2,500 fans attend ZAP tastings in 5 cities
Rough & Ready CA June 2004--- Zinfandel Advocates & Producers traveled to New York City (April 22 at 200 Fifth Club), Kansas City, Missouri (April 26 at Union Station), St. Louis, Missouri (April 27 at The Millennium Hotel), Denver (April 28 at The Marriott City Center Hotel) and Houston (April 29 at The InterContinental Hotel) in its biggest market visit ever, welcoming approximately 2,500 people at ten events. In each city there was a trade tasting in the afternoon and a public tasting in the evening. "This is an incredibly diverse and dedicated group of Zinfandel producers, from some of the oldest and largest to the relatively new and smallest," explains Donn Reisen, President of ZAP and Ridge Vineyards. "Knowing that our many members and Zinfandel fans from across the country are not able to attend our annual Zinfandel Festival which brings over 10,000 enthusiasts to San Francisco each January, ten years ago, ZAP began to hit the road to recreate the phenomenon," Reisen adds.
"Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine meeting as many potential customers as I met at these tastings," said Doug Beckett of Peachy Canyon Winery.
The Zin in the City Tour was a showcase for Zinfandel-America's 'Heritage wine,' developed and perfected in California in the 1800s. Zinfandel has a long storied past and a bright future. "These tastings offered the chance for wine lovers of all types to discover an outstanding range of styles and flavors of Zinfandels from the many growing regions in California. Not only that, they could become one with Zin by joining ZAP," notes Rebecca Robinson, Executive Director of ZAP. "If they decide to join, ZAP members receive discounts on tickets, t-shirts and other benefits," she explains.
"The ZAP tastings are some of the most satisfying tastings I've ever attended. We're talking passion and dedication here," Reisen continues. "Many of our 'advocate' members have been committed to Zinfandel for a long, long time. It is such a pleasure to go to a tasting and have people say they have various vintages of older wines in their cellar and their primary interest in coming to the tastings is to see what the latest vintage has to offer. It is such a pleasure to present our best efforts to those who best appreciate them," he adds.
"People in each city were very enthusiastic and we heard comments like 'this is the best tasting that I've been to' and 'please come back next year,'" said Amy Hanshaw, ZAP's event coordinator.
"The idea of the tour in general was to reach the heartland with a California Zinfandel message. People embraced that message; they were all wine-knowledgeable crowds who were excited to be able to taste that many Zinfandels in the same room. The compactness of the tour was also a lot of fun, to be able to visit three different areas of the country in rapid succession. I also loved the range of questions I was asked about Zinfandel's origins to its different styles to trends in the future," adds Grady Wann, Quivira Vineyards.
"The NYC tasting was New York showing its best, a great kick-off for the tour," said Joel Peterson of Ravenswood Winery. "Houston was a great place to end the tour," he added: "from long-time Zin supporters to novices, people's eyes bugged out at how many Zinfandels were in the same room."
"I'm ready to adopt Kansas City," said Nancy Greenough of Saucelito Canyon Winery. "I felt like we could take those who attended in Kansas City and drop them down at our annual Festival in Ft. Mason, because there in Kansas City there really was that momentum and excitement that the Festival in San Francisco generates," she added.
"In St. Louis people were so very appreciative and happy that we were there," explained Andre Larouche of Perry Creek Vineyard. "People kept thanking us for coming," he said.
The 14th Annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Festival will take place January 26-29, 2005. More info at www.zinfandel.org. In 2004 more than 10,000 people attended the four Festival events, helping raise $95,000 for research which includes The Heritage Vineyard into Zinfandel's origins. One of the Festival's highlights is the Tasting, where last year more than 8,000 people traveled "miles" through the Festival and Herbst Pavilions at Fort Mason in San Francisco to taste new releases (primarily 2001 vintage) and 2002 barrel samples, poured by 275 Zinfandel wineries, totaling more than 550 different Zinfandels. This event has grown hugely from its first Tasting in 1992 with 22 wineries pouring their Zinfandels.
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 (Zinfandel BBQ Sauce, Spiced Zinfandel & Fig Compote and Zinfandel Chocolate Truffles) are available at 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 300 winery-members, 6,000 advocate-members and 50 associate members. ZAP supports research and education about and into Zinfandel, including the Heritage Vineyard and the evaluation of Sierra Nevada Zinfandel selections (under the direction of UC Cooperative Extension).
Join ZAP now either online at www.zinfandel.org or by contacting P.O.B. 1487, Rough & Ready, CA 95975, telephone 530/274-4900.
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.
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Zinfandel Advocates & Producers
PO Box 1487
Rough & Ready, CA 95975