January 20, 1782: On this day, Archduke John of Austria was born. During the Revolutions of 1848, Archduke John, a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, served as the imperial regent of the transient German Empire. The introduction of pinot noir to South Tyrol occurred in the late 1830s thanks to Archduke John, who had taken a particular interest in the region’s viticultural advancement. The grape also arrived in Sicily around the same time, on Etna’s southwest flank, where Barone Felice Spitaleri planted it up to 1,000 meters after testing it at various elevations for many years at his Castello Sollicchiata estate and creating 100 kilometers of stone terraces to grow French varieties, including Pinot Noir.

January 20, 1937: On this day, Richard Graff was born. A musician, Navy officer, and winemaker, he was owner of the family-run Chalone Vineyard, which ranked highly during the Judgement of Paris. Graff was an early adopter of barrel aging in California wine culture, and used other traditional techniques from France. For more on the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, see our other posts.

January 20, 1999: San Francisco Bay AVA was established. It is located at the center of the San Francisco Bay Area, extending through eight counties; Santa Clara, Alameda, Santa Cruz, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Benito, and San Mateo. The microclimates of the AVA are influenced by cooling breezes and fogs from the waters of the bay, leading to an extended ripening period. Several varietals flourish in the AVA, including Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir.

January 20, 2022: On this day, in the Western District of Texas, Mesa Vineyards LP voluntarily sought Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. The debtor was represented in court by attorney Weldon Moore who provided a mailing address of 6207 Bee Caves Road #185, Austin. Assets and liabilities for Mesa Vineyards LP totaled $9,182,887 and $6,908,454, respectively. The LP appeared to be associated with Mesa Vineyards in Fort Stockton, which produced wines including Ste. Genevieve, according to online sources. Austin Financial Services Inc., which had an unpaid claim of $957,420, was named as the filing’s largest creditor.

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