Not too long ago, Jason White and Lisa Perez took their road bikes out and took a spin along San Joaquin County’s wine country region.
They had been dealing with family issues so a nice ride along this agricultural area was just what the doctor ordered.
“We just wanted to get away and blow off some steam,” said White, who works in downtown Stockton at the San Joaquin County’s Revenue and Recovery Division.
From Bear Creek High a few blocks shy of Eight Mile Road in Stockton, they took off riding on their 30-mile plus bike trek, going along the outskirts of Lodi before stopping in the town of Woodbridge.
White and Perez are big fans of Woodbridge Pizzeria along North Lower Sacramento Road. They enjoy the outdoor setting of this mom and pop place that allows them to place their road bikes in close proximity while they enjoy a calzone and salad.
From there, most businesses in the area are a stone’s throw away.
Woodbridge Crossing – formerly the Woodbridge Feed & Fuel – is the “can’t miss” historic brick building located directly across the street from the pizzeria.
The menu is lunch and dinner. But come Friday and Saturday, “The Crossing,” as it’s often referred to, offers live music featuring the area’s popular bands.
Next to that is Woodbridge Uncorked wine bar featuring six boutique wineries and craft beers on tap.
Up the way along North Lower Sacramento Road is Cactus Mexican Dining, located in yet another historic building. Directly across the street from the pizza place is the Woodbridge Inn Steakhouse.
Woodbridge, in fact, is a census-designated place founded in the 1850s and is listed as a California Historical Landmark.
This unincorporated area with a population of 3,984 is perhaps better known for the famous “Woodbridge” label by Robert Mondavi winery.
The origins of Woodbridge started off with plenty of ambition.
The founders Jeremiah H. Woods and Alexander McQueen settled into the spot across the Mokelumne River in 1852, hoping that it would grow to be larger than Stockton and perhaps form a separate county – Woodbridge would have been the seat of Mokelumne County.
That never happened due mostly to the railroad bypassing the town and laying tracks through neighboring Lodi in 1867.
What’s also lost is that Woodbridge was once an educational center. In the late 1870s, Woodbridge Seminary and San Joaquin Valley College were established. But, by 1897, the college closed due to declining enrollment.
After lunch, White and Perez continued their ride along Acampo. That’s yet another unincorporated area named after a Southern Pacific Railroad station with population of 341.
A few small corner stores and market make up the small downtown area. But Acampo is home of some beautiful wineries.
One of the popular destinations is the Viaggio Estate & Winery (100 E. Taddei Rd.). Home to wedding receptions and other large gathering, this secluded and private estate is nestled along the Mokelumne River.
White, Perez and other cyclists have stopped here in the past to cool their heels, especially during the hot summer months. The facilities here are always accommodating.
Oak Farm Vineyards (23627 Devries Rd.) just opened a 2,600-square-foot tasting room equipped with expansive open-air space and outdoor fireplace along with an infinity-style reflection pool.
Other stops in Acampo include Housley’s Century Oak Winery (22211 N. Lower Sacramento Rd.), Large Twins Winery and Vineyards (1525 E. Jahant Rd.), Periano Estate Vineyards (21831 California Highway 99), Woodbridge by Mondavi (5950 E. Woodbridge Rd.), Dancing Coyote Wines (3120 Orange St.), Peltier Station (22150 N. Kennefick Rd.), Fields Family Wines (3803 E. Woodbridge Rd.), Macchia (7099 E. Peltier Rd.), E& J Gallo Winery (21280 N. Kennefick Rd.) and St. Jorge Winery (22769 N. Bender Rd.).