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Happy July 1!

It’s hard to believe 2013 is already half-over.  Since the last Zinfandel Festival, we’ve been immersed in transforming our events and are very excited to announce the launce of ZAP’s All New Zinfandel Experience!  We’ve listened to feedback from our members and guests and have reimagined the annual Festival to be an Experience that is unlike any other tasting.  You can find more information about the events on ZAP’s website at and we’ll be posting additional information, stories and details over the coming months on our blog.

Our Heritage Club members are the first to have the opportunity to purchase packages and tickets, starting today. When you support ZAP through your membership, you support the advancement and knowledge of Zinfandel and its unique place in American history and culture. It’s the support of members that makes it possible for ZAP to continue to spread the message of Zinfandel both domestically and abroad.  You make it happen and your support is appreciated. From all of us at ZAP, we look forward to experiencing Zinfandel in a whole new way with you.  Cheers!  Rebecca Robinson, Executive Director


Guest Blogger Fran Troxler

Guest Blogger
Fran Troxler

ZAP welcomes guest blogger Fran Troxler, with her wonderful story of Zinfandel Festival, both official and improvised.  Every other year, they make the trip West for the ZAP Zinfandel Festival. Read on to see what they do when the cross country trip to Festival isn’t  in the budget. Now we’re wondering what they do when they’re not coming out for the Oscars!

By Guest Blogger, Fran Troxler

Our love affair with Zinfandel wine began well before we attended our first ZAP Zinfandel Festival at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. But, that event changed us forever! The moment we arrived, we were hooked. How could we make this an annual event?

Sadly, since we’re from “back East” we simply can’t make the trip every year.  So, in 2011, we came up with a Plan B.  We decided to host our very own Zinfandel Festival —in our brand new “wine bar” /basement.  Today, our wine bar is affectionately known as Morning Light Cellars. Nothing fancy mind you, built from plywood on saw horses, it turned out great, thanks to the creativity and talents of my husband.

Our groups of friends are a competitive bunch, so making parties into prize-winning contests, well anything can happen.  We asked our guests to bring two bottles of Zin and a small plate food pairing to share.  Prizes for best wine, best food, best pairing, etc. were awarded … all the Zin disappeared … taxis were called (we are responsible bunch too) and well … the rest is history … and history in the making. Read the rest of this entry »

In our debut Blog Post at On Zinfandel, we talked about how the Zinfandel world that ZAP covers involves relationships that are getting closer and more interconnected all the time. We asked for your comments, and received some wonderful stories.

Here, ZAP Charter Member Bob Miller becomes our Guest Blogger, with a wonderful and true tale of how his initiation and pursuit of Zinfandel has spanned 30 years.

My Life With Zinfandel

by Guest Blogger, Bob Miller

It all started nearly 30 years ago.

A co-worker of mine at a multinational here on the East Coast was a serious wine aficionado.  I was not.  He had developed his wine chops while in graduate school at Stanford.  He formed a wine tasting group for 12 of us newbies and we started blind tasting various varietals and getting educated.  While on a business trip to California, we took a couple of days to visit Sonoma County where he introduced me to wine country, wine tasting and particularly ZinfandelRead the rest of this entry »

By Rebecca Robinson, Executive Director

Reflecting back over the past year, it’s hard to believe 2012 is coming to an end (and we’re still here—yeah!).  There’s lots of excitement in the air relating to Zinfandel. Two interesting articles on Zinfandel recently ran in major publications: San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. This last harvest was a great one by any measure. Zinfandel winemakers are buzzing about featuring their new releases at Zinfandel Festival 2013. Indeed, with only 30 days until the Zinfandel Festival, we are all looking forward to our biggest event of the year.

A Great Year for Zinfandel

A Great Year for Zinfandel

The Zinfandel Festival has long been regarded as a bench-mark event, which we are proud to make happen every January. During this time, the ZAP office is busy putting together winery badges, coordinating with our wonderful volunteers, laying out the building and organizing the myriad of details. Each of the four events is distinguished by a theme: at our kick-off on January 31, Epicuria is focused on Zinfandel and wine pairings. The Flights event will focus on historic vineyards, our much-heralded Winemakers’ Dinner allows for a personal evening with the winemakers, and finally on February 2, the Grand Tasting features over 200 wineries, pouring their very finest Zinfandels. There’s so much more—the chance to catch up with winemakers, see friends who come from near and far and, of course, experience the wine! Read the rest of this entry »

Susan Curtis, President, All Social

Susan Curtis

By guest blogger, Susan Curtis, President, All Social

With the 2013 Zinfandel Festival less than 8 weeks away, what better time than now to start to familiarize yourself with the growing regions of Zinfandel.  Whether planning your own wine tasting tour, enjoying the Zinfandel Festival Jan. 31st- Feb. 2nd in San Francisco or arranging your next Zinfandel tasting at home, a little in-depth knowledge of the shades of Zinfandel, based upon where the grapes are grown, gives you a lot of insight and gives your palate a number of clues about what you’re tasting.

Zinfandel Vines

Zinfandel vines are grown in diverse microclimates of California

The Growing Regions: Zinfandel has been planted in virtually all the grape growing areas of California, in a strikingly wide variety of soils and topography, and in climates from coldest to hottest. Here are the 8 regions that you’ll want to truly understand to know the nuances of Zinfandel.

Bay Area Zinfandel: with a variety of microclimates, this region includes the Livermore Valley and Contra Costa County to the east of San Francisco and the Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Clara Valley to the south. These Zinfandels are noted for their aromas of rich black cherry and spicy herbs, with elements of bramble, cassis, licorice, and chocolate.

The Central Coast Region includes Zinfandel growing areas of Monterey County, San Luis Obispo County (including Paso Robles), Edna Valley, and Santa Barbara. Wines here are rich, and fruity in character, from big, late harvest style wines to more forward, lighter, claret style Zinfandels which include notes of spice, herbs, and cherries.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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