Hanging out in the "Palate Room" with Scott Ellison
McCay Cellars is located on the North side of Lodi, CA. Lodi is approximately 30 miles south of Sacramento off of CA-99 freeway. The tasting room is open Thursday - Monday 11am – 5pm. The McCay tasting room is most awesomely referred to as the Pallet Room. By the way, the pun is absolutely intended. The tasting counter is constructed of wooden shipping pallets and that’s just the beginning of its charm.
Lodi is not know for its flashy or beautiful tasting rooms. Hometown comfort, good farmers and down to earth folks… absolutely. Beautiful tasting rooms and amazing scenery… well, Napa is another 90 miles East. Although the tasting rooms are really coming up in Lodi, McCay is not leading that charge. McCay Cellars is about expression and personality in their wines and it makes sense that their tasting room follows suit. The Pallet room is really just a corner of a small warehouse they use as their actual workspace during harvest. When you enter, it feels like a dark, cold warehouse and the parking lot is less attractive than a strip mall. However, when you leave, you will literally forget where you have been for the past hour. I found it easy to become enthralled with their passion, stories and wine quality. Soon, the charms of the Pallet room began to show themselves.
McCay is a true boutique winery. Do not expect to find their wines at the grocery store. If you want their juice, better plan a trip to Lodi. What they do make, they make very little of and it is well made. I stumbled on McCay by total accident and now must admit that McCay is one of my favorite wineries in the Lodi AVA. Well done McCay. You have made a fan of this wine snob.