April 14 1789: On this day, Tiburcio Tapia was born. Tapia set up the first winery in California and the second oldest winery in the United States. Before venturing into the wine business, Tapia served as a soldier and politician for the Mexican government. Tapia received a land grant from Mexican governor Juan Baptista Alvarado in the present-day Rancho Cucamonga and Upland, where he established his winery. Tapia’s Rancho Cucamonga vineyard grew to be the largest in California until prohibition.
April 14, 1817: On this day in 1817 Aloysius Kranewitter was born in Innsbruck in Austria. Having joined the Society of Jesus or Jesuits in 1836, he subsequently made his way to Australia in 1848 following the expulsion of the Jesuits from many German-speaking states of Central Europe. In 1849 he and his religious followers purchased a property in the Clare Valley in southern Australia which he called Sevenhills in honour of the seven hills which ancient Rome had been built on. This became the first major centre of wine production in the Clare Valley following the planting of the first grape vines here in 1851. Within a few short years the wines being produced at Sevenhills were winning awards at the Auburn Agricultural Exhibition. The Clare Valley region would become a significant centre of viticulture in Australia. It all started here with the Jesuits under Kranewitter making sacramental wine. The Sevenhill winery today still produces wines named after esteemed members of the Society of Jesus such as the sixteenth-century preacher, Francis Xavier. For more information, see this page from Sevenhill Cellars, the entry on Clare Valley in Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine (Third Edition, Oxford, 2006), and G. J. O’Kelly’s entry ‘Kranewitter, Aloysius’, in Australian Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 5 (Melbourne, 1974).
April 14, 1847: Beginning on this date, Malbec was introduced in Argentina. The grape was brought to Argentina for the first time when a regional governor named Domingo Faustino Sarmiento ordered a French agronomic called Michel Pouget to transfer cuttings of grapevines from France to Argentina.
April 14, 1873: Leeuwin Estate Winery, Australia, was found today. The Margaret River region in Western Australia is widely recognized as one of the most successful wine-producing areas in the Southern Hemisphere. The Leeuwin Estate, one of the first wineries established in the area, is often regarded as the most prestigious in the region, with about sixty wineries. Not satisfied with producing a wine that is known all over the world for its lush vineyard with a cold environment.
April 14, 1882: On this day, Chateau Montelena, California, was established. It was originally named after the winery’s founder Alfred Tubbs. The winery’s original purpose was to serve as a facility for aging wine in barrels. The replanting of the Estate vineyard in 1972 marked the beginning of the winery’s resurrection, which James Barrett led. This took place during the same year. The 1973 Chardonnay ranked exceptionally well at the Judgement of Paris. Following this success, the release of Chateau Montelena in 1976 catapulted California to the forefront of the global wine industry.
April 14, 1895: On this day, Tannat Day was began in Uruguay. Uruguay commemorates Tannat Day to honor the death of winemaker Pascual Harriague, in 1894. Harriague began cultivating Tannat in Uruguay in the 1870s and received international acclaim for the wines after exhibiting them at European wine exhibitions.
April 14 1933: On this day, Georges Duboeuf was born in Creches-sur-Saone, France. Duboeuf was awine merchant from France and founder of one of France’s largest wine retailers, Les Vins Georges Duboeuf. He is known for popularizing the production of Beaujolais wines. Duboeuf was raised in Maconnais, Burgundy, and became a revered negociant.
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