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National Zinfandel Day in November

While the red varietal is popular at any time throughout the year, November 17 has been officially designated National Zinfandel Day. With bold, fruit-forward flavors and smoky, exotic spice notes, Zinfandel reds are great for sipping or for a particular wine and food pairings to complement a range of delicious food options.

While Zinfandel grapes are grown worldwide, 70% of global production originates in the United States.

Zinfandel’s Unique Flavors

Zinfandel’s rich boldness featuring clearly identifiable fruit flavors makes it a clear candidate for a food and wine pairing for richer entrees. These grapes, produced in various areas in North America and other countries, tend to be less consistent than other varieties, even varying in color from black to red depending on the vineyard.

And, of course, single vineyard wines will differ not only from vineyard to vineyard, but winemakers use a variety of strategies for converting these remarkable grapes.

The Grape Grind experts note that Zinfandel wines may exhibit notes of “black cherry, plum, blueberry, smoke, pepper, floral, and coconut …and sometimes a peach yogurt aroma, depending upon where the wine is from, and how it is made.”

Zinfandel grapes are also integrated into certain blends, adding a touch of fruitiness or boldness depending on the targeted flavor of the mix.

Structure of a Well-Made Zinfandel

With the help of world-class winemakers like Wheeler Farms, Zinfandel grapes create a full-bodied red wine with medium, balanced acidity. The tannin influence generally falls into the medium range creating a more moderate mouth-drying effect than other more tannin-heavy red wines.

Alcohol levels in Zinfandel wines tend to be higher on average, ranging from 13.5% ABV to 16% ABV in bolder and spicier versions.

Best Food Pairings

As noted, Zinfandel is a bold and flavorful wine suited for wine and food pairing with stronger-flavored cheese like chaddar and bacon-based or sausage dishes. Bolder versions pair perfectly with barbequed beef or pork, while milder Zins complement barbequed chicken nicely.

What is “White” Zinfandel?

The question invariably arises: If Zinfandel is a red grape variety, what is “White” Zinfandel?

Those of us who were around during the latter years of the 1900s may recall that White Zinfandel was a trendy, highly advertised, very sweet wine that ultimately reached “craze” status.

Produced from red or black grapes, Napa Valley’s Sutter Home Winery first popularized White Zinfandel in 1975. The wine is not a white varietal but is produced similarly to many rosé wines.

Today’s White Zinfandels are decidedly different from those earlier versions, with more sophisticated flavors and subdued sweetness.

Visit Historic Wheeler Farms in St. Helena

Wheeler Farms, a premier winery in the heart of Napa Valley, produces a wide range of single vineyard wines that honor the vineyard’s founding winemaker, J.H. Wheeler, and his family.

Guests can reserve their future visit to the Winery and vineyards by completing the Wheeler Farms Online Tasting Reservation Request or by phone or email to:

Stephanie Farmer

Director of Membership & Customer Relations



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