Harper’s Weekly (March 7, 1863).
N ic hol a s L ong wort h • 25
in this country that would both grow and yield an at least drinkable wine.
In the early years of the nineteenth century, that situation began to change
as more and more chance hybrids were discovered and brought into culti-
vation — Lenoir, Herbemont, Isabella, and a great number of others whose
names have now been forgotten. Chief among these newcomers was the grape
called Catawba, whose introduction begins the second chapter in the history
of Americanwine growing.
The fame of the grape was owing
Twenty-first Amendment in 1933.
The Eighteenth Amendment, enforced by the Volstead Act (the National
Prohibition Act), banned the manufacture, sale, transportation, impor-
tation, and exportation of intoxicating liquors.1
Prohibition cut an indelible swath across Americanwine history, re-
turning a thriving wine industry to its infancy. A handful of wineries
survived, ones that availed themselves of Prohibition’s three legislative
loopholes for wine production or consumption: use for medicinal pur-
poses, with a physician’s prescription; sacramental or ritual use; or
viaggio d'istruzione negli Stati Uniti d'America, pp. 144-145;
Frank Schoonmaker and T o m Marvel , AmericanWines, pp. 61-62; George
Husmann, Grape Culture and Wine Making in California, p. 15.
7 T h e exact date of the introduction of the vine into California is still a
matter of dispute. Although there is no conclusive evidence to determine the
exact date, the various sources agree that it was between 1769 and 1771.
Hubert H. Bancroft believes vineyards were planted in the first permanent
Spanish settlements between 1769 and 1773.
8 George A. Pettit, " T h e
spots in the South, and the
northwestern corner were still where grapes were grown and where what might em-
phatically be called Americanwines were made. For all of the wine made outside Cali-
fornia came from pure native varieties (the muscadines in the South, the Concord in the
rest of the country) or from the so-called native hybrids, containing more or less vinifera
admixture in their blood. More precisely, the wines sold as eastern wines could and did
contain up to 25 percent of California wine, and the rest came from native varieties.3
There were thus two
at Napa's dominance in the pub-
2 James T. Lapsley
lie's mind, but the reality of Americanwine drinkers' equation of Napa
with wine quality is a cold marketing fact of life for all California pro-
ducers. The primacy of the Napa address in the minds of wine consum-
ers is evidenced in two representative statistics. First, just under one
quarter of all of California's more than eight hundred wineries are lo-
cated in Napa County, creating a concentration of wineries per square
mile unrivaled anywhere else in the nation. Second, reflecting the mar-
.” Wine Spectator, June 15.
LeMay, Marc-Henry. 1995. Bordeaux et ses vins: Classés par ordre de mérite
dans chaque commune. Bordeaux: Éditions Feret.
Letablier, M.T., and C. Delfosse. 1995. “Genèse d’une convention de qualité:
Cas des appellations d’origine fromagères.” In La grande transformation de
l’agriculture, ed. G. Allaire and R. Boyer. Paris: Institut National de la
Loubère, Leo. The Red and the White. Albany: State University of New York,
Lukacs, Paul. 2000. Vintage: The Rise of AmericanWine. New York:
foxiness refers to.
Furthermore, that aroma is preponderantly defined as "musky," that is, "having a
musky taste or smell, like a fox-grape" (Funk and Wagnalls, Standard Dictionary of
the English Language, 1895); "the musk-like flavor of the wild VitisLabrusca" (Bailey,
Evolution of Our Native Fruits^ "the strong, musky, odor and flavor is peculiar to this
species" (Munson, Foundations of American Grape Culture, 1909); "the musky wine
the native grapes yielded" (Peter Quimme, Signet Book of AmericanWine [New
York, 1975]). Like most of our descriptive terms for tastes
boom, in the 1880s? Who were the heroes in this story
in the 1850s and 1860s?
The fourth mystery is really an unanswered question. What is the history
of the Zinfandel between the 1880s and 1960s? This history has never been
written. In attempting to answer that question, I’ll explain why I call it the
“stealth grape” in the years before Prohibition, and I’ll show how Prohibition
made the name “Zinfandel” a part of the Americanwine vocabulary in a way
that it had never been before. I’ll also explain how Zinfandel meant two very
different things to consumers in the
dining room. Only a waiter could do that. At that time,
everybody started with a cocktail for the first course and then drank mugs
of coffee with the rest of the dinner. (There was even a judging of which
coffee went best with which pork chop!) Because of the Balkanized state of
Americanwine laws and because of the reigning social mores, my first twenty
years in the United States were pretty much wine-less.
When we moved to the Napa Valley, in 1960,1 again had to wonder and
laugh. The little town of Yountville had an old Veterans' Home on its out-
skirts, housing over
Castellina in Chianti in
2003. As we traveled Chianti’s rural roads, we discovered a shared love of this land—its
x iv • P R E F A C E
countryside and its culture. From that year on, we returned every September in time for
the vendemmia (harvest). Bill gave a winemaking course to a small group of Americanwine students, and Fran introduced the budding winemakers to the culture and history
of Tuscany. Then we began our Sicilian journey in 2008. In telling the story of Sicily, we
came to understand yet another truth it shares with Chianti. Like Sicily