April 23, 1809: American horticulturist Henderson William Luelling was born. He was the first to plant grapes in Oregon in 1847.
April 23, 1938: Vasiliy Tairov died at the age of 78. A Soviet and Armenian viticulturist, he studied winemaking in France, and in 1892 he founded a winemaking journal in the city of Odessa in Southern Ukraine. However, he is most known for opening, along with his cousin, Nerses Tairan, the first brandy factory in Armenia in 1887. The Yerevan Brandy Company, as they named it, quickly established a significant name for itself. The company’s Ararat brandy received the Grand Prix at the International Exposition in Paris in 1900. The judges were seemingly unaware that the alcohol was Armenian and thought it to be French. They were so impressed that even when they learned that this distilled wine hailed from the Transcaucasian region, they allowed the company to term it Cognac, a title reserved for French brandies of distinct quality. Tairov and Tairan’s efforts ensured that while Armenian wine has had varied fortunes on the international stage in modern times, distilled wine from Armenia is one of the world’s most revered brandies. For more information, see the Ararat Brandy website.
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