August 28, 1784: Junipero Serra, the so-called Apostle of California, died at the Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in California. Between the late 1760s and the early 1780s, Serra led the Franciscan mission to California which eventually saw over twenty religious missions established between San Diego and San Francisco to convert the Native Americans of the region, though some of these were established after Serra’s death. At one of these, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Serra and his followers planted the first vineyards in California in the late 1770s using ‘Mission Grape’, a type of grape varietal which had originally been brought to the Americas from Spain in the sixteenth century. By the time of Serra’s death, the Franciscans were producing their sacramental wine in California. Thus, while the product probably couldn’t rival the vintages of Napa Valley today, the Franciscans were the founders of viticulture in California and Junipero Serra was the mastermind of their arrival there. His legacy is controversial, as he presided over the violent conversion and subjugation of Indigenous peoples for the sake of the Spanish Empire and church.. For more, see Junipero Serra: California’s Founding Father by Steven W. Hackel, and Irving McKee’s ‘The Beginnings of California Winegrowing’, in The Quarterly: Historical Society of Southern California, Vol. 29, No. 1 (March 1947), pp. 59–71.

August 28, 1944: This day marked the beginning of the three-day period during which General Patton’s Third American Army liberated the wine regions of Epernay and Rheims from German occupation.

August 28, 1999: Marvin Sands, American businessman and the founder of Constellation Brands passed away. Constellation Brands is a renowned wine-producing company that was founded in 1945. It ranked among the most prominent wine companies globally in terms of sales volume.

August 28, 2002: On this day, Yantai Wine in the Shandong Province of China received its Geographic Indication protection. Wine has a lengthy history in the city of Yantai. In 1892, China’s first wine company, Changyu Pioneer Wine Company, was founded in the city, and as a result, Yantai is considered the city that gave birth to China’s wine industry.

August 28, 2020: On this day, Greenwood Winery in DeWitt closed permanently following the pandemic. By constructing a full-service wine and liquor store on the property, Tom Greenwood tried to salvage his seven-year-old suburban winery, but his efforts were short-lived. The two companies at 6475 Collamer Road were permanently shut down. Discounts were being given by Greenwood on all of its stock up until that point. The inauguration of the wine and liquor store along with Greenwood’s decision to postpone opening the restaurant/bistro this summer owing to the coronavirus epidemic were both announced in June. The seasonal cafe had been shut down, along with other events like weddings and concerts.

For more dates in wine history, click here.