September 26, 1843: On this day, Thomas Volney Munson was born in Astoria, Illinois. Munson was an American horticulturist who spent most of his life documenting native American grapes. His work had a significant impact on the wine industry beyond the United States, as he helped European vine growers recover from the phylloxera disaster, and other waves of parasites. For his part in saving the vineyards of France, the French government conferred upon him the Chevalier du Mérite Agricole (Order of Agricultural Merit), at the time the second highest nominal merit in France besides the Legion of Honour. For more on Munson’s life, visit the Texas State Historical Association website.
September 26, 1970: On this day, Paul Draper was born. Draper’s 1971 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon placed fifth at the Judgment of Paris wine tasting, despite the fact that he had no formal training in winemaking. His red wine then placed first at the 2006 rematch. Draper served as the chief winemaker at Ridge Vineyards since 1969, up until his retirement in 2016. For more on the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, see our other posts.
September 26, 1986: On this day, Arkansas Mountain AVA was approved and established in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. It is one of the largest Viticultural Areas in America.
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