You Probably know Zinfandel as a wine grape varietal that produces both a rich red with a unique character and robustness, and a sweet, crisp Rose with a similar—if lighter—character to its red counterpart. You might also think of the collection of luxurious, highly effective skin care products from Vine Vera. But how much do you really know about Zinfandel? As it happens, there are a lot of fun facts about the wine varietal that most people aren’t aware of, and today, Vine Vera’s here to go over them with you so you can wow your friends with intriguing trivia anecdotes the next time you pop open a bottle of Zinfandel.
The earliest recorded instance of the name “Zinfandel” being used to refer to a wine was in an ad from 1832 for a Boston winery, meaning this varietal was truly born in the U.S.A.
While the first recorded instance of a wine being referred to and sold as “Zinfandel” was in 1832, the vine itself originally came to the U.S. in the 1820s as cuttings brought over from an Austrian collection. Those cuttings, used to spawn the plants that would ultimately allow winemakers to create the stuff, trace their genetic ancestry back to Croatia.
Zinfandel originally became introduced to California through the gold rush. The vines took to the dry, sandy soil and hot, arid climate and thrived, making them a very popular grape among winemakers in gold rush areas at the time, and this legacy has continued to make Zinfandel a popular Californian treat go this day.
There Can Be Only One
A lot of people think that “White Zinfandel” is a unique varietal of grape distinct from the one used to make red Zinfandel. This is, however, a common misconception, and both Zinfandel and White Zinfandel come from the Zinfandel grape, the aging and production processes are simply different for the two different kinds of Zinfandel wine (specifically, the skins of the grapes are removed during fermentation when making white Zinfandel, and often, sugar is added to the finished wine).
Older is Better
Older vines, that is. While some may prefer standard Zinfandel, “old-vine” Zinfandel is highly sought after, because the age of the vine will intensify spice and fruit flavors in the wine.
For the longest time, no one knew where Zinfandel came from, as it seemed to have just popped up mostly out of nowhere, earning it the title “mystery grape.” Recently, though DNA fingerprinting has solved this mystery, revealing that Zinfandel is actually genetically identical to Primativo and Crljenak Kastelanski grapes. Despite being genetic triplets, though, these three varietals are different enough to be discernible. Zinfandel has more vigorous vines and larger clusters than the other two, which creates a unique flavor profile.