August 2, 1828: The Tokaji wine crisis began on this day. In the beginning, the presence of American railway ties between the eastern and mid-western seaboards made it possible for affordable American grain to become plentiful in the market in Europe. This was made possible by the transportation of goods at a faster rate. However, this new surplus marked a drop in prices that severely damaged Hungary’s wine market. The phylloxera epidemic that swept over much of Europe at this time coincided with this event, wreaking havoc on vineyards throughout the continent and obliterating the local varieties that Hungary had to offer. Even through the Cold War period, they suffered from a poor reputation and saw their market share in the countries previously part of the Eastern Bloc decrease. In the past few decades, native Hungarians have worked rigorously to restore their country’s historically rich wine culture.
August 2, 1920: Charles Luciano saw a golden opportunity after the enactment of Prohibition. Because of his bootlegging activities, Luciano gained a net worth of more than twelve million dollars. Luciano and his associates managed the most successful bootlegging business in New York City, extending its reach to the neighboring states of New Jersey and Philadelphia. The three mobster families of Luciano, Genovese, and Costello were responsible for importing Scotch Whisky and Rum from the Caribbean and Whisky via the Canadian border.
August 2, 1951: On this day, Reynaldo Robledo Sr. was born. He is the founder of Robledo Family Winery alongside his wife María de La Luz Robledo. The two of them developed the winery and vineyard and have taught their nine children how to work every step of the process. Their son Everardo is the current CEO, and many of their sons hold other business positions, carrying on the family tradition.
August 2, 1925: On this day Margrit Kellenberger was born in Switzerland. She was a businesswoman who worked at Robert Mondavi Winery, serving as the Vice President of Cultural Affairs. After over ten years of working together, she married Robert Mondavi and took on his last name. She established an arts program that transformed Napa Valley’s reputation into a destination for tourists and locals alike. She passed away in 2016 and is remembered as an ardent ambassador of America’s wine.
August 2, 2013: On this day, hail storms decimated vineyards in Bordeaux. The violent hailstorm that hit the region on August 2 damaged roughly 20,000 hectares of land, completely destroying several vineyards. For a full account, see this archived article from The Guardian.
August 2, 2015: Ashrita Furman of Jamaica, New York used a 13-inch “Arabian saber” to open 66 wine bottles in one minute and set a new Guinness World Record. A month later, another exciting sabering event took place in Mendrisio, Switzerland to raise money for a local first aid service. They too set a Guinness World Record, for the largest crowd to saber bottles simultaneously: 487.
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