Story Winery Picnic Hill Zinfandel 2013
Story Winery was originally founded by Dr. Eugene (Gene) and Ann Story in 1973. After acquiring the land and existing vineyards in 1969, Gene and Ann had a goal of eventually opening a winery and expanding the existing 20 acres of vineyards–some of which date back to 1894. Meanwhile, Gene continued his practice as a noted veterinarian in Sacramento. Story Winery was one of the first post-Prohibition bonded wineries in the Shenandoah Valley in 1973 (the other was Montevina). During a visit to Story Vineyards in 1991, Bruce and Jan Tichenor met Ann Story Ousley, who happened to be running the tasting room that fateful day. When someone in their tasting party mentioned that Story would be a nice little winery to own, Ann replied "well, it is for sale." Four months later, Bruce and Jan purchased the winery.
At the time, both Bruce and Jan were pharmacists and pharmacy managers for Long's Drugs in San Jose. Both had been practicing pharmacists for nearly 25 years. They decided to sell all they had to pursue the wine business, learning from Ann and her second husband, John Ousley, as well as countless others in the Shenandoah Valley. They continued to grow the winery as well as champion the cause for premium Zinfandel. In 2013, they decided to pass day-to-day operations over to their daughter and son-in-law, Tina & Rob Campbell.
As President of Story Winery, Rob oversees production, sales and marketing. Tina continues her career in corporate communications and helps manage behind the scenes details of the winery. Their goal, like that of their predecessors, is to produce premium wines which express the best of the region.
Famous even as early as the 1800s for its hefty Zinfandels, the California Shenandoah Valley wine industry naturally halted with Prohibition. But the region gained momentum again in the 1970s with renewed enthusiasm for the potential of its old vines.
Unapologetically bold, spice-driven and jammy, Zinfandel is often thought of as California’s flagship grape. And it fact it owns this title by having the ability to adapt to the states’ many microclimates and landscapes, producing unique expressions of the grape throughout. Zinfandel thrives in California’s Central Coast, as well throughout Sonoma County, parts of Napa Valley, the Sierra Foothills, Lodi and Paso Robles.
Zinfandel was born in Croatia and later made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. The astute imperial nursery of Vienna collected specimens of the vine and acted as the source of its journey to New England, carried by George Gibbs circa 1829. Eventually, making its way to California around the Gold Rush of 1849, Zinfandel found its new home, parading the true American spirit.
In the Glass
Zinfandel commonly expresses powerful notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, dark chocolate and licorice. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig or prune. But Zinfandel grown in cooler, coastal zones often expresses red fruit, black pepper and fresh herbal characteristics of juniper and menthol.
Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs or anything barbecued. More delicate Zins work with pork, lamb curry and even Ceasar Salad or Salad Nicoise.
Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding, ancient vines tend to produce wine that is deeply concentrated, delicately perfumed and decidedly complex.