Letters: Zinfandel & Senator Migden
Submitted by Hilda M. Foley
A Zinfandel story
Hilda M. Foley
Sept. 22, 2006
letter to editor
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006
Zinfandel & Senator Migden
Mr. Jeff Burkhart
Marin Independent Journal
Dear Mr. Burkhart,
Thank you for your nice article about Croatia and its wines. ("Barfly:
The grape you are sipping
has roots in Croatia" - 9/21/06). What you wrote is indeed not well
known, especially not in America, so it is nice to finally see Croatia
identified as a wine producing country - with truly good wines. I
especially appreciate your mention of the "highjacking" of Croatia's
wines by Austria and Hungary by changing the wines' names. Croatia has
always suffered from an identity crisis, not only in wines, but
scientists, artists, inventors etc. identified as Austrian, Hungarian,
Italian - you get the picture!
So thank you again,
Hilda Maria Foley
PS. The letter below was written just a few days ago to California
Senator Migden advising her of the origin of the "California's wine"
Zinfandel that, as she put it, "has no known European homeland".
The Hon. Carole Migden
Sept. 18, 2006
Dear Senator Migden,
It is quite surprising to read that you are advocating Zinfandel as the
official state wine, because, as the Los Angeles Times quoted you in
February, "the wine has no known European homeland" and saying recently
that "California is the only region in the world where "Old Vine"
Zinfandel is found, with some vines still producing grapes after more
than one 100 years".
Just a quick look at the recent research by the UC Davis plant
geneticists would show that the genetic gap between the modern California
Zinfandel and its ancient origins has been found, and it is not the
long-assumed Italian Primitivo. The DNA has clearly established that the
vines' origin is the Crljenak Kastelanski ("red grape from Kastel") from
Croatia's Dalmatian coast. Most likely Croatian immigrants have brought
the vine to California in the 1800's.
By the way, the L.A. Times of July 10, 2002 featured a lengthy article
by Rod Smith regarding this finding: " The Great Zinfandel Mystery - The
birthplace of California's signature grape turns out to be Croatia". We
Croatians are proud of it!!
Hilda M. Foley
Croatian American Society