VinesseTODAY.com has learned exclusively that beginning in 2011, all wines bottled under the name “White Zinfandel” must be white in color.
The new government regulation follows in the footsteps of the Food and Drug Act of 1906; the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938; and, more recently, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990.
The new guidelines were drawn up quickly and approved for near-term enactment in the wake of the recent scandal in which one American winemaking giant bottled millions of gallons of imported wine and labeled it “Pinot Noir,” only to find out later that it had been sold other, lesser grape varieties.
Also fueling the move for quick enactment were recent agreements signed by representatives of various wine-producing regions around the world to assure that wine bottles bearing labels with regional designations actually contained wine from the region specified.
And now, in another truth-in-labeling development, scrutiny is being given to a pink wine made out of red grapes that uses neither “pink” nor “red” in its name, but rather “white” – White Zinfandel.
“Zinfandel and White Zinfandel cause more confusion in restaurants than any other types of wine,” commented Ben Dover, Executive Director of the Wine Industry Marketing Panel (WIMP). “When someone orders a glass of Zinfandel, more often than not, they mean White Zinfandel – so a customer service-focused restaurateur is put in the position of replacing the first glass, which negatively impacts his bottom line.”
Further adding to the confusion is the fact that White Zinfandel is not white. That is what is being addressed by the new guidelines.
“It just seems logical that if a food product and make no mistake about it, wine is a food product – includes a color in its name, the product should be that color,” said Sen. Stuart “Stu” Pididiot (Ind.-Calif.). “Think about it: A red delicious apple is red… a yellow squash is yellow… an orange is orange. So why shouldn’t White Zinfandel be white?”
C. Howett Fields, a veteran vintner in California’s Napa Valley wine region, expressed concern over the new regulations.
“Right now, the Pure Food and Drug Act allows use of seven artificial colorings in the United States,” Fields said. “There are two types of blue, two reds, two yellows and green. You tell me how I’m supposed to get white by mixing any of those colors.”
Noah Fence, President of the Zinfandel-focused International Network of Entrepreneurs, Producers and Testers (INEPT), added that the wine industry already is overburdened by taxes and regulations.
“This is just one more thing that ultimately will drive up the price of wine, making it less accessible to more people,” Fence said. “I’m very upset. It’s like a bad April Fool’s joke.”