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Delicious Food Pairings for California Zinfandel Wine

This versatile variety can stand up to big flavors and many different cuisines. Read on to learn more about Zinfandel pairings.

Zinfandel is often referred to as America’s heritage grape, but we certainly weren’t among the first to make wine out of this hardy fruit. In fact, historians believe that humans have been making wine out of Zinfandel grapes for over 6,000 years, making it one of the oldest varieties on record.  

So what is it about Zinfandel that accounts for its enduring appeal? There are two sides to that answer. From a farming perspective, Zinfandel grapes are incredibly well suited to varied terroir. In California, Zinfandel grapes are readily grown throughout the state. Unlike some more finicky varieties, Zinfandel requires minimal effort, little water and is incredibly hardy. Some of the state’s oldest plantings can be found in Lodi, California. These gnarled vines have thrived in the region’s sandy loam soil and developed root systems penetrating up to 30 feet underground. Some ancient Zinfandel vines are still producing fruit after almost 130 years! 

From a pairing perspective, this versatile variety can stand up to big flavors and a diverse array of cuisines. Zinfandel wine is bold and brambly and is often described as jammy or fruit-forward, but it can also have notes of warm spices, pepper and smoky tobacco. It pairs beautifully with barbeque, spicy foods, smoked cheeses and tangy flavors, but is also easy to enjoy on its own. 

Check out some of our favorite recipes to pair with Zinfandel!


Spicy Cotija Popcorn

Looking for a delicious way to spice up your next movie night? Try our Spicy Cotija Popcorn recipe from our friends at CA Grown! You’re definitely going to need something to wash down this salty snack.

Reach for your favorite California Zinfandel. The bold, fruity notes will pair beautifully with the cheesy, spicy popcorn seasoning in this recipe!

zinfandel wine pairings popcorn


Prosciutto Wrapped Prunes

Last minute holiday invite? No problem. Whip up a batch of our friend KC’s Prosciutto Wrapped Prunes and grab a bottle of Zinfandel on the way out the door.

This simple appetizer is full of big flavors and ready in minutes. 

zinfandel wine pairings fig


Grilled Three Cheese Sandwich

Crisp, creamy and peppery, these Grilled Three Cheese Sandwiches make a spectacular, simple supper or decadent late-night snack.

A bit of greens and tangy mustard take grilled cheese to the next level – and pair perfectly with the bold flavors found in California’s Zinfandel wines.

Zinfandel Wine Pairings grilled cheese


Mini Stuffed Peppers

This Mini Stuffed Peppers recipe from CA Grown is loaded with just the right amount of spice for all of the heat lovers in your life.

Try pairing this appetizer with a peppery California Zinfandel. The two are definitely a lively match!

zinfandel wine pairings peppers


Persimmon + Pomegranate Caprese

Fans of traditional caprese will be intrigued by The Delicious Life’s autumn-inspired take on caprese salad.

A fruit-forward Zinfandel will play off of the pomegranates and persimmons beautifully, and the bold wine will hold up next to the big flavors.

Zinfandel Wine Pairings


Kale Salad with Red Grapes, Walnuts and Feta

Hunting for a healthy, easy weeknight meal? Our friend @thismessisours adores the kale salad from Wine Country Table. This recipe really covers all the bases with peppery kale, sweet grapes and tangy feta.

Try pairing it with a Zinfandel that features notes of dark fruit and licorice – the combination is absolutely magical.

Zinfandel Wine Pairings salad


Sheet Pan Chicken with Blueberry Zinfandel BBQ Sauce

“I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food.”

Julia Child may have made this quote famous, but we’ve made it our mantra. Grab a bottle of California Zinfandel to make our friend Alison’s sweet and tangy Sheet Pan Chicken and then enjoy the rest with your meal.


Mushroom, Kale and Butternut Squash Pasta

Craving comfort food? You can’t beat a warm bowl of creamy pasta with a glass of Zinfandel.

We have a feeling you’ll have this recipe on repeat all throughout the cooler months! 


Pork Roast with Prune Wine Reduction

Our friend Teri Turner describes this Pork Roast as “next level, juicy, moist and magnificent”, and she’s not wrong. 

Pro-tip: the sauce calls for 2 cups of wine, so pick up 2 bottles of California Zinfandel. You can thank us later. 

Roast Turkey with Wild Rice and Kale Stuffing 

This recipe reminds us of two very important facts: 

1) Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving. 

2) White meat should not automatically be paired with white wine. This recipe can definitely hold its own when paired with a lively Zinfandel.


Blueberry BBQ Sauce

We just might have saved the best for last. This BBQ sauce recipe is a little bit sweet mixed with just the right amount of heat! Slightly spicy + grilled = deliciousness!

We can’t think of a more obvious match for your favorite California Zinfandel.

Zinfandel Blueberry Sauce
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