April 12, 1204: Constantinople was captured by the Crusaders over three days. The capital of the Empire was moved to Nicaea, Bithynia, where the traveler Nikolaos Messaritis first refers to Monemvasios oenos, subsequently known as Malvasias wine. The church of Aghios Tryphon, the patron saint of vintners, was also rebuilt at Nicaea in 1258. Aghios Tryphon, the patron saint of vintners, has been regularly honored in Greece ever since.
April 12, 1548: On this specific day, Can Bonastre, in Spain, was established as a winery and Hotel.
April 12, 1861: On this day in 1861 the American Civil War broke out in the United States when the South Carolina militia attacked Fort Sumter near Charleston. The war and its social and political implications are well-known, but it also had suprising economic effectd. For instance, the war had a major impact on the Peruvian wine industry, which had grown to a substantial size, first under Spanish rule in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and then during the early days of independence in the nineteenth century. With cotton production dramatically declining in the southern states of the US as the war raged between 1861 and 1865, there was suddenly lots of money to be made in countries like Peru by repurposing vineyards as cotton fields. Thus, in the course of the early 1860s Peru’s wine industry was largely dismantled as farmers switched to cotton cultivation, a situation which is only being remedied now over a century and a half later as the Peruvian wine industry re-emerges.
April 12, 1917: The United States of America joins the World War I. In an attempt to preserve the country’s food during wartime, Congress approved the Food and Fuel Act. This ordinance mase it unlawful to distill alcohol and create alcoholic beverages.
April 12, 1922: Charles F. Drawert was born on this day. Drawert classified the chemistry of winemaking as an extensive metabolism of the materials, starting with the grape and finishing with wine. His work identified that this process began and ended with the grape.
April 12, 1936: On this day, Jean-Claude Vrinat was born. Vrinat was known for running his legendary restaurant, Taillevent, which is regarded by many as the pinnacle of French cuisine. The restaurant was established in 1946 by his father. Vrinat, after becoming a wine expert, later devoted his life to the restaurant, managing it for more than 30 years. Taillevent has received up to three Michelin stars for its exemplary service, and especially its wines.
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