Follow this link to


Read about us... Read about our partners.... Email me...





Kent Rosenblum

Articles are property of Brenda Francis and are not to be reproduced in any way without written consent from Brenda Francis.
As the owner of more pets than I care to admit, finding a good veterinarian is like finding an honest mechanic. Above all else, a veterinarian has to be nurturing and attentive. I find this type of personality trait in some winemakers as well. It only makes sense that Kent Rosenblum, winemaker for some of the most well groomed zinfandel I've ever tasted, is also a veterinarian. You see, zinfandel requires a lot of attention during production and its flavor can be compromised if too many corners are cut. Kent Rosenblum has the kind of personality that calms injured animals and understands the vigor of a vine. It is because of his nurturing manner and attention to detail that allows Rosenblum Cellars to be a pure expression of perfectly ripe zinfandel.

Rosenblum is a remarkable man. He was one of the founding members of ZAP, Zinfandel Advocates and Producers, and still serves on their board of directors. He puts in time at each of his two vet clinics on a regular basis, all the while producing forty-four different wines under his Rosenblum label. When I prompted him about where he finds the time, he made a simple, yet profound statement. "I have great people working for me." This well known, but little used business concept works well for Rosenblum. While he oversees the production of all forty-four labels, the talented Jeff Cohn is Rosenblum Cellars' head winemaker. Cohn is by his own reputation, another quality person working for Rosenblum.

When I asked Kent what is he known for best, other than his talent with zinfandel, he remarks about his keen sense of smell. "Smell is incremental in what a wine is going to be." He further explains that he can smell potential problems when the grapes are first fermenting, which is invaluable in the production process.

Rosenblum's dream of producing an Australian label came about on one of his trips to Australia. While touring several wineries, Kent had the opportunity to taste some wines being presented to buyers for Penfolds Grange, a $200 a bottle wine that earns the highest scores possible vintage after vintage. The buyers were due to stop by that day, but as the day grew later, the owner of the winery realized that the representatives for Grange were not going to show. Rosenblum offered to buy the wine that the Penfolds staff never tasted. The Featherfoot Man Shiraz was born. The label of the Featherfoot Man is a painting by an aboriginal artist named Jingalu. The original painting hangs in Rosenblum's tasting room at the winery in Alameda, California.

Rosenblum Cellars works with numerous sites, many of which are blessed with old grape vines. "There are many rewards working with zinfandel. It is so user friendly. Old vines are less maintenance than younger vines because of the openness of the vine . . . except for their issues with uneven ripening, a common zinfandel trait."

The most frustrating thing about zinfandel from Rosenblum's perspective is "the bad press it gets for its elevated alcohol levels." For those of us who drink mostly Californian wines, high alcohol content is a typical thing. The European market is not as willing to bestow its praise on wines with alcohol levels above 13%, which is almost any red wine coming from California. "Alcohol is needed for balance," Rosenblum confides.

Rosenblum's portfolio is outstanding for the money. He's a brilliant winemaker with a talent for surrounding himself with exceptional people and extraordinary grapes. Just as he nurtures god's creatures, so does he nurture the reputation of America's signature variety, zinfandel. Here are some recommended bottles from Rosenblum Cellars extensive portfolio:

Vintner's Cuvée Zin $10 Chateau Las Paws Côtes du Bone Red $13 Roussanne $21 Featherfoot Man Jingalu Shiraz $24 Oakley Vineyard Zin $17 Rustridge Zin $26 Eagle Point Vineyard Zin $28 Annette's Vineyard Zin $28