from their names, Leticia, Virginia, Vanessa, and Rose
In 2014, he moved to a small spot in Tuscan Wine Village in Lockeford, and recalls, “I started with only $50.00 in the bank. I didn’t have a start-up fund or the backing of investors. I did everything from seeking permits to buying and repairing used machinery.” Eric persevered and in August of 2016, the LVVR Sparkling Cellars’ Tasting Room officially opened.
“After making Sparkling Wine, I decided there was no need to make anything else.” Eric said and added, “I did try going back to offering non-sparkling as well, but the customers only wanted Sparkling Wines. My customers told me they could get regular wine at other wineries, but not Sparkling Wine. LVVR Sparkling Cellars is the only place where they could get Sparkling Wine that is actually made in house.”
And his clientele is right, there is no winery like LVVR Sparkling Cellars. Eric’s passion is infectious as he comments, “We are the only Winery that sources entirely in Lodi and we are the only ones make Sparkling Wine with the process of Method Champenoise.”
Method Champenoise is the traditional method of Sparkling Wine and LVVR is the only Winery that does not ‘outsource’ any part of the production process. From the sourcing of grapes through the entire process everything is entirely sourced within the Lodi appellation.
Over the last few years, LVVR has experienced tremendous growth and in the fall of 2022, moved to the current location, formally the site of Watts Winery.
Eric again commented, “It is hard to believe how fast we have grown. We are expanding just to meet the demand. We also produce Sparkling Wines for over fifty other wineries and businesses.”
When asked what he attributes LVVR’s success to, he said, “I believe in giving people what they want. It’s important to give people something they like and enjoy. Everyone is different with different tastes. Our Sparkling Wines have something for everyone with a variance in flavors, from Sweet to Dry, from White to Rose, we have something that will please everyone.”
And with Eric’s mastery in artfully blending various grapes, along with his gift of extracting the right amount of essence, LVVR creates exceptional vintages. These Sparkling Wines with their enticing aromas and effervescent bubbles are specifically created to enchant and delight the senses in every way.
As we embrace Spring and it begins to heat up while rolling into the summer months, now is the perfect time to treat yourself to the simple, yet exotic pleasure of perfectly pleasing your palate at LVVR’s Sparkling Cellars, a gem shining brightly in our own backyard guaranteed to quench your thirst.