October 21, 1914: On this day in 1914 the ruler of Russia, Tsar Nicholas II, ordered a total ban on the production and sale of vodka throughout the country for as long as the First World War lasted. By that time, as a result of state laws that encouraged the production and drinking of domestic liquor, and the reduced amount of wine that had been available in Russia since the 1860s owing to the phylloxera blight, vodka had risen to become the main tipple of choice in Russia. This is curious, as before the phylloxera blight French wine had been the drink of choice of the Russian aristocracy and upper middle class. The ban by Nicholas in 1914 was meant to curb drunkenness within the army and also save on grain and other commodities which would be needed as the war dragged on. Thus, the vodka ban of 1914 was in many ways a direct offshoot of the impact of the phylloxera blight on drinking habits in Eastern Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century. For more, see Volodimir Pechenuk’s ‘Temperance and Revenue Raising: The Goals of the Russian State Liquor Monopoly, 1894–1914’, in New Zealand Slavonic Journal, No. 1 (1980), pp. 35–48.

October 21, 1983: Chalk Hill AVA was legally established. Chalk Hill derives its name from its chalk-like soils. The AVA is located in the Russian River Valley, but its diverse characteristics, including a warmer climate, ancient volcanic ash, and chalky soils, differentiate it from other AVAs in the Russian River Valley. Chalk Hill AVA is also known for its mineral-rich wines. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are among the prominent grape varieties there. The AVA comprises 1495 vineyard acres and five wineries “located on the western slopes of the Mayacamas mountains.”

October 21, 1983: Knights Valley AVA was legally recognized. Knights Valley is located between Napa Valley and Alexander Valley AVA borders, right at the base of Mt. St. Helena. Varietals that flourish in this AVA include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Bordeaux varietals. The subregion is the most remote among Sonoma wine sub-regions with rugged roads. It also boasts better wines and scenery. Its long sunny days and rich volcanic soils make Cabernet Sauvignon the dominant varietal in the AVA.

October 21, 1983: Russian River Valley was legally recognized as an AVA. Russian River Valley AVA is famous for producing one of the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. Its cool climate and coastal fog from the Pacific Ocean differentiate it from most AVAs in the Sonoma region. The cool climate allows grapes’ slow ripening, leading to balanced acidity and complexity. The evening fog drops the temperature up to 40 degrees compared to the daytime temperature. The diurnal temperature changes allow for full flavor maturity and extended growing seasons. In 2005 the AVA expanded after considering previously overlooked fog regions. Currently, the AVA boasts more than 13000 acres and more than 90 wineries.

October 21, 2004: On this day, the movie Wine for the Confused was released. Hosted by comedian John Cleese, it is intended to serve as an introduction to wine and the wine industry for those who may not know much about it.

October 21, 2008: On this day, Singapore Wine Fiesta was introduced. This is Singapore’s biggest outdoor wine festival, and it takes place every October. The riverfront restaurant offers exquisite dishes to go with more than 300 wines from across the globe. Award-winning Provence Rose, wonderful German Riesling, and even British sparkling wine from London are all available for you to sample. The Wine Circle is a collection of no-cost winemaker presentations and led tastings with producers.

October 21, 2013: On this day, Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World’s Most Ancient Pleasures was published. Wine throughout history has changed in terms of its manufacturing methods, therefore the art of being a winemaker has evolved and today is related to science and technology. Author Paul Lukacs shows how this came to be and traces the history of wine’s development as both social signifier and location-specific luxury.

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