April 13, 1743: On this day, Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. President, was born. Over the course of his study of law, he developed a love for wine, which he carried throughout his life. He built a wine cellar in his home and stayed in France for years, at which time he visited numerous wine estates. He served as George Washington’s wine advisor before becoming president.While visiting France and Italy, Jefferson was inspired to produce his own using European grape varietals. He gave Filippo Mazzei, a Florentine banker and horticulturist, 193 acres at the southern end of his estate in 1773 in exchange for vine cuttings. Despite attempts that lasted for almost ten years, pests and illnesses prevented harvests that were suitable for vintages. There are no written documents identifying the precise workers charged with grape production, but his libraries revealed that Jefferson’s slaves labored in the vines. Since information crediting slave labor was not deemed important enough to record, it is a persistent challenge for scholars to track enslaved Black people’s contributions in the wine industry throughout history.
April 13, 1819: Jeanne Alexandrine Louise Mélin was born. When her husband Alexandre died in 1860, she took over the Pommery Champagne house. She bought several limestone and chalk pits beneath Reims that had been dug out during Roman times to keep a huge quantity of wine in a temperature-controlled setting. These pits were not resigned to utilitarian purposes, as Pommery also commissioned an artist to carve a massive bas-relief sculpture of Bacchus into the wall, which helped to decorate and lure tourists to the estate.
April 13, 1993: On this day, Matt Walls was born. Award-winning freelance wine writer and consultant Matt Walls contributes frequent pieces to print and online publications, including Decanter, where he is an editor. In 2015, he won the International Wine & Spirit Competition Blogger of the Year award for his site mattwalls.co.uk, which he started in 2009. Best Newcomer at Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards for his debut book on wine titled New Voices in Food: Drink Me! While he is most known for his writing, Walls also serves as a judge at food and wine contests and advises restaurants on their wine selections. Previously, he was the UK importer of Mentzendorff’s fine wine manager, where he procured wines for The Sampler’s flagship shop in London. He focuses on the Rhône Valley, where he served as Regional Chair for the region’s Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) 2019.
April 13, 2015: On this day, the decisions from the Court of Cassation (Civil Division, Section I, April 13, 2015, number 7414) and the Milan Court of Appeal have concluded that wine and oil are comparable products for trademark law. The decision is consistent with previous cases of Italian jurisprudence. Still, it contradicts both the case law of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) and the position of the Italian Trademark Office, which holds that the goods in Classes 29 and 33 are not comparable to one another.
April 13, 2022: A philanthropic shopping event was organized by Wine Enthusiast, with 10% of all sales going to Project HOPE, worldwide health and humanitarian organization that provides access to essential medical treatment for those affected by the Ukraine crisis and around the world. Every product on the retail website, including cheeseboards, pizza platters, wine refrigerators, and furniture made from recycled wine barrels, allowed customers to donate a part of their purchases to the two-day charity event. The business will provide $25,000 to Project HOPE. Additionally, at the beginning of March, Wine Enthusiast started an employee-match campaign in which the business promises to match every donation made by employees to Sunflower of Peace. Supporting the Ukrainians impacted by the Russian military incursion is the present focus of the non-profit Sunflower of Peace Foundation.
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