April 17, 1385: Marchesi Antinori was established in Italy. The Antinori family had been related to the property since the late 1100s, but only formally began the commercial winery this year when Giovanni di Piero Antinori became a Florentine Winemakers’ Guild member.
April 17, 1876: This day marked the beginning of the Catalpa Rescue, the escape of six prisoners affiliated with the Irish Republican Brotherhood (Fenians) from the Convict Establishment – a British Penal Colony in Western Australia. Many of those involved would later have wines named after them. A particular example is Boyle O’Reilly, an Irishman, who had joined the Fenians in 1864. He contributed to the plan for the rescue. There is now a standard red mix wine named “O’Reilly”. Another dark mix wine popularly known as “Banished” is named after James Wilson – another Fenian. He was caught in 1866 and convicted for desertion & mutinous behavior and condemned to death. However, his sentence was reduced to life in servitude in 1867.
April 17, 1998: On this day, Sour Grapes, a wine documentary, was released. Sour Grapes delves into the world of fake wine auctions through the eyes of Rudy Kurniawan, a notorious imposter in the wine market. Kurniawan contaminated the world’s most costly wines in his home lab for years until he was exposed by a Burgundy winegrower.
April 17, 2016: On this day, The French winemakers emptied all of the Spanish wine tankers after stopping Spanish tankers at the border between France and Spain. They did this on the pretext that inexpensive wine from Spain and Italy represented unfair competition.
April 17, 2020: On this day, Clos Apalta‘s 20th anniversary vintage 2017 was recognized as one of the 100 best wines of 2020 by acclaimed wine critic James Suckling.
April 17, 2022: International Malbec Day. Malbec is a 2,000-year-old black grape with thick skin whose color is so dark and inky that it’s practically impenetrable, earning it the moniker “Black Wine.” Argentina now produces over 75% of all Malbec grapes, and April 17 is designated as World Malbec Day.
For more dates in wine history, click here.