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Searching for zinfandel clonal excellence

The UC Davis Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard at Oakville Station is a vibrant museum of the zinfandel grape.
A quest to find the best zinfandel clones began in the early 1990s, wrote Ann Hanami of the Napa Valley Wine Examiner. UC Cooperative Extension viticulture specialist James Wolpert was getting feedback from winemakers about the poor quality of the four available commercial zinfandel clones from the Central Valley, whose main characteristics were high-yield, large berries and poor varietal character.

Wolpert went on a California “safari” to find old-vine selections that had evolved uniquely over time on their own home turf. With support of Association of Zinfandel Advocates & Producers and the American Vineyard Association, UC Davis created the Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard in 1995, the article said, to record, study and preserve distinctive zinfandel clones which they collected from 50 notable old-vine vineyards in 14 counties throughout California. (The Zinfandel Heritage Vineyard website says the vineyard was established in 1989.)

The heritage vineyard helps the industry find answers to some of the mysteries surrounding zinfandel and preserves the special qualities of the old vines for future generations. The vineyard is of historical and viticultural interest, and represents a resource for future plantings of zinfandel with a broad range of selections.

Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 10:36 AM
Tags: Jim Wolpert (4), wine (28), zinfandel (2)

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