August 10, 2006
Next Stop: Governor's Desk

Zinfandel is a step closer to being designated California's "historic wine." The Assembly voted 45-20 today to send to Gov. Arnold Schwarzennegger a measure to recognize zinfandel as the wine that has contributed most historically to the development of the state's wine trade.

Gov. Schwarzennegger hasn't taken a position on the matter, but is expected to act on the measure within the next two weeks, said a spokesman from the governor's office.

Sen. Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), the bill's author, remarked upon passage of the proposal, "Now we know there's at least one thing that Democrats and Republicans can come together over - wine. What could be more Californian than that?"

The measure has stirred spirited debate within the state's wine community. Some vintners have argued that other varieties, such as mission and petite sirah, also have played significant roles in California's emergence as a world wine power and deserve similar recognition. The Family Winemakers of California, a trade group, opposed the measure on the grounds that its passage would give zinfandel an unfair advantage over other varietals in the marketplace.

On the other hand, Sen. Migden has noted that unlike other wine-grape varieties zinfandel is grown more extensively in California than in any other wine region in the world; that in contrast to other varieties zinfandel has adapted well to most of the state's viticultural areas; and that zinfandel accounts for many of the older vineyards in the state, several more than a century old.

Here's a thought: If the governor signs the bill, shouldn't he do so with a pen dipped in zinfandel? Clearly, the wine is making an impression.

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