February 2, 1659: On this day in 1659 the first wine ever produced in South Africa was made by Jan Van Riebeeck, the founder and governor of the Dutch Cape Town Colony, from French Muscadel. The Dutch had only begun colonising the region around the southern tip of Africa a few years earlier, when the Dutch East India Company created its first settlement here in 1652. Van Riebeeck, a prominent navigator and official working for the East India Company, was appointed as the first Commander of the Cape Colony. His interest in viticulture ensured that wine production was quickly introduced to the region by the Dutch. However, it would not really take off until the eighteenth century, driven in part by the arrival of several hundred Protestant French viticulturists to the region in the late 1680s, fleeing religious persecution in Catholic France. In due course, the South Africa region would become one of the world’s most acclaimed regions for the production of sweet wines and in the twentieth century became a colossus of New World wine. For more information, see this article on Wines of South Africa.
February 2, 1973: The Yarra Yering winery, in Yarra Valley, Australia, was founded. Yarra Yering established an early precedent for future wineries in the Yarra Valley by garnering an immediate international reputation for quality and uniqueness.
February 2, 1985: On this day, Sally Johnson was born. She had intended to work in the biotech industry until she was introduced to the world of wine while fulfilling her university language requirements in Brittany and Paris. She’s now the winemaker for Pride Mountain Vineyards, and is known as a cheese expert and Cabernet Sauvignon specialist.
February 2, 2019: On this day, an Ontario-based manufacturer of icewine and Vintners Quality Alliance Ontario member was the applicant in the case of Royal DeMaria Wines Co. Ltd. v Lieutenant Governor in Council (VQA Ontario). As a result, the winery could not sell its remaining stock of “icewine”-labeled wines when VQA Ontario terminated its membership with Royal DeMaria and canceled its earlier certification of two previously authorized icewines. Royal DeMaria could not utilize the term “Canada’s icewine specialists” in its marketing campaigns following this ruling.
For more dates in wine history, click here.