August 20, 1153: On this day, Bernard of Clairvaux died. Saint Bernard, also known as Bernard of Clairvaux, O. Cist., was a Burgundian abbot and an important figure in the Cistercian Order’s early efforts to revive Benedictine monasticism. He was responsible for building the Maison Drappier Cistercian wine cellars in 1116. He brought the Morillon Noir grape variety—a descendant of Pinot—from Burgundy and had numerous wine cellars constructed, one of which was in Urville, a suburb of Bavin-Sainte Eulalie, in 1152. The mighty Clairvaux Abbey, established by the Holy Saint Bernard, whose influence spanned all of medieval Europe, owned everything. Due to the scarcity and high expense of glass at the time of his death in 1153, annual wine output had increased to almost 600,000 liters. Casks were still the primary shipping method for most wine at that time.

August 20, 1905: On this day, Frank Musselman Schoonmaker was born in Spearfish, South Dakota. Schoonmaker established himself in the wine industry by writing travel stories in Europe towards the end of Prohibition. During his travels in France, he met Raymond Baudoin, then the esteemed editor behind La Revue du Vin de France, and swiftly became his wine protégé.

August 20, 1949: Christian Vannequé was born on this day. He was a French sommelier and restaurateur who worked his way up from cellar assistant to head sommelier at the three Michelin-starred restaurant Tour d’Argent, becoming France’s youngest head sommelier at the age of 20. He was an expert wine taster at the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting and also took part in the Paris 30th Anniversary Judgment. For more on the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, see our other posts.

August 20, 1959: On this day, Egon Müller IV was born in Germany. He was a former Geisenheim University of Applied Sciences student. He owns and runs Weingut Egon Müller, Scharzhof, located just outside Wiltingen, as the family’s sixth-generation winemaker.

August 20, 1982: On this day, Isle St. George AVA was established on the island of the same name in Lake Erie, only 1 mile from the Canadian water border. The state of Ohio officially owns most of the island to preserve the industry, with a small number of permanent residents cultivating and harvesting its grapes.

August 20, 2022: Pinot noir is usually harvested in California in the last third of August each year. In France, pinot noir is usually harvested between the 2nd to 12th of September.

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