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. Stories are at the heart of sharing the richness of our lives. Stories connect us and reveal the luster, layers and magic to our existence—and to wine.  Stories can inspire and challenge us to be better people, to give back and to reach out.  We cordially invite you to come along with us as we embark on a journey of exploration, discovery and story-telling.

To kick things off, here’s one weird personal tale of connecting the dots…

Dear friends of mine were sitting with my husband and me at a lovely restaurant in Portland enjoying oysters and sparkling wine (the Zinfandel came later).  While we were chatting about friends we know and love, the conversation turned to a friend who had recently passed away—a cherished lady our friends had known for decades. They started telling her tale—born in Salt Lake City, optometrist father, family moved to San Pedro in the early 1960s, among other details.

As my friend is talking, my mouth starts to hang open and my husband begins to slink down under the table.  After a deep breath, I ask, “what was her maiden name?”  When my friend reveals the name, not a terribly common one by any means, I start chanting: “you’ve got to be kidding, you have GOT to be kidding…” It turns out this woman was my mom’s step-sister—my aunt by marriage! After knowing my friends for over 15 years, they had a very close connection to my family that I never knew—WOW!  How does that work?

I see this all the time in the world that ZAP covers…close relationships that are getting closer and more interconnected all the time. Send us your comments about living in a “small world” either by making connections or finding out you have connections with people you have met—especially at ZAP events or when visiting wineries.  My guess is we make even more connections!

Cheers!

*Source:  California Wine Institute and Wines & Vines