November 21, 1799: John Dufour’s “First Vineyard” is approved by the local government in Kentucky, making his vineyard the first commercial winery in the United States. Dufour founded the Kentucky Vineyard Society with citizens of Lexington city in 1798. It was reestablished in 1981 and is still active to this day.

November 21, 1871: On this day, William Charles Winshaw was born in Kentucky, United States. In 1899, Winshaw headed to South Africa. He would later found the Stellenbosch Farmer’s Winery. Winshaw is considered a pioneer of the South African viticultural industry.

November 21, 2006: On this day, the book Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine was published. If there is a historical event that marked a before and after in the history of wine, it was the Paris Tasting of 1976, also known as the Judgment of Paris. This competition introduced the world to the importance of Napa Valley wines, as the best wine experts present chose the unknown California wines over famous French wines that were, up to that point, considered the best in the world. George M. Taber, who was the only reporter present, clarifies this story by telling firsthand the story of what happened on May 24, 1976. For more on the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, see our other posts.

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