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Copyright © 2018
Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for November 15, 2000


Will This Zin Make It?

Decisions, Decisions

Ironstone Winemaker Steve Millier 
Ironstone Winemaker Steve Millier, pictured, had plenty of vines to consider. His boss, John Kautz, wanted him to make the winery's first Zinfandel. John's 5,600 acres of vines make him merely the eighth largest wine-grape grower in California. Decisions, decisions!

Now, Steve did not just fall off the turnip truck last week. He grabbed the grapes from old, untrellised, sturdy vines in the Lodi area, one of the coolest parts of the San Joaquin Valley in inland California. He knew Zinfandel liked it warm, but not too warm. Also old vines = more flavor.

The wine came on the market at $9. How did it do?

The Results

At that price, my panel selected it as the Best Buy Zinfandel so far this year! The recent Pacific Rim International Wine Competition judges agreed. They gave Steve's first Ironstone Zin a Gold Medal and Best of Class.

John and Gail Kautz

John and Gail Kautz.


If your wine shop can't get you a bottle, phone the office of Jo Diaz, Director of Public Relations, Phone and FAX at (707) 838-9159, Watch for the next vintage if you miss this one.

Just the Facts

1998 Ironstone Vineyards Zinfandel, California
Character—Very pleasing, easy-drinking Zin that my panel rated highly recommended in its price range.


Chairman John Kautz's daughter Joan is more than just a pretty face. She's also Vice President of International Operations. So what was she doing at the Seoul Hyatt in South Korea last June?

Well, the local Doosan Corp. has a 40% market share of the grape wine business in the country. Last June they signed an agreement to bring in their first California Ironstone. Way to go, Joan!


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.



This page created November 2000