January 26, 1788: On this day in 1788 the First Fleet, the initial major fleet sent out by the British government to settle Australia, arrived to Botany Bay in New South Wales. This was a flotilla of eleven ships sent to establish the first permanent European settlement on Australian soil. Along the way vine cuttings were collected from the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa, where viticulture had been practiced by the Boer settlers for well over a century. With these the first efforts at viticulture in Australia were attempted following the arrival of the First Fleet, albeit with limited success. It was not until the nineteenth century that the Australian wine industry began to mature into its present shape. The day is more widely celebrated as Australia Day today, so no doubt there’s a lot of Australian wine drank to mark the arrival of the first grapes Down Under over 230 years ago every 26th of January. For more information, see Tate Adam’s The First Vines (Sydney, 2006), p. 28.

January 26, 1981: On this day, Tage Rita was born. Rita invested in Naara Aaba, a small winery, in 2017. She also solved a local problem as a result of her efforts. She’d make wine out of Kiwi, a fruit that grew prolifically in the valley where she resided. She acquired the organic fruit from her orchard and the Arunachal Pradesh Kiwi Growers Cooperative Society.

January 26, 2013: On this day, A Year in Burgundy TV show was released. The documentary film follows seven of Burgundy’s premier wine making families and explores their histories and culture.

January 26, 2018: Naples Winter Wine Festival (NWWF) was held. With over $12.8 million in live auction bids and a total of $15.3 million, the Festival maintained its position as the largest charity wine auction in the country. The 10-day trip to South Africa for two couples, along with Shari and Garen Staglin of the Staglin Family Vineyard, was a standout wine lot that fetched $520,000. 12 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Staglin Family Vineyard, dating from 2009 to 2014, were included in the lot. The organizers of the auction concurred that the cause is what mattered. Attendees were able to interact with some of the supported youngsters at the NWWF auction, which raised money for children’s mental health. According to Maria Jimenez-Lara, CEO of Naples Children & Education Foundation, “Meet the Kids Day is usually a highlight of the weekend.” It unites our community and shows how the foundation and our kind bidders have improved the lives of Collier County’s vulnerable and poor children.

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