April 2, 1767: On this day in 1767 the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain’s massive territories across the Americas began. This was undertaken on the orders of King Charles III of Spain and followed similar efforts by the Papacy, France and others to suppress the Society of Jesus back in Europe. The resulting crackdown saw the wine industry across the lands of the Spanish Empire, which had been extensively developed by the Jesuits in countries like Argentina, Chile and Peru since the late sixteenth century, highly damaged. For two centuries most of the viticulture which had been practised from Mexico south to Argentina and Chile had been driven by the Jesuits who needed sacramental wine to carry out their missionary work and to celebrate the mass. As a result, the suppression of the Jesuits across Spain’s vast American empire completely changed the viticultural landscape of the Americas for decades to come. For more information, see Christine Vogel’s The Suppression of the Society of Jesus, 1758–1773 (Mainz, 2011).

April 2, 1900: On this day, Robert Koch was the first person to show that bacteria recovered from one wine might reduce the acidity of another wine when they were introduced into it. This landmark accomplishment was a significant step forward in developing the science behind wine fermentation in the modern world.

April 2, 1941: On this day, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, also known as the C.I.V.C. (Vignerons et Maisons de Champagne), was founded to manage the Champagne wine area under the government. In place of the Bureau de Contact, it delivered rare or limited-supply raw materials during World War II and acted as a middleman in the planning of delivery to the Germans.

April 2, 1986: On this day, the Lodi area was finally accorded its due respect, and vintners were granted permission to include the Lodi Appellation on their bottles. There are now more than 85 wineries in the Lodi area and seven unique sub-appellations, and the region is particularly well-known for its Zinfandels.

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