May 27, 2004


Zinners Unite
by Bill Hallberg

A few weeks ago Kansa City hosted the first ever visit of ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers). On April 26 more than 35 Zinfandel producers descended on Union Station with a plethora of Zinfandel. With over 150 different styles of Zins to sample, this was not an event the true Zinfandel lover should have passed over.

This roadshow of wine counted Kansas City as only one of many stops across the country with visits to New York City and St. Louis sandwiching the K.C. venue.

According to reports, Kansas City's response was overwhelmingly positive. Lots of Zin lovers here. Not only was attendance here great but we showed our support for ZAP by burying the turnout in both St. Louis and New York City, which boasts a considerably larger wine drinking population.

Congrats K.C.!

It is no surprise Kansas City is one of the faster emerging wine markets in the U.S. America's grape, Zinfandel has carved out a unique place in the wine lover's world.

Genetic testing has helped to determine where this wonderfully spicy grape originated, to an extent. Originally thought to have arisen from Italy in the form of the Primitivo varietal, Zinfandel now traces it's heritage to Croatia. The early Italian immagrints brought with them their wine grapes and started planting Zinfandel throughout California. Plantings started as early as the Gold rush with vines finding homes from Cucamonga in the south to areas of Mendicino in the north.

The Heritage Vineyard, roughly one acre large, exists within the University of California , Davis Research Station and is dedicated to seeking out, preserving and studying various clones of our Heritage Grape.

Most selections are at least 60 years old and there currently are 90 selections putting down roots at the Davis facility. This is incredible when you consider the huge number of vines Zinfandle pulled up in the 70's and 80's in response to the growing thirst for Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

With little doubt, Zinfandel is one of my favorite wines. I love the way it pairs up with a huge variety of foods. I recently did a wine dinner where I put a Zinfandel with the Ceasar salad with splendid results. The spicy character of the grape makes it wonderful with spicy foods as well as foods with big bold flavors. Styles of Zinfandel can run from lean to rich and jammy with lots of ripe dark fruit and a zippy peppery finish.

Another thing about Zinfandel is the heat (wine speak for alcohol)... it's up there. Most Zins are comming in at 13.5% - 16.5%. Well integrated Zins surpisingly don't show the heat as much as one would expect.

Another thing I like about Zin.

Good Zins can cost as little as under $10 and go up from there. A few of my favorites were: Tres Sabores "Rudy Zuidema"; Renwood "Jack Rabbit Flat"; Michael-David Vineyards "7 Deadly Zins."
An interesting entry came from Meeker Vineyard a late harvest cryogenic desert style: "FroZin". Cute huh? Keep a look out for when Zap returns and you too can be a card carrying Zinner.

For information about upcoming wine seminars, classes, tastings and wine dinners contact me at


2004 Discovery Publications, Inc. 104 E. 5th St., Ste. 201, Kansas City, MO 64106
(816) 474-1516; toll free (800) 899-9730; fax (816) 474-1427

The contents of eKC are the property of Discovery Publications, Inc., and protected under Copyright.
No portion may be reproduced in whole or part by any means without the permission of the publisher. Read our Privacy Policy.