June 24, 1712: On this day in 1712 Simon van der Stel, the last Commander and then the first Governor of the Dutch Cape Colony in what is now South Africa, died at Constantia at the Cape. Van der Stel had been in charge of the colony for a period of twenty years between 1679 and 1699. During that period he began developing the nascent South African wine industry by supporting the migration of French Protestant winemakers to the Cape from Europe. Most of these were fleeing religious persecution in France following the issuance of the Edict of Fontainebleau by the government of King Louis XIV and the revocation of religious tolerance for Protestants in France in 1685. In his retirement van der Stel was also the crucial early figure in developing the sweet wine industry at Constantia. His work had a lasting impact. By the end of the eighteenth century the sweet wines which were being produced here were regarded as the finest in the world, equalled only by those Hungary. For more information, see Wouter Hanekom’s ‘The Simon van der Stel Festival: Constructing Heritage and the Politics of Pageantry’, in Historia, Vol. 58, No. 2 (January, 2013).

June 24, 1947: On this day Michael John Kells Fleetwood was born. Fleetwood is the front man and co-founder of the hall-of-fame band Fleetwood Mac. He owns Mick Fleetwood Private Cellar in Santa Barbara County, California.

June 24, 1959: On this day, This Earth is Mine movie was released. Rock Hudson and Jean Simmons feature in Henry King’s drama about a family of California winemakers who struggle with their history and way of life during Prohibition.

June 24, 2003: On this day, Albany Vintners Limited was established. Albany Vintners is a Cambridge-based fine wine store. It specializes in delivering good wine to trade and individual clients worldwide, combining high provenance with competitive costs. The firm provides a selection of great wines from Tuscany, Piedmont, Rioja, and Priorat, as well as wines from well-known domains in Burgundy, Champagne, and the Rhone Valley.

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