In 1997, Zinfandel Advocates and Producers partnered with the UC Davis department of enology to initiate the Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard Project. This project had four key goals:
1) Preservation of historical Zinfandel vines
2) Identification of different clonal selections of Zinfandel
3) Propagation of a variety of “clean” Zinfandel selections and
4) Experimentation of how the different selections grew in different regions.
Preservation- A team from UC Davis visited over 100 Zinfandel vineyards across California in 1995 that were at least 60 years old to ensure the preservation of old vines and potentially unique selections of Zinfandel. These journeys were known as the “Zinfandel Safaris”. They chose 90 selections from 50 different historical vineyards and planted cuttings from those vines in the UC Davis research vineyard in Oakville, California.
Identification- The various selections were tested by Foundation Plant Services (FPS) at UC Davis for differentiation and for viruses. Twenty-two unique Zinfandel selections that proved virus-free were identified and cuttings were replicated and planted into a larger vineyard at the Oakville research facility.
Propagation- Nineteen different Zinfandel selections (3 selections were eliminated) were sent to Foundation Plant Services (FPS) at UC Davis for a “cleaning” process that ensures the resulting vines are completely disease free and certified by the California Department of Food and Agriculture for release to nurseries. This was an important part of the Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard Project, as winemakers and growers who wanted to plant high-quality Zinfandel did not have a good source of various disease-free Zinfandel vines prior to this project.
Experimentation- The newest phase of the Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard Project is to monitor how the different Zinfandel selections grew in different regions. The 19 different Zinfandel selections are now planted in test vineyards in Dry Creek (Sonoma County), Sonoma Valley, and in Paso Robles. The results of this research should help growers select the most suitable selections for various climates.
An additional aspect of the Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard Project was to conduct DNA analysis of Zinfandel in an effort to find the origins of the grape. Dr. Carole Meredith at UC Davis worked with the help of ZAP to determine that Zinfandel was genetically identical to an obscure Croatian grape known as “Crljenak Kaštelanski”.
Each year, the ZAP board of directors chooses a different well-known Zinfandel winemaker to produce a wine from the grapes harvested from the Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard. Among the winemakers chosen to produce the Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel are Joel Peterson (Ravenswood Winery), Chris Leamy (Terra d’Oro Winery), Scott Harvey (Scott Harvey Wines), Diane Wilson (Wilson Family Winery), Ted Seghesio (Seghesio Winery), Tom Mackey (St. Francis Winery), Dr. Jerry Seps (Storybook Mountain Vineyards), Bill Knuttel (Dry Creek Vineyard), Kent Rosenblum (Rosenblum Cellars), Paul Draper (Ridge Vineyards), Ehren Jordan (Turley Wine Cellars), Rod Berglund (Joseph Swan Vineyards), Matt Cline (Cline Cellars), Robert Biale (Robert Biale Vineyards), John Olney (Ridge Vineyards), and Nils Venge (Saddleback Cellars).
In 1992 a group of 22 Zinfandel winemakers formed the new organization called Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) and held a tasting at the Mandarin Hotel in San Francisco. The wineries that participated in this inaugural tasting were Amador Foothill, Burgess Cellars, Chestnut Hill, Cline Cellars, Deer Park, Fetzer, Green & Red, Grgich Hills, Karly, Mark West, Meeker, Montevina, Preston, Ravenswood, Ridge Vineyards, Rosenblum Cellars, Santino, Sausal, Shenandoah, Storybook Mountain Vineyards, Sutter Home and Whaler.
The public tasting in San Francisco became an annual event, soon moving to Fort Mason and became known as ZAP’s Zinfandel Festival. With attendees traveling to this event from all over the country, ZAP expanded the Zinfandel Festival into several days of seminars and events with the main tasting attracting over 10,000 wine consumers. The additional events constituting the Zinfandel Festival included a Winemaker Dinner and Auction, a day of comparative tasting seminars called "Flights", and an evening pairing event matching dishes from dozens of fine restaurants with dozens of Zinfandels.
As the Zinfandel Festival expanded, ZAP utilized both buildings at Fort Mason in St. Francisco but in 2011, Fort Mason no longer was able to accommodate the Zinfandel Festival and it was moved to the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco. In 2014, the concept and name of the festival was changed to Zinfandel Experience and it was held at the Presidio in San Francisco.
ZAP Heritage Club members are eligible to receive three bottles of Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel. Ambassador and Imperial members also receive a custom etched bottle.
In the past, ZAP mailed a redeemable wine certificate after joining or renewing the annual membership. ZAP is no longer using certificates. Instead, Heritage Club+ members simply let ZAP know their wine delivery preference.
Pickup and Delivery Options
Free Pick Up
If you would like to pick up your wine at either Zinfandel Experience or Simply Summer Celebration, please notify us via email or phone and we will have it ready for you at the event.
If you would prefer to have the wine shipped to you at your expense, please contact ZAP by the dates listed above. Please have shipping address payment information available. A signature is required for wine deliveries.
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