October 12, 1710: On this day, Thomas Michel Lynch was born in the town of Bordeaux. He was the son of John Lynch, a leading figure in the mercantile community of Galway in Ireland in the seventeenth century. In the early 1690s, Lynch left Ireland, fleeing the increasing persecution of Roman Catholics in his native country, and settled in Bordeaux. Many years later his son Thomas married Elisabeth Drouillard, the daughter of Pierre Drouillard, a major business figure in Bordeaux. Pierre had died in 1735, years before Thomas and Elisabeth’s wedding, at which time Elisabeth had inherited a large wine estate from her father near the village of Bages overlooking the Gironde Estuary. In due course, Thomas Lynch came into possession of the vineyard which he built up into a successful winery named Chateau Lynch-Bages, one which produced some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignons in France. Chateau Lynch-Bages remained in his family’s ownership for nearly a century and stands as one of the major contributions of the Irish Wine Geese to the French wine industry. For more information, see Francois D’Arcy’s ‘Galway Tribes in Bordeaux in the 18th Century: D’Arcy, Lynch, Kirwan, French’, in The Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, Vol. 68 (2016), pp. 28–63, at pp. 36–40.

October 12, 2004: Pinot Noir featured heavily in the film adaptation of Rex Pickett’s Sideways, directed by Alexander Payne. Since the publication of Sideways, and its cult status film release, there has been a noticeable movement in customer favor away from Merlot and toward Pinot Noir in the years 2005 and 2006.

October 12, 2005: On this day, a warehouse fire in Vallejo, California, damaged vintage wine valued at millions of dollars. According to reports, there were 6 million bottles kept there. Shortly thereafter, investigators announced that the fire had been set on purpose. Mark Anderson, a Sausalito businessman, was suspected of causing the fire and in 2009 he was found guilty of arson (among 18 other crimes). On February 7, 2012, Anderson was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

October 12 2010: On this day, JamesSuckling.com website was founded. JamesSuckling.com is the culmination of my four decades as a journalist and wine critic. The blog is about the best wines in the world, like those from Italy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Australia, New Zealand, California, Chile, and Argentina. It has tasting notes, videos, blogs, and events

October 12, 2016: On this day, Willcox AVA was finally certified in the state of Arizona after being announced on the 12th of September of the same year. The region is bordered largely by mountains and is one of the primary viticultural areas in Arizona.

October 12, 2020: On this day, Taras Ochota, one of Australia’s most influential and beloved modern winemakers, passed away. Ochota was the proprietor and winemaker at Ochota Barrels, a small, family-run winery in Basket Range, a portion of South Australia’s Adelaide Hills that has grown to be, in large part as a result of Ochota’s influence, a hotspot of natural winemaking in Australia. Ochota, who is widely regarded as a contemporary wine pioneer, was renowned for producing wines with little to no intervention that were precise, energizing, reliable, and of moderate alcohol content. No one in Australia, according to James Erskine of Jauma Wines, another early pioneer from Basket Range, rode the wave between “minimum intervention/natural” wine types and more conventional styles better than Taras. The long-time U.S. importer of Ochota, Ronnie Sanders, claims that Taras was the first winemaker in South Australia in the modern period to harvest early and still obtain plenty of wonderful flavors.

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