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by Fred McMillin
When the Gold Rolled
The Rest of the Story
Marshal's helper Mormon miner Henry Bigler wrote in his diary on Jan. 24, 1848, "This day some mettle was found that looks like goald." That little piece of gold caused 1% of the U.S.A.'s population to crowd into a few counties east of Sacramento. They were joined by a swarm of Australians, South Americans and Europeans. The Golden State's wine production in 1848 was the equivalent of some 20,000 cases. By 1859 it would exceed 200,000 cases. The Sierra Foothills would have more wineries than Napa and Sonoma counties combined. What was planted?
The hot-button grape was Zinfandel. and it was not a brief romance. By 1910, it produced ninety percent of California wine. Furthermore, it is the State's leading red wine even as we speak. My last figures from Gladys Horiuchi of California's Wine Institute show an annual crush of 339,000 tons of Zinfandel compared to the distant second place of 226,000 tons of Cabernet Sauvignon.
In view of all of this, our Wine of the Day must be a Zinfandel from the Sierra Foothills, where appropriately not only was much of the FIRST Zinfandel made, but today much of the BEST Zinfandel is made.
Wine of the Day
1997 Vintners Selection Zinfandel
If you are interested in the present wines and the past glamour of the Sierra Foothills, subscribe to Vine Times published quarterly by Jolene Teresi, phone/fax (916) 988-8451. For more about the publication, see the WineDay Annex titled, " Wine and Words, A Love Affair".
01/20/00—When the Bard Starred
01/19/00—Dry Sack Flashback
01/17/00—Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
01/14/00—The Doctor's Encore
01/13/00—In Calaveras County
01/07/00—A New Winery for a New Millennium
01/04/00—Our Best Wine of 1999
01/03/00—Our Best Buy of 1999
This page created January 2000