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A History

(Capsi- cum spp.) used to season Italian dishes and the chocolate (Theobroma cacao) in tiramisu are New World introductions, peppers having been domesticated roughly six thousand years ago in Mexico, and chocolate originating as an unsweetened beverage in Mesoamerica in the second millennium BC. While it may be hard for some Italians to accept the idea that most of their cuisine was developed during the colonial era rather than in the banquet halls of ancient Rome, an even more surprising revelation is that modern Italian wine grapes grow not on centuries

support in their communities and in the church hierarchy for the strike and boycott. Although debates raged as to the precise impact of the boycott on grape sales—and it varied widely from place to place—there can be no doubt it served a crucial function in the strike. the bigger they are. . . Th e two biggest growers in the Delano area, Schenley and DiGiorgio, were the most vulnerable to the boycott. Both companies were owned by corpo- rate entities with headquarters far from Delano. For each company grape growing was a relatively minor part of a larger economic

grapes grow and which impart unique tastes—proved essential. Although the common hop could be found across Europe, individual regions had unique plants that had adapted to distinctive climates, elevations, and soils. Such variations are called landraces. Beer makers and agriculturalists selected the hardiest and most productive of these, as well as those that off ered the best qualities in fl avoring and preserving beer. Along with the use of local grains and yeasts, the hop selection contributed to regionally specifi c beers. Th e fi rst German hops under

of the history and nature of the valley. The interplay between fans and lowlands shapes much of the diversity of the valley floor. Alluvial fans provide slightly higher, well-drained ground—the famous grape-growing “benches”—before dissipating into the floodplains and lowlands along the Napa River. Towns and roads were mostly built on the fans, safely above major floods. The relatively porous fans percolate water into the groundwater basin—water which reemerges in the lowlands to support perennial streams and wetlands. In contrast, the lowlands are more

more commonly helps to create Cabernets. In the lower Napa Valley, early visitors first encountered grand oak savannas, lush year-round wetlands, broad riparian forests, and distinctive vernal pool complexes. Numerous creeks converged into the valley from the steep foothills. Many of them spread into seasonally wet meadows; others, such as Napa and Milliken creeks, had sufficient power to carve channels all the way to the river. Dry Creek, an important steelhead stream, created the Oak Knoll bench, one of the most important alluvial fans for grape growing

would blame malnutrition.30 “For settlers on the Tejon there was not as much as a mess of greens to be raised or gathered. . . . There was no butter,” and canned milk had to be “diluted with stale water from a dry-season waterhole.”31 They ate mostly rabbits and venison, purchased from the grizzly-looking “derelicts” they more generously called “Mountain Men.” Mary, who could not bring herself to eat canned food or game, stumbled one day on a profusion of wild grapes growing in a canyon, and after a week’s gorging began to revive. “Malnutrition” seems the perfect

his teenage years that he would follow a similar path. He attended prep school on a track for agricul- tural studies, and eventually earned his college degrees from the same univer- sity as his uncle. Th is included a doctorate in plant production and wheat breeding by the time he was twenty-two. Th e whole time, even though he lived within hours of the most prolifi c noble-hop-producing areas in the world, he never once encountered the plant in his studies. Th e agricultural landscape of his childhood featured viticulture, or grape growing.25 Haunold’s early

monastery and the lay people acted as laborers—or indeed as slaves—or whether the lay people controlled pro- duction and sold on to the monastery is difficult to ascertain.66 Elsewhere in the Buddhist world we see monasteries in control of the flour mills and oil presses needed by the local community and also acting as banks, making loans with considerable interest.67 Grapes grow wild in the valley, and grape juice production in the area is attested by the discovery of twenty tanks found at high altitude in local val- leys. It is estimated these could have produced

considered favorable for grape growing.49 The need to have wine for Communion might well have been an impor- tant motivation for cultivating vineyards, but little wine was necessary for this purpose. Early medieval Christians rarely took Communion, and church authorities often suggested that three times a year was an accepta- ble minimum. If every Christian who turned up to Communion took a sip of wine, the volume required would still have been negligible. Cathedrals, religious houses, bishops, and other church entities and clergy produced far more wine than was