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cannot tell from the label or from the price whether he is get- ting the finest wine in California or the poorest bulk wine that ever was lucky enough to get by the minimum standards.77 The extent to which American wine failed to reimpose itself in the first years after Re- peal is vividly clear from an anecdote in a letter to W. V. Cruess, the leading technical au- thority on wine in California, from one of his young assistants in the Fruit Products Lab- oratory at Berkeley, Emil Mrak.78 Mrak had, for some reason, attended a convention of the American Medical


Rush, and a population shift from southern to northern California, the American wine scene changed fundamentally. Much of California’s North Coast was settled by European immigrants. More than a few of these set themselves up as farmers and nursery operators. Th ey imported a range of alimen- tary and ornamental plants from their homelands, including a large assortment of European wine grape varieties. Although zinfandel, whose European pedigree was very imperfectly understood and sometimes denied, quickly emerged as the most popular of the “new” European grape

Notes 1. The Beginnings, 1000-1700 1. D. B. Quinn, North America from Earliest Discovery to First Settlements (New York, 1977), p. 32. 2. Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America: The Northern Voyages, 4.D. 5oo- 1600 (New York, 1971), ch. 3. 3. M. L. Fernald, "Notes on the Plants of Wineland the Good," Rhodora 12 (1910): 23-25, 32-38. 4. Quinn, North America, p. 32. 5. J. R. McGrew, "A Review of the Origin of Interspecific Hybrid Grape Varieties," American Wine Society Manual no. 10 (Royal Oak, Mich., 1981), p. 2; George Ordish, The Great Wine

little later they were joined by Lam- brusco from the Italian province of Emilia-Romagna. All three became vogue wines, and were sold in huge quantities across the country.22 They were easy to drink, presented no problem in selection, and yet carried the interest of a mildly exotic commodity: Lancer’s came in an unusual terra-cotta bottle, Mateus in a bocksbeutel, a shape not used for any American wines. Lambrusco was clearly Italian. Such wines certainly helped to establish the idea that wine might be not only untroublesome but both interesting and agreeable— a big

visited the vineyard at Spring Mill where Pierre Legaux carried on the most ambitious and most promising of all the early efforts to produce an American wine. Legaux (1748 – 1827), originally from Metz, had bought the Spring Mill property in 1786 and began planting vines — all French — in 1787. He seems to have been a difficult and unlikable man, but he had a knack for public- ity. His vineyard excited wide interest, and when, in 1793, he proposed to incorporate as the Pennsylvania Vine Company the idea was well received in Philadelphia. In that same year he

127 Retrospect If, at the end of his long life, Ernest Gallo (1909 – 2007) troubled to look back over his career, what he saw was the whole extent of American wine history since its rebirth after the repeal of Prohibition at the end of 1933, the year that he went to work as a winemaker. He could take great satisfac- tion from the view, for what it showed was that, of all the many wine-mak- ing enterprises that had appeared in that dawn, his alone had survived and prospered: Roma, Petri, Italian Swiss Colony, Fruit Industries, Inglenook, Beaulieu, Larkmead

appellations for American wines has plagued the industry since the 1860's. During the period 1860 to 1900 grape growing expanded rapidly in all parts of the state—from Escondido near San Diego to Vina, Senator Stanford's huge vineyard in the north- ern Sacramento Valley. Heavy plantings were made in Sonoma and Napa counties, near Livermore, and in Fresno County. The Zinfandel was especially popular and became the most widely planted red wine variety by 1900. However, the industry soon suffered from overproduction and a period of reduced prices. This up

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Napa Vintners' sign? The Napa Valley has become America's best-known wine region for two basic and interrelated reasons. First, its leading vintners and growers have relentlessly pursued a vision of excellence. In the early years, they often fell short of that vision, but they moved forward, and in the pur- suit, they have helped to define what quality American wine might be. Second, they have not been shy in telling fellow Americans about their region and their quest. Napa's leading vintners have pursued excellence, but they have also effectively organized a

were they past their prime, but the world of American wine was changing fast. The future looked to be less in mass- market wines in fat- bellied jugs and more in A Vineyard in Napa / 31 fi ne wines that had a specifi c place and grape variety associated with them. This meant that over the next few years we’d need to replace the 30 acres of aging vineyards, while at the same time expanding our vines up onto the surrounding hillsides, where Dad believed we’d get the best quality. This forced him into the dicey task of deciding which new grape va- rieties we

, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Throw in pizzas and pasta in Argentina, pasta and roast chicken in southern Brazil, and varied regional protein and simple vegetable stews (chupe in Chile, locro in Argentina, and the heartier feijoada, a bean and meat stew, in Brazil) and you have South American everyday dining in a nutshell. The simplicity of these cuisines is at once a strength and a weakness, especially in wine country. Most travelers to South American wine country start out wanting to dine native, devouring platters of empanadas and grilled meat, washed down by bottles