Zinfandel: A History of a Grape and Its Wine

By Charles L. Sullivan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
THE MYSTERY OF ORIGINS SOLVED—PROBABLY

IN THE INTRODUCTION TO THIS BOOK I DISCUSSED ZINFANDEL'S mysteries, and subsequent chapters told the story of the vine's transport from Austria to the New World (although there are still a few “smoking guns” I should like to discover). The Gold Rush voyage from New England to Northern California is fairly well settled, and Zinfandel's discovery as an excellent wine grape, its growth in popularity, and its subsequent ups and downs, including its recent and perhaps most brilliant comeback, are now in the chronicles of grape history. But what of the vine's European origins? Today most of the answer to that question is easily told. But the process by which we have come to know that answer is one of the most complex and exciting in viticultural history.

This discovery and its process have involved some practicale conomicquestions. Lively controversy has swirled. Unsubstantiated and inaccurate claims have been put forward. Governments and governmental agencies have become embroiled in the battle. We might even argue that there was something of an international incident, highlighted by a rather good-natured journalistic outpouring of confused alarms. Not long ago I wrote that we might call this the “Second Zinfandel War. ” (The first took place in the press in the

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