June 15, 1873: On this day, John Reynell died. An immigrant from England named John Reynell established himself in South Australia as a wheat farmer, sheep and cattle breeder, vigneron, and winemaker. Reynell was born in Ilfracombe, Devon, in 1809 to a farming family. In the 14th century, the Reynell family settled in East Ogwell, Devon. He traveled to South Australia in October 1838 aboard the Surrey with his cousin Samuel Reynell, settling on land some 20 kilometers south of Adelaide’s main settlement, close to what would later become known as McLaren Vale. Reynell is credited with founding South Australia’s first commercial vineyard and winery by sowing grape cuttings he had bought at the Cape of Good Hope in 1839. According to other reports, he established the first vineyard with 500 Tasmanian cuttings in 1841 and began producing wine in 1843. Thomas Hardy, a young man who later rose to reputation as a winemaker, was hired by Reynell to assist him in caring for the vineyards. They eventually grew to be the region’s biggest wine producers. 1842 saw the creation of the first vintage. He constructed the Old Cave basement in 1845, and it is still there today. Claret and burgundy were first exported to New Zealand thanks to him.
June 15, 1952: On this day, René Renou was born in France. Renou was a winemaker and former president of the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine, in which he held controversial views regarding the need to simplify France’s appellation system. He was in the Légion d’Honneur and the Ordre du Mérite Agricole. Renou founded the René Renou winery. He passed away in 2006.
June 15, 2018: On this day, A Life in Wine was published. Written by legendary wine expert Steven Spurrier, the book follows his experiences in the world of wine. From founding the Académie du Vin to organizing the Judgment of Paris, few in the wine industry have been part of as many formative events and institutions as Spurrier. For more on Steven Spurrier, click here; for more on the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, see our other posts.
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