Discovering the Origin of Zinfandel


February 4, 2019

SevenFiftyDaily delves into the details of the lengthy journey to discover zinfandel’s birthplace, including Ridge’s connection with the extensive research:

For decades, the origin of Zinfandel, the black-skinned grape that produces full-bodied, jammy red wines and several styles of rosé, was a mystery. Now painstaking work by wine researchers in Croatia and the United States have culminated in a landmark cuvée, to be released later this year, from grapes grown at Ridge Vineyards’ Lytton Springs property in Sonoma, California. For the past five years, Ridge has successfully grown an acre of Crljenak Kaštelanski, and an acre each of two other Pribidrag cuttings (“Pribidrag” is local variant name.). These three clones, discovered in Croatia’s Dalmatia region, were the key to pinpointing Zinfandel’s ancestral home.

“These [grapes] are what we lovingly call Croatian Zinfandel,” says David Gates Jr., gesturing toward rows of vines at Ridge’s hallowed Monte Bello estate in Santa Cruz, where the company has planted more Crljenak Kaštelanski and Pribidrag. Gates is Ridge’s senior vice president of vineyard operations, and he took a keen interest in the Zinquest saga, as he calls it. It’s an exciting time for Ridge: The Croatian Zinfandel cuvée from Lytton Springs, a blend all three clones, will mark the first time wine from these ancient grapes has been made in the U.S.

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Visit our blog for more in-depth information on Croatian plantings at both Monte Bello at Lytton Springs:

Extending Zinfandel’s California Legacy
A Groundbreaking Day at Ridge


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