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:

The Heritage Vineyard is a remarkable example of research being supported by a wine organization. “As vineyardists, winemakers, craftsmen and ‘keepers of the flame,’” explains Doug Beckett of Peachy Canyon Winery, “we seek out the purest and finest quality clones of Zinfandel in California, isolate them, nurture them, study them and then make them available commercially on a large scale, all to ensure that Zinfandel moves into… its most superb incarnation.”