October 18, 1570: On this day Manuel de Nóbrega, a Portuguese Jesuit priest and first Provincial of the Society of Jesus in colonial Brazil died in the colony of Rio de Janeiro. De Nóbrega was an extremely influential figure in the early development of Brazil under Portuguese rule and the evolution of the Jesuit presence there. For instance, it was under his leadership that Jesuit missions were established in many coastal regions which went on to form the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Recife, and Salvador. The immense power which the Jesuit missions enjoyed in Brazil down to the eighteenth century also began under his watch. This has considerable significance for the history of viticulture in Brazil, for it was the Jesuit missions that led the production of wine in the vast Portuguese colony between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, notably in the south of the country. Thus, de Nóbrega has a claim to being one of the founders of the Brazilian wine industry. For more information, see Thomas Cohen’s ‘Who is my neighbour?: The missionary ideals of Manuel de Nóbrega’, in Joseph A. Gagliano and Charles E. Ronan (eds), Jesuit Encounters in the New World (Rome, 1997).
October 18, 1923: On this day, Mauricio González-Gordon y Díez was born. As a fifth generation member of the family business and the Marquis of Bonanza, he grew González Byass, already one of the most recognizable bodega names in the Spanish wine industry, into a globally respected supplier of sherry. He was also an avid ornithologist and conservationist. He passed away in 2013.
October 18, 1939: On this day, Michael Keller Ditka was born. In addition to his Hall-of-Fame college football and professional football career, he has his own wine brand, Mike Ditka Wines, which produces award winning wines in Mendocino County, California.
October 18, 1991: Benmore Valley AVA was established. It is located in the southwestern part of Lake County, elevated between 2400 and 2700ft above sea level. The AVA is cooler than the neighboring regions and boasts alluvial loam soils. Its grape of choice is Chardonnay.
October 18, 2009: On this day, Rupi del Vino was released. This documentary directed by Ermanno Olmi and Giacomo Gatti pays homage to the landscapes, traditions, and architectural legacy of the Valtellina region’s wine making tradition.
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