August 12, 1712: Karl Jacob Weber was born in the town of Arth in Switzerland. Weber initially trained as an architect and an engineer, but he subsequently became involved in the excavation of numerous archaeological sites in southern Italy which had been buried under volcanic ash nearly seventeen centuries earlier when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Weber would go on to become a senior figure in this work and led the first scientific excavations of the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in the 1750s. For instance, he and his team began to make the first discoveries concerning the wine industry in the famed Roman town of Pompeii, a major center of viticulture in Italy during the early imperial period. In time the Swiss man’s work and those who followed after him have allowed for the reconstruction of how wine was produced and consumed in this part of southern Italy during the first century AD, adding enormously to our understanding of the viticulture of the Roman Empire. For more, see Rediscovering Antiquity: Karl Weber and the Excavation of Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabiae by Christopher Charles Parslow (Cambridge, 1995).
August 12, 1823: On this day, Ulysse Ribéreau-Gayon was born. In the late 19th century, Ulysse Ribéreau-Gayon assisted Louis Pasteur in his work before moving to Bordeaux, where he helped refine the “Bouillie Bordelaise” copper combination that was used to combat the then-rampant downy mildew. After serving as Louis Pasteur’s assistant in the late 19th century, Ribéreau-Gayon relocated to Bordeaux.
August 12, 1994: On this day, the geographical indication system for alcoholic beverages was first used in Japan following The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights.
August 12, 2009: Peruvian Pisco was recognized by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board in India on this day, making its debut in their national market.
August 12, 2020: On this day, The Santa Rita Hills AVA began its 20th anniversary celebration. The Santa Rita Hill AVA was established on July 26, 2001. During the celebrations, a homage was dedicated to the Sanford & Benedict vineyard, the first vineyard planted in the Santa Rita Hills AVA. The culmination of the annual Wine and Fire festivities was Grand Tasting, which took place at the picturesque La Purisima Mission, situated just outside of Lompoc’s Santa Rita Hills.
August 12, 2021: On this day, Howard Soon won the Canadian Winemaker of the Year, 2021 award. Howard was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of British Columbia before going on to complete an MBA at the University of Manitoba. Due to his contributions to the wine industry, he was appointed a member of the Order of Canada (C.M.). Soon worked at Sandhill Wines for just under four decades, receiving an Award of Distinction from the BC Wine Institute. He is the first winemaker in history to win all three of the top awards at the Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards.
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