Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home’s winemakers used some of the free-run juice to boost the intensity of the family’s famed Amador County Zinfandel. He pasteurized and canister the free stuff, bottled a tiny proportion as a tasting-room exclusive to attract low-income wine lovers.
Bob was inspired by French rosés Oeil de Perdrix (“Eye of the Partridge”) and intended to label the new wine with a distinctive title in the American market. Oeil de Perdrix are the white wines created on red grapes in France, which Bob gave to his pink-tinged wine. However, U.S. law regulations require a descriptive title of the wine in English, so he made an addition to the Family wine label as ” White Zinfandel wine” was put in small print.
By the end of the twentieth century, “pink wines” had captured a substantial proportion of the American retail market. According to several wine experts such as Jancis Robinson, Bob planned a “marketing triumph” by\ by transforming his red Zinfandel into Rose wine. He preserved a stuck fermentation of his 1972 red Zinfandel wine and created a paler, sweeter rosé-coloured wine labelled “White Zinfandel.
Though he was not the first Californian winemaker to create a rosé version of Zinfandel, he was the one to boldly market it as a new wine style. As a result, Sutter Home’s “White Zinfandel” sales increased from 25,000 cases throughout 1980 to even more than 1.5 million throughout 1986. Due to the higher demand for White Zinfandel in the market, Sutter Home sold most of the old stored wine at reasonable prices.
Sutter Home White Zinfandel’s success was largely due to word-of-mouth recommendations. The Trincheros did not hold their own 1st official sales meeting until 1987.The first meeting took place in Bob Trinchero’s backyard. Sutter Home White Zinfandel has been America’s best-selling wine at the time, with an annual production of 2 million cases.
Beringer holds a commanding 37.9 percent dollar share of these 750ml wines sold in US food stores while selling at a price premium of approximately 15% and over the second leading White Zinfandel brand. Beringer White Zinfandel also has the highest dollar sales of any wine SKU marketed in US grocery stores.
White Zinfandel has a high alcohol percentage, ranging from 12.5 percent to 16 percent ABV. Despite its perplexing name ‘White Zinfandel’, it is basically a rosé or pink wine. The original White Zinfandel is typically dry, but when white Zinfandel became popular in the 1970s, winemakers began producing sweet white Zinfandel more frequently.
Very sweet white Zinfandels are an outlier in terms of alcohol content, with some having as little as 10% ABV. Looking back to the creation of White Zinfandel, when Sutter Home’s Bob Trinchero stored the supplementary juice in canisters for two weeks, the wine started fermentation. Before all of the grape sugar could be transformed into alcohol, the fermentation was stopped without any intervention. At this point, the wine is too stubborn to restart the fermentation process, leaving only 2% residual sugar.
The White Zinfandel comprises 85 percent of Zinfandel grapes. The wine has a limited alcohol and caloric content, as well as a sweet palate that is soothing. For the majority of wine lovers, White Zinfandel is an incredibly sweet, gentle 10% ABV wine, while port Zinfandel is 18.5 percent ABV. White Zinfandel can definitely compete with most wines. On the upper end, it competes primarily with the most prestigious wines available in the market, which accounts for about 15% to 16% of the market. Furthermore, white Zinfandel can be a port wine with an alcohol percentage of 19% or higher. However, ABVs of around 13.5 percent are most common in supermarkets.
White Zinfandel and many reds and rosés may have similar alcohol percentages, sometimes less, sometimes more. However, white Zinfandel is indeed a powerful wine in general. Terra d’Oro Zinfandel Port, a 19 percent ABV Californian wine, is a great example of this.
The Unlikely Story of White Zinfandel
The composition of wine
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