Wine competitions in California show shift away from zins

An earthquake is rattling the Sacramento wine region. Petite sirah, syrah and barbera are challenging zinfandel as the wine most responsible for the standing of fine-wine appellations in Sacramento's backyard.

This conclusion is based on an analysis of 13 commercial wine competitions over the past year.

They've been judgings that customarily draw entries from such local appellations as the Sierra Foothills and Lodi, enological enclaves long celebrated for the caliber of their zinfandels.

While the results generally affirm zinfandel's reputation as the grape and the wine that show best locally, its celebrity is being challenged by other varietals, especially petite sirah and syrah.

Of the 61 red wines from Lodi to win gold medals in the competitions, 18 were zinfandels, while 13 were petite sirahs.

The results were even more dramatic for wines from Nevada, Placer and El Dorado counties. Of the 108 red wines from the three counties to win gold medals, 20 were syrahs, 17 were petite sirahs and 14 were zinfandels.

Read the full story at