“The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars.” -Benjamin Franklin
Happy Fourth of July! This is one of my favorite days of the year to dig into domestic wines!
I love the unique wine culture here in the USA – we are such a new wine growing industry and thus have very little restrictions as to what varietals we can plant or how we can make our wine. Winemakers have so much freedom to experiment which is super exciting. No varietal is off limits.
As a consumer it keeps us on our toes. There is always a new budding region, a new varietal picking up steam, a new producer changing the game. It is an exciting time to drink wine from the Unites States!
I love the history of wine here in America, too, and am a total history buff. The first vitas vinifera vine was found in Virginia, planted in the 1600s. However, it was diseased with phylloxera so nothing came of it.
It wasn’t until “Thomas Jefferson, a gourmand devoted to the best wines of Bordeaux, showed relentless enthusiasm for the vine, lingering on business in the Médoc on the very day in 1787 that the Constitutional Convention opened in Philadelphia. Jefferson viewed wine as a mark of genteel society, and “the only antidote to the bane of whiskey.” -GuildSomm. Jefferson planted vines in Virginia, however his efforts (and Washington’s) efforts failed greatly with zero wine to show 30 years later.
Unbeknownst to them, Spanish Monks who settled on the west coast were planting vines and having success. “Franciscan monks brought the Mission grape to what would become the state of California and established vineyards at each of their historic missions along the West Coast. In 1783, Franciscans at the San Juan Capistrano Mission produced California’s first wine from the grape” – GuildSomm. I love thinking about those earlier winemakers, not too far from us here in Laguna!
In the 1920s Prohibition led to a near-total shutdown of America’s wine industry, although a few survived by producing still-legal Christian sacramental wines. The only vineyards allowed to produce, were those attached to a church. However, the Frenchman Georges de Latour’s Beaulieu Vineyards actually thrived during the dry times, declaring itself the “House of Altar Wine.”
I love that. By slight rebranding Georges de Latour not only survived the Prohibition but actually increased his sales. GENIUS.
I hope that this fourth you all are celebrating with friends and family, with a glass in hand! And if you should run dry, just borrow a line from one of our Founding Fathers…“perhaps I may trouble you to about the same amount, this being a very favorite wine, and habit having rendered the light and high flavored wines a necessary of life with me.” – Thomas Jefferson
Huzzah From Your Pock Somm – Margaux