October 3, 1226: Francis of Assisi died while in his mid-forties. This Italian mystic and religious leader was quickly canonized as a saint by Pope Gregory IX just two years later. Francis had developed a new type of religious order during his lifetime which soon came to be known as the Franciscans after their founder. The Franciscans stressed the need for the holy to take a vow of poverty and lead an austere lifestyle as Jesus had. The order was largely founded on the belief that the Benedictines, the religious order who had dominated European monastic life for centuries, had become too worldly and material. Over the centuries that followed, the Franciscans would go on to play a significant role in the development of viticulture in both the Old World and the New, particularly in regions such as Texas, New Mexico, and California in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. For more information, see John Richard Humpidge Moorman’s A History of the Franciscan Order: From Its Origins to the Year 1517 (Rome, 1988).
October 3, 1842: On this day, Isaias Hellman was born in Reckendorf, Germany. Hellman was raised in Germany but moved to Los Angeles, United States, in 1859, where he became the city’s first banker and helped to found the University of Southern California. Hellman bought Rancho Cucamonga after it fell into foreclosure and transformed it by selling some of it and attracting investors to invest in its wine production. Under Hellman, Rancho Cucamonga became highly profitable until the prohibition period. In the 1970s, a number communities which had developed on the land unified into the city of Rancho Cucamonga.
October 3, 1940: On this day, Éric de Rothschild was born. In 1973, he succeeded his uncle Baron Elie Robert de Rothschild as manager of Château Lafite Rothschild, a role which he holds to this day. He guided the estate to recovery from its difficult years in the early-mid 1970s.
October 3, 1990: On this day, on its former territory, five new federated states joined the Federal Republic of Germany, ending the existence of the German Democratic Republic. East and West Berlin reunited as a full-fledged federated city-state and joined the Federal Republic. With the unification of Germany, Sachsen and Saale-Unstrut were added, bringing the total number of wine-growing districts to thirteen.
October 3, 2013: On this day, the Mission Hill Family Estate competed against the best in the world and took first place as the “World’s Best Pinot Noir” in the under-£15 category at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London, England. In 2013, the competition received entries from more than 14,000 wines from 61 different countries. For the first time, a single wine variety (red or white) from any location in the globe received both a Regional Trophy for “Best Wine” and an International Trophy for “World’s Best Wine” at the Decanter Awards. This prize was given to Mission Hill 2011 Martin’s Lane Pinot Noir.
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