May 25, 1966: On this day, Mission Hill Winery, was established in Canada. Although Travel and Leisure magazine has referred to Mission Hill as “the cornerstone of the Canadian wine tourist sector,” the winery is as well-known for its breathtaking setting in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia for the quality of its products. The valley’s five vineyards are spaced out throughout its length, and several of them are located around the valley’s glacial lakes. The valley’s different microclimates and extensive soil types create an extraordinarily broad spectrum of grape varieties.
May 25, 1973: On this day in 1973 a study was published in the journal Science which advertised to the wider academic community details of the discovery of a vineyard in the ruins of the town of Pompeii in southern Italy near Naples. The vines reported on formed part of the very considerable Roman wine industry of the Campania region prior to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius there in 79 AD and the burial of the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum under an enormous layer of volcanic ash and rock. The discovery of the vineyards in the early 1970s has allowed historians and archaeologists to reconstruct the nature of the Pompeiian wine industry and viticulture in general in this part of Italy during the heyday of the Roman Empire. Moreover, as knowledge of the Pompeiian wine industry has expanded in the decades since efforts have been undertaken to begin resurrecting the Pompeiian wine industry as it would have existed two millennia ago. For more information, see Wilhelmina F. Jashemski’s ‘Large Vineyard Discovered in Ancient Pompeii: Root and Stake Cavities Reveal Vineyard of A.D. 79’, in Science, Vol. 180, No. 4088 (25 May 1973), pp. 821–830.
May 25, 1985: On this day in 1985 the General Secretary of the Russian Communist Party and thus the head of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, introduced the ‘Measure to Overcome Drunkenness and Alcoholism’ Act. The Act was part of a wide-ranging program to stamp out rampant drunkenness in the Soviet Union, where alcoholism had become a significant problem in the 1970s and 1980s. The greater part of this was driven by vodka consumption, but a fair proportion of the booze being consumed was either wine or beer, particularly in south-western Russia near the wine producing regions of the Crimea and the Caucasus. The Act began to crack down not just on excessive vodka production and consumption but on wine production too. Ukraine’s wine industry, particularly that of the Crimea region, was severely impacted by this, and many wineries were repurposed as grape-extract plants. For more information, see Daniel Tarschys’s ‘The Success of a Failure: Gorbachev’s Alcohol Policy, 1985–88’, in Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 45, No. 1 (1993), pp. 7–25. See also Jay Bhattacharya, Christina Gathmann and Grant Miller’s ‘The Gorbachev Anti-Alcohol Campaign and Russia’s Mortality Crisis’, in American Economics Journal: Applied Economics, Vol. 5 No. 2 (April, 2013), pp. 232–260.
May 25, 2021: On this day, Home Winemaking: The Simple Way to Make Delicious Wine was published. Jack B. Keller, Jr and Daniel Pambianchi teach the process of wine making from a beginner’s perspective, showing 65 recipes with the basic principles, the necessary equipment and more.
May 25, 2022: This day is National Wine Day in the United States.
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