About Us


Lodi Amateur Vintners Association

LAVA was founded in January 2001 for the purpose of promoting amateur wine making in the Lodi, California area. Through intelligent conversation at monthly meetings, members share ideas and resources concerning wine making. Regular guest speakers, drawn from the local commercial wine industry, provide members an opportunity for improving techniques from trimming grape vines to bottling finished homemade wines. The organization gathers wine making resources and serves as an informal clearing house for information and ideas for its membership and the general public.  LAVA the meets every third Thursday of each month from 7 until 9 PM. Meetings are held at different locations for educational purposes.

Mike Johnston is the current President of LAVA starting his leadership role in November 2016.  He will lead the club until December 2018 when he will be up for re-election.

Reustle Prayer Rock Winery

Our friends Steve and Brenda Baptista of Roseburg Oregon, introduced me to Stephen Reustle owner and Head wine maker, of Reustle Prayer Rock Winery. I have known Stephen for the last 5 years and I value his input and wine making style. My first meeting with Stephen was 15 minutes and a jam packed 15 minutes it was! Taking his advice, I improved my winemaking skills and the following year I won my first GOLD medal.

Stephen has been my mentor since 2013 and I take wines to him every year and we analyze the wines and adjust my styles for the next season.  His input is invaluable.

Reustle Prayer Rock Winery was voted 2017 the 2017 Northwest “winery of the year”.  Although Reustle wins many Double Golds and Golds each year, this year Stephen was awarded the BEST SYRAH in the WORLD. Wines from SIX nations competed. The competition is always held in Australia and dominated by Australian wines. Stephen won First and Second place.

Last year I took 6 wines to Oregon and won 4 Gold medals and 2 Silver medals.  Stephen, along with 12 of my friends and I spent over an hour in the coolness of the “cave” discussing our wines and the competition.  At the end of the afternoon I was given the most honorable award ever when Stephen stated that he “would be proud to put his name on any of these wines”.  Our group was emotional and I was in tears of happiness.

Check out my mentor Stephen Reustle @ reustlevineyards.com

Michael & Catherine Johnston

Retiring from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Lodi Wine Country was a dream of ours.  We found a great property and began the process of learning how to grow grapes and make the grapes into wine.  This was quite the learning process!  We could not have done it without the help of two groups here in Lodi, CA.