Zinfandel does NOT become the state grape.

Today I read in the San Jose Mercury News that on Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill that would have designated zinfandel as the official “historic wine of California.”

“It would be a shame,” the governor wrote, “to effectively snub syrah and spite chardonnay. Whether it is a Cabernet from Napa or Sonoma, a delicate Pinot Noir from the Central Coast, a Zinfandel from the San Joaquin Valley or Sierra Foothills, California produces some of the finest wines in the world,” Schwarzenegger wrote in his veto message for SB 1235. “California wines have inspired authors, artists and Oscar-winning motion pictures.”

Migden, D-San Francisco, initially hoped to make zinfandel California’s “official” state wine — prompting protests with devotees and growers of other varietals. The “historic” designation was a compromise to reflect that the zinfandel grape — originally from Croatia — has been cultivated here since Gold Rush days.

“It shouldn’t be a zin to be for zin,” said Migden, who actually prefers San Pellegrino to vino. “We thought it was fun and good for all wine.”

The image to the right is a zinfandel cluster. I got the notion that it would be fun to have “Verasion to Raisin” in my journaling. Eventually, I’ll have an image section, and a slide show will be pretty fun; meanwhile, I need to state that what I started here over the weekend is with a cluster from my Zinfandel vines. (I only have Zin vines, but I’m betting one of my Petite Sirah connections might be giving me a broader vineyard after this…)

So, read the following, knowing that I also love Zinfandel. I don’t only drink Petite Sirah, just because Louis Foppiano and I began the marketing group for this varietal. I also enjoy all the others.
I also don’t speak for all the members of PS I Love You. This is a personal belief as a marketer, who specializes in Petite Sirah.

If this bill had passed, too much emphasis would have been placed on Zinfandel, when every varietal in California has its own historical roots and story. The emphasis should be placed on California wines being world-class. We have a perfect climate for producing all the varietals that the world has to offer, he have unique terroir in every region: from the coast, to the Central Valley, to the Sierra Mountains… There are so many climates. The state has tremendous viticultural diversity.

Our farmers, soils, climates, temperatures, and winemaking philosophies have an amazing range of diversity, and more creative license than any other country in the world. Our wines have so much to offer.

Keeping the emphasis on the wine versus the varietal will benefit all California grape growers and winemakers.

I had a member point out the following to me today: “Anytime wine is press it helps everybody. I was for the Zinfandel bill. All ships rise with the tide! I would support any bill, whether it would be Petite Sirah, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cabernet etc….We need to look outside our box at the big picture. This bill would not hurt Petite Sirah, it would have helped. This is what kills me, everybody is worried about their own area, variety etc.; but the big picture, as I said before, is that we are in a global market, and if we can get more people to drink CALIFORNIA WINE, not imported wine, it helps everybody.”

With this bill, I didn’t see the benefit to any varietal, except for Zinfandel, and I believe that would have taken away the efforts of all other advocacy groups in charge of all other varietals. (We all spend a lot of time working toward having our place in the spotlight.)

I clearly didn’t see the benefit to all. It wasn’t about “all.”

We currently have September set for “California Wine Month – September 2006.” We can now all march forward with that “Big Picture” concept.

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