We’re often asked at Uncorked Ventures which grapes are native to California, it’s honestly a short list, in fact the list begins and ends with Zinfandel.
Interestingly, Zinfandel is technically the same grape as Primitivo in Italy. Genetic tests have shown the two grapes are in fact the same, no one knows exactly which grape came first. Given the relative size of plantings in each country it does seem as if California is the ancestral home of the grape.
Zinfandel is the darkest of all red wine grapes, almost black in color. In many ways it is the perfect grape for California as it loves heat and sunshine.