Zinfandel: A Croatian-American Wine Story

Zinfandel: A Croatian-American Wine Story By Jasenka Piljac Žegarac
The idea that Zinfandel originates from coastal Dalmatia has been drifting in scientific circles for at least 20 years. The motivating force behind this claim in the US and the main advocate of 'Croatian Zinfandel' was Mike Grgich, a renowned Californian winemaker and enthusiast of Croatian descent. At the time when I joined the Meredith team as a research assistant in 1997, Professor Meredith informed me about her plans to visit Croatia and start collaboration with the scientists from the University of Zagreb. Until then, no one had the means or the necessary motivation to begin the search in Croatia, a country that has been ravaged by war from 1990-1995. She asked me to be her companion and translator. In May of 1998, with the help of Mike Grgich and scientists from the University of Zagreb, we ventured off into Dalmatian vineyards. What followed after our initial meeting and everything that happened between the spring of 1998 and the fall of 2002, along with the final discovery of the Croatian Zinfandel counterpart - Crljenak kaštelanski, is scientifically documented in my Ph.D. dissertation. However, the dissertation is missing all the fun parts, the ups and downs of the search all the way to the funny details of the 1998 'search of the territory'.

The aim of the book "Zinfandel: A Croatian-American Wine Story" is to provide a picturesque and detailed portrayal of the search for original Zinfandel from an insider perspective. This book is a detective tale and a travel log written for all Zinfandel lovers interested in reading about my first hand experience on the 'Zinfandel trail' and the final discovery of its Croatian match. It is also intended for all wine lovers and future visitors to Croatia who will, among the four chapters, surely find useful information about viticultural tradition, wine production and history of Croatia – a small country with more than a thousand islands and five million smiles. I hope you'll enjoy reading my story about a grape's journey through its Croatian-American past!

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