FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OVER 10,000 PEOPLE ATTEND ZAP FESTIVAL EVENTS
San Francisco CA January 25, 2004---More than 10,000 people enthusiastically celebrated America’s grape during the four events comprising the 13th Annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Festival, January 21-24, 2004. Approximately $95,000 was raised at two separate auctions during the Festival----which supports research and education about and into Zinfandel, including the Heritage Vineyard (under the direction of the Department of Viticulture & Enology, University of California, Davis, see end of this release). “This event is a force of nature,” said Rebecca Robinson, ZAP’s Executive Director, “further enhanced by the incredible work of the energetic ZAP ‘Advocates’ (volunteers).”
TASTING: Over 8,000 people traveled “miles” through the Festival and Herbst Pavilions at Fort Mason on January 23 to taste new releases (primarily 2001 vintage) and 2002 barrel samples, poured by 275 Zinfandel wineries, totaling a more than 550 different Zinfandels. Thirty of these wineries had never poured at this Tasting before. One of the event’s signatures is that tasters are handed their own baguette as they enter: 8,000 baguettes and 2,200 pounds of cheeses (Old Amsterdam, Leyden, Gruyere, Emmenthaler, Wisconsin Cheddar, Dry Sonoma Jack, Vermont Cheddar, Oregon Blue Vein).
This event has grown hugely from its first Tasting in 1992 with 22 wineries pouring their Zinfandels. This year people came to the Festival from all over the U.S. and the world, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands and South Africa.
Zin aficionados could take the Festival home in several ways. This is the only place where wine from the research vineyard is sold: this year the 2001 Heritage Vineyard wine was sold for $20.00 per 750 ml bottle (the winemakers rotate; for the 2001 the winemaker was Joel Peterson of Ravenswood Winery; the 2002 by Turley Wine Cellars; the 2003 by Ridge Vineyards). You could also purchase ZAP-logo’d items (such as clocks inscribed with “it’s always time for Zin”) as well as mixed sampler cases of ZAP winery-members’ wines.
New to this event this year was a silent auction which ran all day at the rear of the Festival Pavilion. About 100 lots----a mix of entertainment packages and collections of wine----ranged in estimated value from under $100 to $2,000.---and raised approximately $30,000.
FLIGHTS (A Regional Showcase of California Zinfandels) was the first event of this year’s Festival. More than 155 people attended this afternoon of panel discussions and tastings of 2001 vintage Zinfandels at COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food & The Arts (in Napa) on January 21. Moderators guided the discussions for four different panels with 28 winemakers; the goal was an extremely detailed examination of Zinfandel through many facets. ‘Why do people care about Zinfandel so much?” asks Debbie Zachareas, co-owner of Bacar Restaurant and Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, who moderated the Consumer panel. “Probably because it is so loveable. It’s one of those wines you can drink when it’s really young. Zin has so much bright juicy forward fruit which makes it so exciting. An analogy might be that Cabernet is the stern father and Zinfandel the wild child, and it’s much more fun to play with the wild child than the stern father,” she said. The first flight was Terroir/Grape Growing (old vine, new vine, trellis vs. head pruning, clonal selections, soils, and regions), moderated by Joel Peterson, Ravenswood, with David Pearson (Rancho Arroyo Grande), Fred Nickel (Brutocao), Patrick Llerena (Chateau Felice), Tim Meinken (Sapphire Hill Vyds), Will Bucklin (Bucklin), Barbara Spelletich (Spelletich Cellars), Ken Deaver (Deaver Vineyards). The next flight was Winemaking (maturity, fermentation, blending, cooperage, filtration, harvest decisions, alcohol) moderated by Paul Draper, Ridge, with Chris Corley (Monticello Vineyards), Kimberlee Nicholls (Markham Vineyards), Matt Cline (Trinitas Cellars), Rick Sayre (Rodney Strong Vineyards), Mike Dashe (Dashe Cellars), Jeff Meyers (Montevina), Victor Manuel Torres-Alegres (Chateau Camou). The next flight was Consumer (styles, regions, alcohol, settings, service, aging), moderated by Debbie Zachareas, with Donn Reisen (Ridge Vineyards), Joel Butler (Beaulieu Vineyard), Ivo Jeramaz (Grgich Hills Cellar), Britt Moore (Murphy – Goode Winery), Charlie Meeker (Meeker Vineyard), Mark Fedorchak (Van Ruiten Family), Doug Beckett (Peachy Canyon Winery). The fourth flight was Kitchen: Putting it all together at the table (Zinfandel’s versatility with food, regional characteristics and styles), moderated by Nancy Oakes of Boulevard Restaurant with Ryan Swarthout (Justin Vineyards), Lou Foppiano (Foppiano Vineyards), Nancy Walker (Fetzer Vineyards), Marketta Fourmeaux (Chateau Potelle), Quincy Selback (Niebaum-Coppola), Brad Clarke (Maison Basque Winery), David Noyes (Kunde Estate Winery).
GOOD EATS & ZINFANDEL welcomed 800 people to a new venue this year at Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park on January 22. For the eighth year, 36 Zinfandel producers paired with 36 restaurants, offering attendees an enormous array of foods to try with Zinfandel. Dishes included Caribbean Spiced Duck Breast Crostini, Lamb Lentil Stew, Mussels with Bacon & Zinfandel Reduction, Crimini Mushroom Short Rib Ragout, Jambalaya and Cocktail Tamales with Pork in Red Mole. One restaurant grilled lamb at their table; many attendees commented on the magic created with the Asian-style foods. Participating wineries/restaurants were Alexander Valley Vineyards/AVV Restaurant Catering Group, Ballentine Vineyards/Destino Restaurant, Beaulieu Vineyard/Pilar’s, Bella Vineyards/Mirapoix, Brutocao Cellars/PJ’s Oyster Bed, Carol Shelton Wines/Willie’s Wine Bar, Chateau Felice/Chez Felice, Clos du Lac/Ione Hotel, Cosentino Winery/Shanghai 1930, Crystal Basin Cellars/Pearl’s Café, D-Cubed Cellars/Fume Bistro, Dry Creek Vineyards/Mixx, Dunnewood Vineyards/Duck Club, Eric Ross Winery/Olive & Vine, Hendry/Lark Creek Inn, Karly Wines/ZARE, Koves-Newlan Vineyards/Compadre’s Bar & Grill, Lake Sonoma Winery/Korbel Catering, Lamborn Family Wine Company/Postino, Lolonis Winery/Walnut Creek Yacht Club, Montevina Winery/Piatti-Santa Rosa, Moss Creek Winery, Ottimino/Barn Diva, Rancho Zabaco Winery/Zin Restaurant, Ridge Vineyards/BBQ Boys, Robert Rue Vineyard/Village Inn & Restaurant, Rosenblum Cellars/Bucci’s, Sharp Cellars/Sonoma Sausage Factory, Sobon Estate/PF Changs, St. Amant Winery/Tresetti’s World Café, Storybook Mountain Vineyards/Dean & DeLuca, Sunset Cellars/Fusilli, The Terraces/Brenda Bosetti Fine Foods, THEA Winery/Indigo, Tin Barn Vineyards/Zu-Zu, Zoom Vineyards/North Main BBQ.
ELEGANT EVENING WITH THE WINEMAKERS offered yet a different format---a walk-around tasting of Zinfandels preceding an elegant dinner at the Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco on January 23. “This year we dressed Zinfandel up and took it to the Mark Hopkins,” said Donn Reisen, President of Ridge Vineyards and President of ZAP’s Board of Directors. “Not only was the Mark Hopkins extremely generous in working with us, their staff is second-to-none in their enthusiasm and professionalism,” he added. One new aspect of this event this year was the participation of guest chef Mark Dommen, augmented by the Mark Hopkins’ Executive Chef Sean Olmstead, and the creation of a menu entirely oriented towards Zinfandel. Another new aspect was online bidding during the auction after the dinner (all proceeds go to support the Heritage Vineyard). In its seventh year, the event encompassed 300 attendees and auctioneer Dave Reynolds coaxed approximately $65,000 from the crowd, following an introduction from Reisen which explained that the Heritage Vineyard’s operating budget may depend entirely on ZAP’s support this year, given California’s budgetary crisis. As guests arrived, they were presented with a glass of the 2002 Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel (made by Ehren Jordan of Turley Wine Cellars). The top lots were a trip to Tuscany (for $8,000) and a four-way tie between trips to Zinfandel regions and “Really Big Zin,” a 27-liter bottle (for which there is no name), a blend of the signature wines of Ridge, Rosenblum and Ravenswood (from the Monte Rosso, Geyserville, Rockpile vineyards), which came with its own hand truck.
Guest Chef Mark Dommen’s first course was Zinfandel and Duck Risotto with wild mushrooms. Chef Sean Olmstead created the Pistachio-Crusted Rack of Lamb served with a Foie Gras- Zinfandel Reduction with Goat Cheese- Mashed Potatoes and Baby Vegetables and the dessert, the “Mark Hopkins Sampler Plate”---Pate Sucre Tart with Chocolate Ganache, White Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry with Dark Chocolate Drizzle, Peanut Butter Mousse Square, Espresso Cheesecake and Chocolate Decadence Cake.
Participating wineries were Acorn Winery/Alegria Vineyards, Amphora Winery, Bogle Winery, Charter Oak Winery, Chateau Potelle Winery, Downing Family Vineyards, Gabrielli Winery & Vineyards, Gallo of Sonoma, Gustavo Thrace, Hunt Cellars, Joullian Vineyards, Limerick Lane Cellars, Norman Vineyards, Peachy Canyon Winery, Quivira Estate Vineyards & Winery, Ravenswood, Ridge Vineyards, Robert Biale Vineyards, Robert Mondavi Private Selection, Rosenblum Cellars, Saddleback Cellars, Sapphire Hill Vineyards & Winery, Sebastiani Vineyards, Spelletich Cellars, Starry Night Winery, Steele Wines, Trentadue Winery, Tres Sabores, Trinitas Cellars.
2005: The 14th Annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Festival will take place January 19-22, 2005.
AMAZIN’ RACE is a new program this year, where contestants decipher clues which lead them to Zinfandel winery tasting rooms across the state in an effort to be the first to visit all the wineries and win prizes. Entry blanks were sold at the ZAP Festival Tasting and are also available at www.zinfandel.org.
ON THE ROAD: Over 50 ZAP winery members will travel to New York City (April 22), Kansas City (April 26), St. Louis (April 27), Denver (April 28) and Houston (April 29) this spring to meet the trade and public and conduct tastings. Details available at www.zinfandel.org.
2004 ZINFANDEL DAYS are celebrations of Zinfandel based at producer-member wineries across the state. More details available at www.zinfandel.org.
SIERRA FOOTHILLS Zinfandel wineries have organized a Sierra Foothills Flights tasting and seminar on July 17. More info at www.zinfandel.org.
ZINFANDEL RECIPES created by chef Mark Dommen (Spiced Zinfandel & Fig Compote and Zinfandel Chocolate Truffles) are now available at the website, www.zinfandel.org.
Visit www.zinfandel.org to join ZAP, research Zinfandel and more! The Association of Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) is a non- profit, educational 501(c)(3) organization. ZAP is dedicated to advancing public knowledge of and appreciation for American Zinfandel and its unique place in our culture and history. Winegrowers, winemakers and wine enthusiasts combine to form the membership. The common focus is the preservation and recognition of Zinfandel as America’s heritage wine. ZAP’s membership includes over 320 winery-members, 6,000 advocate-members and 50 associate members.
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THE HERITAGE VINEYARD: The Zinfandel Heritage vineyard, at UC Davis’ Viticultural Research Station in Oakville (Napa Valley), is an unusual and unprecedented collection of rare Zinfandel vine cuttings from all over California. Established in 1989 by a research team consisting of UC Davis' Prof. James Wolpert (Chair, Viticulture & Enology Department), UC Extension Viticulturist Emeritus Armand Kasimatis and UC Extension Farm Advisors Ed Weber (Napa County) and Rhonda Smith (Sonoma County), the one-acre vineyard includes a total of 90 selections from 14 counties in California. The goal of the Heritage Vineyard, according to Jim Wolpert, is to “help discover answers to some of the mysteries surrounding Zinfandel and to preserve the special qualities of the old vines for future generations.” Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) has donated a total of approximately $175,000 to the Heritage Vineyard since 1998, possibly the largest grant coming from an independent organization focused on one specific wine-grape varietal.
Not only is the Vineyard of tremendous historical and viticultural interest, it also has a special significance for the wine and grape growing industry because it represents a resource for future plantings of Zinfandel with a broad range of selections. The selections were taken from vineyards at least 60 years old, and many were much older. The cuttings were specifically chosen by the team because the mother vine was known to produce unique, high-quality wines. It is not clear whether the grapes’ uniqueness is due to the particular clone of Zinfandel or the site, climate, soil and cultural practices. These differences will become clearer now that the vines have been collected in one site and will be farmed under a uniform set of practices. "By following variables such as cluster weight, berry size and cluster tightness," Wolpert says, "we can determine which might be genetic and which are due to other factors."
The Vineyard has been planted and designed keeping in mind that it is both a repository of plant material and a collection of historic material. The vineyard is planted at 6 ft x 8 foot (row x vine) spacing in gravelly Bale loam soil. St. George was used as the rootstock and the vines are head-trained and spur-pruned in the "goblet" shape as they would have been in the nineteenth century. These practices are not typical today, since they insure a low yield (of high quality). The Heritage Vineyard requires authenticity: "we need to replicate the conditions which have given Zinfandel its reputation," Wolpert explains. "Our use of St. George as the rootstock, nearly square spacing and head-trained spur-pruned vines supported only by stakes is a design much as you would have seen 100 years ago.”
Zinfandel Advocates & Producers oversees the production of wine from this unusual vineyard: "The Heritage Vineyard brings us all together as scientists, historians, farmers and artists," says Rebecca Robinson.
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