11th ANNUAL ZAP FESTIVAL DRAWS 10,270
January 30, 2002---Here are highlights and statistics from the 11th Annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Festival, January 23-26, 2002. Total number of attendees over the four days of events: 10,270. License plates spotted over the course of the four days included CM4ZIN, ZINMKR, TOP ZIN, ZIN4EVR, ZINLADY and ZIN NUT. "The Festival was a great success," explained Ravenswood Winery winemaker Joel Peterson, "from the quiet contemplative educational event at COPIA to the raucous, at times outlandish Blue Jeans to Black Tie evening, people had a zinfully good time."
The Tasting, on January 26, filled both the Herbst and Festival Pavilions at San Francisco's Fort Mason Center with 286 wineries each pouring at least two wines. Fifty-four wineries "new" to ZAP poured at the Tasting. More than 8,000 tasters attended (a slight decrease from 9,200 in 2001 and 6,000 in 2000)---including sommeliers, retailers, distributors and consumers. "The overall attendance was about the same as last year which is remarkable in light of travel issues and the wet weather," explained Rebecca Robinson, ZAP Executive Director. "The interest in this event seems to be insatiable."
"The enthusiasm is telling us that the huge grass roots interest in the renegade Zinfandel is starting to filter up and is to be taken more seriously by the wine establishment," said Dave Pramuk, partner and marketing director of Napa's Robert Biale Vineyards. "California Zinfandel has become one of the hottest segments of the red wine market and has moved from second-class to world-class," he added. To keep the event accessible to all, ZAP sets aside a group of tickets to be sold at the door on the day of the event.
This year 450 people volunteered to assist with the four different events. "I was impressed with the dedication of all of the volunteers," commented Volunteer Director Kathe Morris.
In 1992, 22 wineries poured their Zinfandels at the first Zinfandel Advocates & Producers' Tasting; in 1993, 30; in 1994, 50; in 1995, 72; in 1996, 94; in 1997, 114; in 1998, 151; in 1999, 181; in 2000, 218; in 2001, 255. People came to the Festival from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa, Canada, Chile and all over the U.S.
In other ZAP news: The 1999 Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel is being poured on January 29 (2002) at The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium General Session to all 500 attendees in Sacramento. On June 15 in Rohnert Park ZAP sponsors the first 'Zinposium' 2002: The Conference on American Zinfandel, a series of panel discussions and tastings with a luncheon designed by Michael Chiarello.
Later this year ZAP will travel to Portland, Seattle and Southern California. In 2001 ZAP traveled to Austin, Scottsdale and Las Vegas and also traveled to Europe for the first time, visiting London, Amsterdam and Dusseldorf.
Flights of Fancy: A Regional Showcase of 1999 California Zinfandels was the kick-off this year, a new event for the Festival. It took place on January 23 at COPIA: The American Center for Wine, Food & the Arts in Napa, and drew a capacity crowd of 170 people. COPIA Director Peggy Loar welcomed the attendees, who were able to ask questions of the winemaker panelists throughout the afternoon. San Francisco's ABC-7/KGO News reporter Spencer Christian served as moderator. From tales of finding sharks' teeth in Paso Robles vineyards to Mendocino vineyards with views of the ocean, tasters came away with an extremely detailed look at the vast scope of Zinfandel-iana. Wines were chosen by a random drawing. Wineries whose Zinfandels were poured were: from Sonoma---Eric Ross Winery, Everett Ridge Vineyards & Winery, Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Hartford Family Wines, Kenwood Vineyards, Ravenswood; from the Sierra foothills---Amador Foothill Winery, Folie a Deux Winery, Madrona Vineyards, Montevina Winery, Renaissance Vineyards & Winery, Sobon Estate; from Lake and Mendocino Counties---Edmeades, Gabrielli Winery & Vineyards, Mariah Vineyards, Pacific Star Winery, Titus Vineyards, Windsor Vineyards; from Napa---Dickerson Vineyard, Gustavo Thrace, Hendry, Lamborn Family Wine Co., Robert Mondavi Winery, Storybook Mountain Vineyards; from the Central Coast and Southern California---Castoro Cellars, Lions Peak Vineyards, Peachy Canyon Winery, Ridge Vineyards, Rosenblum Cellars, Saucelito Canyon Vineyard; from the Bay Area and the Central Valley---Robert Biale Vineyards, Clayton Vineyards, Cline Cellars, Fenestra Winery, Phillips Vineyards, Turley Wine Cellars.
For the seventh year, Good Eats and Zinfandel paired 36 Zinfandels and 36 restaurants' cuisine at Rosenblum Cellars in Alameda, attracting 900 Zinfandel enthusiasts. Participating were Acorn Winery (Applewood Inn), Amphora Winery (Mixx Restaurant), Ballentine Vineyards (Left Bank), Beaulieu Vineyard (Cobalt Tavern), Canard Vineyard (Barbara Llewellyn Catering), Chase Family Cellars (The Wild Hare), Clayton Vineyard (Postino), Dashe Cellars (Oaktown Café), Edmeades (Solano Grill), Eric Ross Winery (Kingfish), Fanucchi Vineyards (Parkway Theatre), Fenestra Winery (Gimanelli's), Hart's Desire (De Schmire), Hendry (One Market), JC Cellars (The Meeting House Restaurant), Karly Wines (Flea Street Café), Kendall-Jackson (Duck Club), Koves-Newlan Vineyards (Compadres Bar & Grill), La Crema (Café Grissini), Madrona Vineyards (Chutney's Restaurant), Monticello Vineyards (Pairs), Moss Creek Winery (Restaurant 301 at Carter House), Pacific Star Winery (The Restaurant at Stevenswood), Rancho Zabaco (Izzy's Steaks & Chops), Rosenblum Cellars (Bucci's), Saddleback Cellars (Zinsvalley Restaurant), Savannah-Chanelle Vineyards (Gordon's House of Fine Eats), Carol Shelton Wines (Zin Restaurant), Sierra Vista Winery (Gold Coast), Sobon Estate (PF Chang's China Bistro), St. George Spirits (Downtown), Starry Night Winery (Il Davide), Storrs Winery (Gabriella), Storybook Mountain Vineyards (Dean & DeLuca) and Zoom (North Main BBQ).
In its fifth year, ZAP's An Evening with the Winemakers: Blue Jeans to Black Tie on January 26 raised approximately $97,000 and attracted 500 eager Zin fans, who came dressed in everything from a Scottish kilt to sequined gowns to blue jeans and cowboy boots. The funds raised support the Heritage Projects. As guests arrived, they were presented with a glass of the 2000 Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel (made by Rod Berglund of Joseph Swan). This was the only opportunity to taste this wine during the 2002 Festival. Auctioneer Dave Reynolds gaveled through 37 live lots. There were also 87 silent auction lots. The auction offered a range of single bottles, collections of wine and lifestyle events such as special meals or trips with vintners. "I was awed by the incredible enthusiasm exuding from participants and the volunteer hosts," commented Donn Reisen, President of Ridge Vineyards. The top three lots were: 1) a trip bringing American Zinfandels to Italy ($9,500) 2) "America's Lot," a collection of Zinfandels to be donated to 9/11 relief ($6,500) and 3) a 46-bottle SubZero unit "Zinful Collection" ($4,200). The Heritage Projects are programs devoted to Zinfandel research and education, including the Heritage Vineyard, run in conjunction with UC Davis. "This collection of 85 pre-Prohibition Zinfandel selections from all over California may prove to be the most significant ZAP contribution to the future of Zinfandel," explained Grady Wann, ZAP Board President and Winemaker, Quivira Vineyards.
ZAP MARKETPLACE AT TASTING
The ZAP Blend: all ZAP producer members contribute grapes which are blended together to create this wine. The 1999 vintage, made by Grady Wann of Quivira, sold for $18.00 a bottle. "The idea behind the ZAP blend is to create an assemblage of wines from various regions," Rebecca Robinson explained. This wine is sold only at the Tasting.
ZAP Sampler cases: also for sale at the Tasting were 12-bottle cases of mixed Zinfandels ($150.00 each); each case was unique, representing a different combination from areas such as Mendocino, Temecula, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Lodi, Napa and the Sierra foothills. "We wanted to showcase the diversity of Zinfandel and the stylistic variations between regions and producers," Robinson says.
The Heritage Vineyard wine: the third release of the Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel (1999 vintage), made by Matt Cline (Cline Cellars) was on sale for $20.00 a (750 ml) bottle.
Photographs available on request.
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Zinfandel Advocates & Producers
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