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The mystery of Zinfandel

Updated: Jan 31

#Zinfandel is the grape that brought a lot of confusion to the world of wine. While Zinfandel’s popularity grew during its 19th century peak years in Californian vineyards, no one questioned where the grape originated from. The grape was first used to add deep red color to already popular varietals like Chianti and Burgundy, but eventually, the producers started using it as a single-wine grape. Zinfandel’s features had shown that the grape was good enough to become one of the most loved red wines across the States. For a fair amount of time, It was considered an American heritage grape. The main reason for that was the fact that this variety couldn’t be found anywhere else in the world.


Zinfandel was shipped to the U.S. from Vienna, Austria together with several different varieties: It was hugely under appreciated on the East, but once it made it to the West coast it started growing in popularity.

Finally debunked: Zinfandel is Croatian

When the first questions about Zinfandel’s origin were raised, it was only clear that its leaf shape showed European heritage, but no one from the popular European wine-growing regions like France or Italy claimed it as their own. The theories about Zinfandel being the Primitivo grape were discharged after a thorough DNA test confirmed that the grape originates in Croatia.

The almost forgotten grape called Crljenak Kastelanski was the actual #Zinfandel, and this discovery led to the renaissance of the almost extinct variety with very few vines left on the #Dalmatian coast.

Zinfandel in Croatia

Curiosity: Written records from the 15th century show that this exact grape took a significant part in winemaking on the islands of #Hvar and #Vis back in the days. 

Once in Croatia, don’t skip the opportunity to sip on this well-rounded red which is becoming the standard of the restaurant wine lists. Different producers are labeling it also as #Tribidrag, Kratosija or Pribidrag - all genetically equal with slight differences depending on the vineyard location and vinification.

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