. 81 .
Scores can be useful
but mostly they are stupid
The wine world changed when critics started
scoring wine. Suddenly, it was easy for all to
see immediately which the “best” ones were.
Wine became competitive. But scores are a
bit silly, and have gotten progressively sillier
as grade inflation has set in.
americanwine critic Robert Parker changed fine
wine forever when he began scoring wines on a point
scale of 100 in his publication The Wine Advocate,
which took off in the early 1980s. Suddenly, wine was
democratized. Cash-rich yet time
Lee, Henry. How Dry We Were: Prohibition Revisited. Prentice Hall, 1963.
Lender, Mark Edward, and James Kirby Martin. Drinking in America: A His-
tory. Free Press, zd ed., 1987.
Lukacs, Paul. American Vintage: The Rise of AmericanWine. Houghton Mifflin,
Mather, Cotton. Diary of Cotton Mather, vol. i: 1681-1709. Frederick Ungar, 1957.
Mather, Increase. Wo to Drunkards, Two Sermons Testifying against the Sin of
Drunkenness: Wherein the Woefulness of that Evil, and the Misery of all that are
addicted to it, is discovered from the Word of God. Marmaduke Johnson
, and the legal o‹cer was Jefferson Peyser;
both men were to serve for the rest of their working lives the organization they had helped
found.11 An o‹ce was found at 85 Second Street, San Francisco, an address shared at
various times by the California Deciduous Fruit Growers Association, the California Vine-
yardists Association, the California Grape Products Company, Fruit Industries, A.R. Mor-
row, and the Association of Western Wine Producers. No other address is so rich in the
history of Americanwine.12
The first, crucial task was to enlarge the membership. The
1983), p. 160.
31. Louis A. Petri, The Petri Family in the Wine Industry, interview by Ruth Teiser, Berkeley:
Regional Oral History O‹ce, Bancroft Library, University of California, 1971, p. 3.
32. Philip M. Wagner, AmericanWines and How to Make Them (New York: Knopf, 1933),
33. Horace O. Lanza, California Grape Products and Other Wine Enterprises, interview by Ruth
Teiser, Berkeley: Regional Oral History O‹ce, Bancroft Library, University of Califor-
nia, 1971, pp. 5–7.
34. U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of Prohibition
Wine [is] the most praised, most admired, most civilized of all
beverages, the favorite accompaniment of fine food in the most
respected sectors of our society. And Americanwines have become
the finest in the world and are becoming even finer with each passing
year. . . . The wine revolution hasn't ended, as some people would
have you think. It has only begun.
L E O N D. A D A M S ,
"What's Going on Here Anyhow?"
Wine consumption increased each year after Repeal, although not dra-
matically. Forty-two percent of Americans told pollsters in 1939 that they
injury to the public
service, and more trouble to me than any other circumstance that has
occurred in the internal concerns of the country during my administration.
And were I to commence my administration again, with the knowledge
which from experience I have acquired, the first question that I would ask
with regard to every candidate for office should be ‘is he addicted to the use
of ardent spirits?’” Quoted in John Kobler, Ardent Spirits: The Rise and
Fall of Prohibition (New York: Putnam, 1973), 32.
48. Cited in Paul Lukacs, Vintage: The Rise of AmericanWine (New
was a very common practice, and one not necessarily regarded as
adulteration: some might think it an improvement.
12. Buchanan, Culture of the Grape, p. 58.
13. W. J. Flagg, “Wine in America and AmericanWine,” Harper’s New Monthly
Magazine 41 (June 1870): 112. Flagg was Longworth’s son-in-law and had been man-
ager of his wineries.
14. United States Department of Agriculture, Annual Report, 1868 (Washing-
ton, DC: Government Printing Office, 1869), p. 575.
15. Nicholas Longworth, “The Process of Wine-Making on the Ohio,” Horti-
culturist 4 (1850): 397.
16. John F
the Japanese Nagasawa in Sonoma, not to
mention the uncounted, nameless Indians, Mexicans, and Chinese who did
the work of vineyard and winery up and down California throughout the
What was true in the early days continues to be true today: the Italian Luca
Paschina in Virginia, the German Herman Wiemer in upstate New York,
and the Croatian Mike Grgich in California are representative of a large and
varied group currently active in Americanwine making. Konstantin Frank
is thus not really an exotic but part of a tradition.
Still, his is a
Almadén Vineyards, 160, 242; and Frank
Schoonmaker, 162 – 163, 164, 165, 166,
Alta California, San Francisco, 61, 65, 69, 70
Amateur Musical Club, San Francisco, 59, 65
American Center for Wine, Food and the
American Institute of Wine and Food, 232
American Society for Enology and Viticul-
ture, 187, 191, 232
American Society of Enologists, 187
American Vineyard Foundation, 184
AmericanWine Company, 39
AmericanWine Growers Association, 35, 37
American Winegrowers’ Association, 107
AmericanWine Press, 54