Zinfandel has been grown in California in quantity for a very long time. Many of the oldest vineyards in the state are Zinfandel. They survived Prohibition because the thick skins of the grape allowed it to survive shipping to home winemakers in eastern states. Some survived being torn out in the 1970s by the invention of White Zinfandel. In the 1990s the market for premium wine increased sufficiently that old vine Zinfandel became valuable on its own, and the vineyards are now treated almost like historic landmarks. Turley Wine Cellars in the Paso Robles Wine Country makes controversial but sought-after versions of Zinfandel. Paso Robles Wine Country is known worldwide for producing remarkable Zinfandel with Turley and Castoro Cellars offering two of the best.
Zinfandel is also known as Primitivo in Italy, and originally came from Croatia, where it is known as Crljenak Kaštelanski. The link between Zinfandel and Crljenak was discovered through the work of Carole Meredith, a UC Davis geneticist.