Zinfandel in a Nutshell
1829 – Imported from Austrian imperial nursery in Vienna by George Gibbs of Long Island
1832 – Gibbs took it to Boston and it was for sale at a nursery by the names Zenfendel/Zinfindal as a table grape!
1835 – 1845 introduced to California!
1878 – Became the most widely planted which lead to California’s first wine boom
1890 – Adolf Siot planted Zin west of Templeton
1915 – Paderewski planted Zin in Paso!!!!
1920s/30s – Zin started to become more popular in Paso
- Planted by many in the area including the following Italian families…Dusi, Martinelli, Busi, Vosti and Bianchi – many of which are still being farmed today by the families’ third and fourth generations.
1972 – Sutter Home made the first White Zin –> The wave of blush wines began!
1990s – DNA testing revealed Zin is the same as Primitivo (Italian Variety)
- Side note: Zin arrived in California before Primitivo arrived in Italy.
1998 – Cabernet Sauvignon surpassed Zin as the most widely planted red grape in California
2004 – Planted by EPOCH on the Paderewski Vineyard!!!!
2006 – California legislature designated Zinfandel as California’s official historical wine
2007 – Makes first appearance in an EPOCH wine (2007 Ing – 1%!)
2008 – First 100% Zinfandel made by EPOCH
Today – 3rd leading wine grape variety in CA, more than 47,000 acres planted (Over 10% of CA).
- Origin – Croatia
- According to DNA fingerprinting Zinfandel is genetically identical to a Croatian variety, Crljenak Kastelanski (only contradicting fact on the name: Wine Bible says Plavac Mali – further searching in Oxford Companion to Wine, “Plavac Mali is a cross between Zin and Dobricic”)
- Primitivo (Italian variety) is Zinfandel’s genetic twin (but they are different!, even labeling laws state that you cannot use them interchangeably)
- PRIMITIVO – Italian, ripens earlier, more even ripening and therefore easier to grow
- ZINFANDEL – American (Californian), uneven ripening, clusters compact
- Old Vine Zin has no legal definition (typically the vines are at least 40 years old, some over 100!)
- Growing Zinfandel can be very difficult:
- Clusters are compact and have uneven ripening, therefore likes long growing seasons
- Berries have thin skins
- Likes growing on hillsides for proper drainage
Zinfandel in Epoch Wines
2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 ZINFANDEL | 2007, 2009 INGENUITY | 2009 ESTATE BLEND