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By Rebecca Robinson, Executive Director

What were the actual results of this year’s Iron Chefs Zin?

You won’t be surprised that this year’s three judges have ZAP connections.

Iron Chef Zin Judges

Iron Chef Zin Judges

First there’s James Melendez, who has been writing about wine for years; his blog is James the Wine Guy. “Back in the day” ZAP worked with James in another life as a sponsor.

Our second judge was Lee Gregory. Lee is Executive Vice President of McCall’s Catering and Events, our caterer for the Grand Tasting.  Lee serves on the City College Culinary Board and originally made the ZAP and City College introductions.

Iron Chef Zin Judges after the big decision

The third judge was Kit Wall, who has her own consulting company.  Kit has been a strong champion for Zinfandel, helping ZAP to produce the Resource Guide to Zinfandel and other communication pieces. Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Dashe and Matt Cline prepare for Iron Chefs

ZAP’s Iron Chefs: Mike Dashe and Matt Cline

Did you know that Mike Dashe, co-owner and winemaker of Dashe Cellars, went to enology school at UC Davis with Matt Cline, co-owner and winemaker of Three Wine Company? Years ago, Mike was on a Bay cruise with Matt and Erin Cline (Matt’s wife), hosted by a foil and cork company, where he met his wife. Erin, who is co-owner of Three Wine Company with Matt, has served on the ZAP Board since 2001 and was a founding co-chair of ZAP’s annual Zinfandel Festival Winemakers’ Dinner and Auction , shared this little tidbit with me during Iron Chefs Zin, where Mike and Matt recently got together to compete for bragging rights. Read the rest of this entry »

Zinfandel is now renowned as America’s Heritage wine, but it first developed a reputation for fine wine as early as 1860 in California’s North Coast Region. The Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard Project is an unprecedented collection of rare and famous Zinfandel vine cuttings grown throughout California.  2.18 tons of Zinfandel from The Heritage Vineyard at UC Davis’ Viticultural Station in Oakville were harvested on September 26.

“It was a great growing season; the fruit looked to be at optimal ripeness. Zin is notoriously uneven ripening, and we managed to catch the field before we had too many raisins.  I expect the finished wine to show very vibrant, juicy fruit character,” winemaker Chris Leamy told us.

Here’s a video we created with photos taken while harvest was happening:

Read the rest of this entry »

The Launch of ZAP’s Blog—On Zinfandel

By Rebecca Robinson, Executive Director

Rebecca Robinson, Executive Director, Zinfandel Advocates & Producers

The world is an amazing place.  During the last 15 years serving as ZAP’s Executive Director, I often hear that the wine world is so small. Really? Over the past couple of decades, the California wine industry has grown to $19.9 billion in retail value as of 2011, up from $12 billion in 1998 and the number of California wineries has grown to 3,497 in 2012 up from 801 wineries in 1990*. But, when you attend tastings or visit wineries around California, it’s astonishing how many people you meet who know people you know.  How many times has this happened to you?

I believe producing and enjoying Zinfandel is not only a launching pad for making these connections, but it also is a destination for discovering history, learning and engaging with each other. People who love wine want to experience not only the aromas, textures, tastes, and sensations, but also seek to gain an understanding of the grapes, techniques, the terroir of the vineyards and the passion of winemakers.  This is why I became enchanted by and ultimately part of the wine business, which continues to inspire and fascinate me today.

The ZAP Blog On Zinfandel is intended as a timely forum to not just bring you features on growing regions, harvest news or perfect pairings, but also to share stories of making connections—with winemakers, growers and advocates who are passionate about Zinfandel. We will offer an insightful glimpse into the people who are a part of the Zinfandel world and will feature the distinct personalities of Zinfandel. Our plan is to post weekly, but we may post more often or less often, depending on what we uncover. Read the rest of this entry »

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