Thursday, July 16, 2009

Zinfandel in the Napa Valley

Sonoma County, Lodi, and the Sierra Foothills are better known for Zinfandel (red, not pink) than is the Napa Valley. Some wineries do offer Zinfandel in the tasting rooms, e.g. Grgich Hills and Rombauer. However, few wineries in Napa specialize in Zinfandel.

An exception is Robert Biale Vineyards. The family moved to Napa in the 1930s and planted Zinfandel grapes. For many years the family was content to sell its grapes but, in 1991, decided to make its first Zinfandel. Four hundred cases were made from the Biale's 60-year-old Zinfandel vines. Today, Biale makes Zinfandel from grapes it grows as well as from grapes purchased from small growers. In addition, the winery makes tasty Petite Sirah, Barbera, Sangiovese, and Syrah.

When you walk into the tasting room, you'll be greeted by a friendly member of the staff who will walk you through a tasting of the available wines. Biale often sells out of its wines so, in the winter months, the number of wines available for tasting may be limited. Tasting is by appointment at Biale. If you're visiting during the middle of the week or during the off season, you should be able to call in the morning for an appointment later in the day. If you're planning on visiting on a weekend during the summer or fall, try to call a few days in advance for an appointment.

If you would like to take a private Napa Valley tour or a private tour that focuses on Zinfandel, please contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel at (866) 326-4237 or

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