Zinfandelic wines - Old Vine Zinfandel from California
Old vine Zinfandel grapes

Zinfandel was introduced to
California during the Gold Rush
in the 1850s

Zinfandel's Story

Old Vine Zinfandel in Sierra Foothills, California
Zinfandel's story could be considered an odd one. It started in 1852 when Zinfandel vineyards were first introduced to California and planted in the Sierra Foothills, near the Sierra Nevada mountains. It was a match made in heaven and Zinfandel became one of the most widely planted varietals in the state. Unfortunately, many of these Zinfandel vineyards were destroyed during Prohibition. It wasn't until the mid-1900s that Zinfandel began to experience a revitalization. Just as the freedom movement was making it's way out of Haight-Ashbury and into the rest of the world, so too was Zinfandel wine.

Most of the world had forgotten about this once popular grape, the wine of choice during the Gold Rush. When Zinfandel finally made its comeback in the 1960s, Zinfandel was referred to as "California's grape". The origins of Zinfandel have been widely disputed. Until recently, many believed that Zinfandel originated in Italy and was the same grape as Primitivo.

A study conducted in 1994 confirmed that while Zinfandel was a genetic match to Primitivo from Italy, it wasn't 100% identical. So, while they were related, they weren't the one and the same. After much research and tracking down other relatives of Zinfandel, researchers finally came across a match to Zinfandel in Croatia known as Dobricic.

Today, the Old Vine Zinfandel vineyards in the Sierra Foothills that survived the Prohibition are now widely treasured and revered as some of the oldest Zinfandel vines in the world.

Learn about Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zinfandel vineyards


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