Sonoma California Wine Tours For Zinfandel Lovers

By: Jim Hunter

When it comes to Zinfandel, Americans are just plain crazy about both the red and white versions, making it the third most crushed grape varietal in the U.S., right behind Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. When it comes to growing and bottling zins, California is king, so whether you love a nice refreshing glass of slightly sweet White Zinfandel on a hot summer day, or you prefer the intensely fruity, spicy red versions there's something for everyone in California. With good weather all year long, anytime of the year is a good time to tour some of the best places in the world for growing this American favorite.

Originally an obscure Croatian grape varietal, Zinfandel came to America early in the 19th century. It's grown in many of California's grape growing regions from the Cucamonga Valley in the far south to the northern border with Oregon. From any major California city, you can be enjoying a Zinfandel experience in wine country in no time.

Although the Zinfandel grape has been around for a long time, White Zinfandel didn't come into existence until the 1970s. Sutter Home Family Vineyard in Napa Valley is widely credited with creating what became known as "blush wine" when they made a rosé of Zinfandel but stopped fermentation a bit early to ensure it had a touch of residual sugar. Today, inexpensive white zin far outsells its pricier red counterparts and tends to be produced by large wineries like Beringer and Sutter Home.

When it comes to red zins, there are a wide range of styles, quality and price. They tend to have high alcohol content and when very ripe, make good desert wines with a flavor profile somewhat like Port. Three of the top California regions for red zins are Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Sonoma County and Paso Robles.

Amador County is the ideal spot to spend a few days checking out California Gold Rush country and sipping hearty red zins, while still only an hour away from the city of Sacramento. Tasting rooms here are mostly small family businesses where you can often talk to the winemaker, pet the family dog and enjoy a picnic lunch. And yes, you can still pan for gold and see traces of the rustic Wild West atmosphere that inspired writers like Mark Twain.

In Sonoma County there are many good micro-climates for Zinfandel including the Dry Creek Valley and Rockpile areas. Make the town of Healdsburg your starting point for a driving tour of numerous outstanding zin producers. If fine-dining is on your agenda this is also the perfect destination to experience some of northern California's best cuisine.

If your California vacation plans take you to the Central Coast region, be sure to stop in Paso Robles to taste Zinfandels and Zinfandel-based red blends that will knock your socks off. Although wine has been made in the area for a long time, the winemaking focus began to shift away from inexpensive wines to high-quality boutique wines in the 1980's and today some of the most exciting wines in California are made in Paso Robles.

When you head for sunny California, a good Zinfandel wine tasting tour is never very far away. Sample a few on your next visit and you'll know why the American love affair with Zinfandel is likely to remain a lasting one.

About the Author:

Learn about California wine tours from Jim Hunter, the head wine beat writer for WorldwideWineTours. The free website is an asset for anyone evaluating

Wine Related Articles:

California Pinot Noir Comes of Age; Bad News/ Good News

Public interest in ...

By: Alan Boehmer

Torrontés: the Next Malbec

Since 2004 no other country has seen the meteoric rise in volume, value and market share figures that Argentina has in the import segment of fine wine to the U.S. Over the last two years, while all other segments of imported ...

By: Dan Karlin

Sparkling Wine Outperforms Champagne During Downturn

Sparkling wine may suffer from the the view held by many that Champagne is seen as the only drink to choose for true celebration, but the findings of a new IWSR/just-drinks report suggest the playing-field evens up somewhat w...

By: Aroq Limited

Updated Wine Related News:

Sour grapes? Australia files WTO complaint against Canadian wine sales measures

In this April 1, 2014 file photo, a woman carries an LCBO shopping bag filled with alcohol in Toronto, Ont. Ernest Doroszuk / Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network Ontario red wines are placed prominently ...

Taste of Wine: Orfila is San Diego's most acclaimed wineryJanuary 16, 2018

Mindy Hewitson and Jordan Mungin presented Ridge wines with owner Victor Magalhaes of Vittorio's in Carmel Valley. Photo by Frank Mangio t was early 2006 and I was just beginning to get the Tas...

A wine shopper's miscellany for winter drinking

There are times of the year when we are looking for specific wines - a ros for Valentine's Day , say; a robust zinfandel for summer grilling ; a sparkling wine for the winter holidays - but som...

Rustic Southern Italian wine and food pairings

Southern Italy's most famous gastronomic export may be pizza but there is so much more to the culinary and winemaking history of this part of the country. Despite some misconceptions, Southern ...

Wineaux: Finding holiday magic in trees and bottles

Grandkid Seda, 17, along with her Portland-dwelling family, didn't make it to our big family Christmas celebration this year with its attendant carol singing and hours of tamale-making. She...

Website Friends: