July 20, 356 B.C.: On this day, Alexander the Great was born. At the height of Macedonian power, when Alexander the Great succeeded Philip in 336 BC, the major wine-producing and wine-trade centers of the Aegean began to supplement the production of “pellaea staphyle,” the indigenous grape variety of Amphipolis, close to Philippi, in Pella, the capital of the Macedonian kingdom. Significant jugs with wonderfully wrought designs inspired by wine were found in the royal tombs of Vergina that were uncovered during archaeological investigations. A bronze krater with themes from the religion of Dionysus that was found in Derveni, Thessaloniki, is another magnificent relic from that era.

July 20, 1947: On this day, Carlos Santana was born in Autlán, Mexico. The lead guitarist and front man for the band Santana, his Grammy award-winning music career has been honored by the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the International Latin Music Hall of Fame. He began producing sparkling wine with Mumm Napa in 2005, with part of the proceeds donated to his family’s charitable organization, The Milagro Foundation.

July 20, 1988: On this day, Philippe de Rothschild passed away in Paris. Among his many achievements and pursuits, this son of the aristocratic family pulled the family wine estate Château Mouton Rothschild from relatively average status in Bordeaux to become one of the most well-respected luxury wine brands in the world. He took on the operations at age twenty, and many of his innovations are in place as industry standard practices to this day, such as bottling the vintage at the vineyard prior to selling it, and having the estate maintain control over the brand marketing and label designs. For more on Philippe de Rothschild, see our other posts.

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