Updated: Apr 6
As you know, we’re big fans of Zinfandel at Wine With Our Family. Much of the wine in our “left” closet (where we store our better wines) is dedicated to this versatile grape, which is mainly grown in California.
It was cool to learn recently that Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP), which represents many of the Zinfandel producers in California, has decided to launch a campaign to bring consumers and Zinfandel wine producers together. The initiative, called “Zinfandel Live” aims to “tell the Zinfandel story” through various programming “aimed at broadening the Zinfandel fan base.”
The new campaign showcases Zinfandel, and will feature online episodes of cooking demonstrations, food and Zinfandel pairings, winemaker interviews, and tastings. There will also be some in-person programs, such as events at the Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience in May 2023 and planned travel programs.
Zinfandel, sometimes called the “quintessentially American grape” has been in the United States since the 1830s, making it one of the oldest varietals in the country. A few of its vines in California are more than 100 years old.
But while Zinfandel is popular in some circles, it is not as widely grown as other grapes, such as Chardonnay or Merlot, and thus is not as well known.
Zinfandel Live wants to change that.
And while the Zinfandel Live campaign’s focus is to promote the varietal and boost Zinfandel sales, the initiative can also benefit us wine consumers.
Wine With Our Family recently had the opportunity to chat with Rebecca Robinson, ZAP’s executive director, to learn more about how this new campaign showcases Zinfandel and what consumers can expect to see.
Wine With Our Family: What prompted ZAP to launch this campaign?
Rebecca Robinson: Zinfandel’s story is unique. It came with the settlement of California and the west. There’s so much to tell about its history, preserving these old vines, and the evolution of Zinfandel, such as the fact that now there are dry Zinfandel Rosés. A new generation needs to know that story.
Other California grapes don’t have the same story. California Cabernet is incredible but its story begins in Bordeaux. The benchmark for Pinot Noir is Burgundy. The benchmark for Zinfandel is California.
WWOF: It sounds like much of the campaign is focused on food. Is there a reason for that?
RR: Zinfandel is a great food wine. Zinfandel Live is an opportunity to bring together Zinfandel and food with interesting pairing ideas and explain why it’s a great food wine. It goes with sushi, or with barbecue. We’ll be able to share this with the world throughout the year.
WWOF: Do other varietals engage in such promotions?
RR: Other [wine] associations exist and other countries promote wine. ZAP is not the first. We knew we had a fan base but wanted to elevate the story. Zinfandel has a variety of styles and can age. People want to learn from winemakers and interact in a more personal way so we have moved to do that for Zinfandel.
WWOF: How does the Zinfandel Live campaign benefit consumers?
RR: It gives them new ideas about how to enjoy wine. They’ll be able to learn about the wine and purchase the wines that will be featured in the online episodes. It’s all about coming together. You’ll have fun exploring Zinfandel!
We hope you enjoyed this interview with Rebecca Robinson about how a new campaign showcases Zinfandel and what consumers can expect. We look forward to learning more about this varietal and hopefully participating in some of the in-person events!
This interview was edited for length and clarity. Photos courtesy of ZAP.
What other varietals deserve time in the spotlight? Or are there some grapes or wine types that already receive too much attention? We’d love to hear about it. Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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