January 27, 335: On this day, Saint Nino was born. Tradition has it that Saint Nino, a Christian missionary in Kartli, carried a cross constructed of vine wood. For generations, and still today in some regions, Georgians drank wine made from the horns (known as kantsi in Georgian) and skins of their herd animals. Cleaning, boiling and polishing the horns produced a distinctive and robust drinking cup.
January 27, 1757: On in this day in 1757 one James D’Arcy died in the Bordeaux region of western France. James was a member of the D’Arcy mercantile and political family of the city of Galway in western Ireland. He had settled in Bordeaux at some stage in the 1740s, perhaps having moved from Nantes where the D’Arcy family had already set down roots as an Irish émigré family. Following his arrival in Bordeaux he began acquiring a prominent position within the Bordeaux wine trade, establishing extensive connections with Irish wine merchants who paid substantially less customs duty on French wine than did their British counterparts in the eighteenth century. From there the Irish merchants transported Bordeaux wine into Britain, at a cheaper rate than British merchants could acquire it. Thus, figures like D’Arcy established a leading position for merchants of Irish descent living in Bordeaux to dominate much of the wine trade in northern Europe during the second half of the eighteenth century. For more information, see Charles C. Luddington’s ‘Inventing Grand Cru Claret: Irish Wine Merchants in Eighteenth-Century Bordeaux’, in Global Food History, Vol. 5, Nos 1–2 (2019), pp. 25–44.
January 27, 1981: On this day, the Napa Valley AVA was established. It is the oldest certified viticultural area in California, and its long complex history has led to it being one of the most well-respected wine regions across the globe.
January 27, 1989: Stags Leap District was founded. This appellation is home to California’s historic wineries. The appellation hosts the Fay Vineyard, which produced grape juice to produce wine that won the 1976 Paris blind wine tasting competition. Interestingly, because of its unique soils, it was also the first appellation recognized. Most of the soils in the Stags Leap District AVA are made up of volcanic and river sediments. Despite being relatively smaller, the appellation boasts 1200 acres of planted vineyards. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety in this subregion.
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