Zinfandel Wine Case Study

The concept of a case study to help learn or understand a process is well known in the science and medical fields. During my previous career as a clinical laboratory scientist, my Friday afternoon lunch hours were occupied by a brown bag lunch teleconference delving into the symptoms, clinical, and pathological workup (and subsequent diagnosis) of a patient’s condition. So what does that have to do with winemaking? The process of case studies can cross multiple disciplines, and in this article I will share a winemaking case study, from veraison until post malolactic fermentation (MLF), which provides information and the science behind how a particular Zinfandel wine was developed. When I say the wine was “developed,” I need to include some personal philosophical aspects of winemaking. While some winemakers like to see a recipe (as I include each issue in my “Varietal Focus” column), sometimes a recipe cannot be followed. Winemaking is a biological process, and all kinds of things happen along the way. There are conditions occurring in the wine that cannot be entirely covered by following a recipe.