Typically an inexpensive jug wine, White Zinfandel is a quaffing wine that is sweet, low-alcohol, and soft, making it a popular choice with people who would otherwise not drink wine. Depending on the amount of sugar, it can taste almost like a fruit punch, although some examples are have crisp acids and are balanced in their own way. It is rare that a White Zinfandel is not meant to be consumed immediately.
In the 1970s Sutter Home was a producer of premium Zinfandel in the Napa Valley. One technique they used to increase concentration in their wines was saignée, where some juice is bled off to increase the impact of compounds in the skins on the remaining wine. The excess juice is light pink. In 1975, the excess juice experienced a "stuck" fermentation, which left some sugar unfermented. This sweet, pink wine, by then called White Zinfandel, became a smash hit. Sutter Home realized they could sell far more White Zinfandel than anything they had produced to date, and gradually became a successful producer of inexpensive wines. However, the demand created for Zinfandel resulted in extended commercial viability of old vine Zinfandel vineyards, which saved them from being ripped out. When the fine wine boom started in the 1980s, demand for red Zinfandel picked up considerably and these vineyards became prized for the low yields from the sometimes century-old vines.
Rather than use the leftover juice from premium Zinfandel production, Sutter Home (and most producers today) grow Zinfandel specifically for use in White Zinfandel, in places like the Central Valley of California. Production costs are substantially lower and fruit quality is not as important to the final taste as it would be in a dry table wine. Ironically, in the 1990s the Trinchero family, owners of Sutter Home, started production of a new brand of fine wines, M. Trinchero.
DeLoach is noted for a White Zinfandel that is drier, more complex, and more expensive than most.