that the 2003 diplomatic stand-off cost the
French wine industry $124 million.11
With high taxes and labor pushing up costs, bankers or management
consultants might advise France to take the high road and leave the pro-
duction of bulk wine to low-cost producers in Chile, Argentina, Aus-
tralia, and South Africa. The whirling vortex of cute and clear English-
language labels and large marketing budgets has largely passed over
France. French wineinAmerica has often been marketed—if at all—on
the strength of its tradition and prestige. That strategy works at the
Vineyards. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1869.
. "WineinAmerica." Harper's Magazine 41 (June 1870): 106-14.
Fletcher, S. W. "A History of Fruit Growing in Virginia." In Proceedings of the 33 th Annual Meeting of
the Virginia Horticultural Society. Staunton, Va., 1932.
Flint, Timothy. Recollections of the Last Ten Years. Boston: Cummings, Hilliard, 1826.
Fontaine, John. The Journal of John Fontaine. Ed. Edward Porter Alexander. Williamsburg, Va.: Colonial
Williamsburg Foundation, 1972.
Force, Peter, ed. Tracts Relating Principally to the Origin, Settlement, and Progress
as the fastest-
growing varietal wineinAmerican markets
between 2006 and 2011, with increased sales at
all price points. Wine imports to the States
from Germany also nearly tripled between
1999 and 2007, rising from 1.2 to 3.2 million
cases, of which Riesling was a substantial
share. As early as 1990, Washington surpassed
California as the area of greatest Riesling pro-
duction in the States, and it is now home to the
world’s largest Riesling producer, the formida-
ble Chateau Ste. Michelle.
The suitability of certain varieties to certain
sible that some of California’s early Rhône variety producers may have drawn from
Grenache inspired by the passions of Walter Clore.
Concurrent with these eff orts, Washington’s potential for grape growing was being
assessed, starting in the mid-1960s when Leon Adams, a wine journalist from the Bay
Area, came to Washington to evaluate the region. Adams was researching his seminal
publication WinesinAmerica, its inaugural edition published in 1973, the most compre-
hensive look at American winemaking since Prohibition. A small number of local wines
the Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits not far behind in interest and
In September 2003 Wine Spectator columnist Matt Kramer, author of several infl uen-
tial books on wine, wrote a column called “The Next Really Big Red,” in which he made
a bold prediction: “The most exciting wineinAmerica today,” he claimed, “is Syrah. I’d
love to say that it’s Pinot Noir, but I cannot tell a lie. It’s Syrah that’s slated for stardom.”4
236 • I R R A T I O N A L E X U B E R A N C E
It was, he said, more than just a question of its being popular. “Really Big
, sometimes contradictory arrangement that passed through several distinct
phases and that affected the country in different ways at different times. Since the his-
tory of wineinAmerica is bound up with the fortunes of Prohibition, the changing de-
velopments in the drama that took place between the passage of the Eighteenth Amend-
ment, which established it, and the Twenty-first, which repealed it, should be briefly
THE PHASES OF PROHIBITION
At first, Prohibition seemed to work, especially if one took a restricted view of its aims.
If, as has been plausibly
are what you will get. Ca-
bernet and Chardonnay have so dominated the idea of premium wineinAmerica that
they inevitably inspired a reaction: ABC—“anything but Cabernet” or “anything but
Chardonnay”—became a slogan for the rebellious. So far, the main alternative has been
Merlot, a grape that has had a simply meteoric rise in favor during the past decade. In
1990 there were 7,500 acres of Merlot in California; in 2003 there were 52,000 acres.
The Merlot boom has by no means put an end to the search for different and inter-
esting grapes in California. Some
Agriculture and Food Systems, edited by Neal K. Van Alfen. San
Pierce, N. B. 1892. The California Vine Disease: A Preliminary Report of Inves-
tigations. Washington, DC: Government Printing Offi ce.
Pinker, S. 1997. How the Mind Works. New York: W. W. Norton.
Pinney, T. 1989. A History of WineinAmerica: From the Beginnings to Prohi-
bition. Berkeley: University of California Press.
. 2005. A History of WineinAmerica: From Prohibition to the Present.
Berkeley: University of California Press.
Pitte, J. R., and B. DeBevoise. 2008. Bordeaux/Burgundy: A
high a latitude. Though it is powerfully
FROM THE DISCOVERY TO THE REVOLUTION
A modern rendering of the
joyous moment at which Tyrker
the German found grapes grow-
ing in Vinland. The episode begins the history of
wineinAmerica; the questions surrounding it
will probably never be satisfactorily answered.
(Drawing by Frederick Trench Chapman in Einer
Haugen, Voyages to Vinland )
tempting to believe that the Vikings really did discover grapes in their Vinland, the
evidence is all against them unless we suppose that the climate of the region was
., 6 (1858)^275.
34. Charles Mackay, Illustrated London News, 20 March 1858, p. 297. Catawba has had a singular
success among the poets. In addition to the effusions of Longfellow and Mackay, another, by one
William Fosdick, appeared in the Cincinnati Daily Commercial of n December 1855: the poet apos-
trophizes the grape as, among other things, "the rarest of all vines the fair Catawba."
35. Isabella Trotter, First Impressions of the New World on Two Travellers from the Old (London,
1859), p. 207.
36. W. J. Flagg, "WineinAmerica, and American Wine," Harper