POSTED ON September 29, 2015 | IN Wine Photo of the Day | BY Joe Becerra
ugly Zinfandel

Zinfandel on the vine at the Charles Krug vineyard in St. Helean

Ugly Zinfandel – Charles Krug Vineyards

I shot this photo with my iPhone as I walked along Highway 29 early Sunday morning. I was shocked to see grape clusters still on the vines. There were at least four long rows of vines with these Zinfandel grapes . I had read that harvest was about 99% complete in the Napa Valley. Upon closer inspection, as evident in the photo, these are dried up Zinfandel clusters. So why are they still on the vine? Later that day, I called the Charles Krug winery.  Someone in the tasting room explained to me that they had harvested all their Zinfandel. He speculated that these rows were left on the vine because they did not meet the standards for their top tier Zinfandel wine. I have been told by winemakers and vineyard growers that Zinfandel is a challenging grape to grow. The grape clusters can ripen unevenly. Sorting is slow and meticulous with Zinfandel. Perhaps the vineyard folks at Charles Krug can give us more information on these ugly Zinfandel grapes. You would think they would have dropped the vines and left them to biodegrade on the soil.  Any thoughts?

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  1. Michael Beltran says

    At this stage all that will come from these grapes is highly extracted juice with a brix in the 28/30 range. You lose prime Zin flavors in exchange for prune like qualities. No wonder they do not want to use them. Perhaps some home winemaker could make either a late harvest or port style wine from these grapes. In every harvest there is fruit that does not make the cut. Looks like the leaves are beginning the change color.