White Zinfandel wine is usually a popular choice among people who would not otherwise drink wine or are just starting to experiment with drinking wine. White Zinfandel is known to be quaffable and easy to drink for it possesses low alcohol, bold fruit and sweetness. Novice wine drinkers usually prefer these light, sweet, fruity wines to the stronger, more astringent reds. This is why White Zinfandel is considered a starter wine; a wine with training wheels.
In Napa during the late 1800’s, Zinfandel grapes were commonly used in the production of Rosé wine. The lightly colored free-run, or initial juice from the processed grapes, was collected and fermented into a dry, almost white wine, thus called “White Zinfandel”. However, in 1975, while producing Rosé, the Sutter Home Winery experienced a problematic, stuck fermentation, which happens when the yeast die before consuming all of the sugar. Not knowing what to do with this sweetly flawed wine, Sutter Home bottled it in a jug and sold it at a roadside stand. This was the beginning of the sweet White Zinfandel frenzy which soon caught on throughout the United States. Today, sales of White Zinfandel account for 10% of all wine sold by volume in the U.S. Nothing short of a marketing miracle.
When in doubt what to do with bad wine, make it sweet.
Annette Solomon, CS