Zinfandel is a red wine grape that is very popular in California vineyards. It is so popular there that it was wrongly believed to have originated from the United States for a long time. The grape is also known as Primitivo in some areas and has one of the highest alcohol content for red wines, ranging from 15% to 17%. We have put together some more enlightening facts and information you would be intrigued to know about this robust red wine.

A brief history of Zinfandel

Contrary to the rumors of its origin, Zinfandel grapes actually originated from one of the most unlikely places, Croatia. It was speculated to have originated from  Europea and the United Started. However, DNA fingerprinting linked the grape to a Croatian variety “Crljenak Kaštelanski”. Evidence suggests that these grapes were grown in Croatia longer than other areas before they were almost wiped out by phylloxera in the 19th century. The vine is called Primitivo in Italy because of its tendency to ripen early before other grape varieties. It was eaten as a table grape for some time before becoming popular as a wine grape. It is used as an ingredient blended wines but it also stands on its own as a varietal wine. Wine critics disregarded Zinfandel for some time but modern grapes have less cloying sweetness and more flavor which has helped it gain some respect.

Approximately how many hectares/acres are planted globally

Zinfandel flavors are influenced by the climate and area it was grown in as well as the winemakers’ style so Zinfandel wines may vary in taste. They do better in warm climates as hot climates can make them shrivel. Grapes grown in cool areas have red berry notes and wines from warmer areas have blackberry, pepper and anise notes. They are grown in areas like California, Apulia, and Dalmatia. Approximately 32,745 hectares (81,000 acres) of Zinfandel was grown globally by the year 2015.

Wine colors of Zinfandel

Zinfandel is used to create a robust red wine that is full bodied and has high alcoholic contents of at least 15% which can be adjusted by modern winemaking techniques. White Zinfandel is another variety of Zinfandel wines that is actually a pale pink or blush color. This hue is attained by only exposing the wine to the skin of the grapes for a short period of time so that it does not color the wine more than a light shade of pink.

White Zinfandel wine is very popular in the US and was said to have been what saved Zinfandel wines from being completely dismissed by winemakers and critics.

Grape skin colors and sweetness levels of Zinfandel

Zinfandel has a thin skin that is a deep dark color which gives Zinfandel its signature red color. The skin is delicate and prone to shriveling when it is exposed to overly hot climates.

Zinfandel is a medium sweet off-dry wine. It is not too sweet although its taste can be altered through the winemaking process. It scores a 3-4 on the wine sweetness scale.


This Croatian grape is a staple for most American wine drinkers with marked popularity in California. It goes well with barbecued red meat, vegetable dishes, and desserts.