Posted on Leave a comment

The Month of August

This Day In Wine History The Month of August

August 1248: During this time, Château de Goulaine began its wine journey as the de Goulaine family produced wines for their personal consumption. Eventually they turned commercial and became France’s oldest continuously operational winery, the second oldest in the world after Staffelter Hof. It is the earliest castle in the Loire Valley and can be found close to Nantes.

August 1678: Burgundy was incorporated into the Kingdom of France. The Duchy of Burgundy was transferred to the French monarchy in 1477. After having a shaky relationship with the Holy Roman Empire (and at times being independent, thus the name “Franche-Comté”), the County of Burgundy was ultimately united with France in 1678 by the Treaties of Nijmegen. Burgundy was a site of some of the significant cathedrals and monasteries in Western civilization all through the Middle Ages, including Cluny, Citeaux, and Vézelay. After Burgundy was incorporated into the Kingdom of France and the church’s power waned, many vineyards it controlled were sold to the bourgeoisie.

August 1714: In this month, King George I’s reign began, starting the Georgian era in England. During the Georgian era, it was fashionable for a footman to bring a glass of wine to affluent individuals; cups weren’t placed on the table. After taking a drink (which was about all the glass could hold), it was brought back to the sidebar and filled again. One of the earliest and most common varieties of Georgian drinking glasses was the English baluster glass. The fire glass was yet another well-liked design of Georgian drinking glass. Its foot was thick, and its stem was short. At social gatherings, it was customary for each person to slam their glass of Madeira against the table with a loud crash, simulating a round of gunshots.

August 1751: During this month, in the cellars of Heidelberg Castle in Baden, a huge wine barrel known as the Heidelberger Riesenfass was constructed. There have been four enormous barrels throughout Heidelberg’s history. The 1751 cask was only filled three times, but it can carry up to 220,000 liters of wine and is large enough to use the top as a dance floor. Even now, tourists still stop to marvel at it.

August 1815: Russian armies eventually took control of the Champagne region following Napoleon’s defeat. Champagne was used as a requisition and a kind of payment during the occupation. The Widow Cliquot is alleged to have stated as her wine was being removed from her cellar: “They drink now. They will pay tomorrow “. Her prognostication would prove accurate because the Russian empire would go on to become the world’s second-largest consumer of Champagne over the following century, up to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

August 1881: In this month, Alexander Crichton patented his first animalistic claret jugs. Crichton created a variety of claret jugs in the shape of at least 20 different monsters by appealing to the Victorian love of novelty and drew inspiration from Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice in Wonderland. A month later, others began to appear, with the first, an owl, being registered in August 1881. Jules Barbe, the greatest enameller of his day, created a cockatoo in 1882, which is arguably the finest. The popularity of Crichton’s menagerie has endured over time, as evidenced by the sale of a penguin cup for £20,000 at an unknown Australian auction in 2003.

August 1924: This month marked the beginning of Al Capone’s seven year rule as the most prominent person in American organized bootlegging. Capone was able to avoid punishment for most of the crimes he committed; nevertheless, the Internal Revenue Service received a decision from a higher court to back up their claims against him. The IRS calculated that Capone’s income was more than one million from 1924 through 1929. They said that since he failed to file tax forms, he was able to avoid paying federal taxes totaling $219,000. Following the addition of interest and penalties, Capone was responsible for paying the IRS a total of $383,000. Ultimately, Capone was convicted in 1931 and sentenced to 11 years in federal prison, $50,000 in fines, and a payment of $215,000 in unpaid taxes by an American federal court. He was imprisoned from 1929 until 1939.

August 1996: The chairman of the KWV (Koöperatiewe Wynbouers Vereniging van Suid-Afrika), Mr. Lourens Jonker, spoke at the organization’s annual general meeting and criticized “the giving of wine during the working day as partial remuneration” for being “sensitive in international markets” and “extremely frustrating and disappointing.” He claimed that it “had” already been prohibited in 1928 and had been illegal since 1963. He stated at its Annual General Meeting that the “KWV” “had long publicly opposed it.”

August 2015: In this month, Enotria Winecellars and Coe Vintners merged.. Enotria Winecellars had established itself as the dominant force in the market for extraordinary wines, and Coe had established itself as a pioneer of distinctive, premium spirits. Enotria&Coe aspires to build on the legacy and success of both prior firms, honoring Remo Nardone’s and Eric Coe’s passion, dedication, and entrepreneurship in growing the company from humble beginnings to the endeavor it is today.

August 2017: In this month, Waipara-based Southern Boundary Wines was sued on 156 counts of suspected fraud. Thousands of bottles were allegedly exported by SBW with bogus information on the vintage, grape variety, and country of origin. In 2012 and 2013, it pertained to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Furthermore, SBW is accused of erasing winemaking documentation while misrepresenting blended wines as single vineyard wines. If these accusations were true, New Zealand’s excellent reputation for high quality was in jeopardy. Whatever the outcome, this undermined the years of effort put in by trustworthy wineries in export markets like the UK.

For more dates in wine history, click here.

Posted on Leave a comment

August 4

This Day In Wine History August 4

August 4, 1792: On this day, Percy Bysshe Shelley was born. A romanticist, he is currently most famous for his poem “Ozymandias,” though he also wrote the “The Vine-Shroud,” a grim fragment of a poem describing a grapevine. He was married twice, his second marriage being with Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, considered to be one of the first science-fiction books in history. After his death in 1822, recognition of his achievements in poetry grew steadily, and he became an important influence on the generations of poets that would follow.

August 4, 1925: On this day, Johnny Torrio handed over control of his rackets to Al Capone, who became the most notorious bootlegging criminal during the Prohibition period.

August 4, 1926: On this day, in the Livermore Valley, Georges de Latour made a deal with the Wente family to make high-quality white wines for Beaulieu under the federal permission held by Beaulieu.

August 4, 1929: On this day, the Department of Justice hired a special agent Eliot Ness to curtail the growth of illegal liquor by criminal groups. Ness was recruited to head the Prohibition bureau in Chicago after the stock market collapsed; the stress of the event appeared to enhance people’s need for illicit booze. Al Capone was the target of Ness’ investigation and harassment.The men Ness employed to assist him were known as the Untouchables because they were very committed to their work and refused to accept bribes. The general public became aware of them when significant police operations targeting speakeasies, breweries, and other notorious hangouts made headlines in the media.

August 4, 1970: On this day, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro was established as a DOC. This is a wine appellation for semi-sparkling (frizzante) red and rosé wines produced using the Lambrusco Grasparossa variety. The appellation is situated in the province of Modena, and in addition to the frizzante type, there is also a sparkling variation known as spumante available. These Lambrusco wines are often more tannic and full-bodied than other varieties of Lambrusco. The wineries frequently use extra acidic grapes (up to 15 percent of the total) to provide freshness to the finished product.

August 4, 1971: On this day, Jeffery Michael Gordon was born in Vallejo, California. He is an incredibly successful former professional stock car racing driver, and is regarded as a key figure in advancing the sport’s acceptance by the public. He owns Jeff Gordon Cellars in Napa Valley, California in collaboration with August Briggs Winery.

August 4, 1983: On this day, Dry Creek Valley AVA was established in Sonoma County, California. It’s one of the smallest in the region, extending 16 miles long and 2 miles wide. Its soils are rocky and drain incredibly well, effectively stressing grapes later in the growing season; this also adds to varietal character. Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel perform well in this AVA. It is home to over 50 wineries, including many properties maintained by E & J Gallo Winery.

August 4, 2005: Alcidini gained its geographical indications (GI) protection products on this day. The vineyard and winery is located in Thailand’s Khao Yai wine area.

August 4, 2006: Red Mountain made the first 1000 bottles of wine under its name. Because there were so many vines planted over a long period of time, the vineyard gradually had to be enlarged, and it wasn’t until 2006 that they finally produced their first thousand bottles of wine.

August 4, 2022: August 4th marks National White Wine Day in the United States.

For more dates in wine history, click here.



Posted on Leave a comment

June 5

This Day In Wine History June 5

June 5, 1756: On in this day in 1756 Jean-Antoine Chaptal was born in Nogaret in in south-western France. In his long life he would go on to become a chemist, physician, statesman and agronomist. Chaptal had a specific interest in chemistry from early in his career and how it could be used to develop the French wine industry. Thus, when he came to writing his famous book, Traité théorique et pratique sur la culture de la vigne, meaning A theoretical and practical treatise on the cultivation of the vine, which was published in France in 1801, he popularised a method of strengthening the alcohol content of wine by adding more sugar to it during production. This method was actually developed by another French chemist called Pierre-Joseph Macquer, but in recognition of his role in popularising the method this form of wine amelioration has become known as chaptalization. For more information, see J. B. Gough’s ‘Winecraft and Chemistry in 18th Century France: Chaptal and the Invention of Chaptalization’, in Technology and Culture, Vol. 39, No.1 (Jan 1998). See also the entry ‘Chaptal, Jean-Antoine’, in Jancis Robinson, The Oxford Companion to Wine (Third Edition, Oxford, 2006).

June 5, 1799: On this day, Joseph Proust was the first person to extract sugar from grapes and prove that it was the same sugar present in honey. This sugar would subsequently be referred to as glucose.

June 5, 1911: On this day, the Champagne Riots began in France. Due to administrative maneuvering resulting in a loss of certain privileges within the Champagne appellation, wine makers in the Aube and Marne regions clashed, leading to bloodshed and the widespread destruction of vineyards, cellars, properties, and estates. The territorial fights were only quelled at the onset of World War I.

June 5, 1931: On this day, 22 charges of failing to pay federal income taxes from 1925 through 1929 were included in the indictment that was filed against Capone. On June 12, 1922, Capone and a few other persons were charged with conspiracy to breach the regulations governing Prohibition from 1922 through 1931. The month of October saw the beginning of Al Capone’s trial. He was found guilty on three of the 23 counts, and in addition to a fine of $50,000 and court costs, he was handed an 11-year sentence to serve in jail.

June 5, 1972: On this day, the Australian government granted Yarra Yering winery the license to sell and dispose of wine. The warm climate of the Yarra Valley in Australia is ideal for producing the different varieties of wine that Yarra Yering offers, one of the most renowned wineries in the Australian wine region for its history and its recent success with Sarah Crowe, the first woman to win the Winemaker of the Year award at the Halliday Wine Companion Awards.

For more dates in wine history, click here.


Posted on Leave a comment

January 17

This Day In Wine History January 17.

January 17, 395: On this day Emperor Theodosius, who had ruled much of the Roman Empire since 379, died. Theodosius was one of the most acclaimed rulers of the Roman Empire in its later period, having waged a highly successful war against the Goths, a Eurasian nomadic people who had invaded the Balkans. He is known as Theodosius the Great, however, this name is largely owing to his decision to enact a series of persecutory laws against the Pagans of the empire from 381 onwards. These regulations effectively crushed the old Greek and Roman polytheistic religions practiced across the Mediterranean world. With them local cults of the old gods were shut down and their adherents persecuted. One of the less well-known effects of this was that it destroyed the cults of the old wine gods across the Roman world, not just the more famous ones such as Dionysius and Bacchus, but also those of Liber Pater, Ceres and others. As a result, the extensive wine festivals which were held to celebrate these gods were dispensed with. For more information, see Frank R. Tombley’s Hellenic Religion and Christianization, c. 370–529 (2 Vols., Leiden, 2014).

January 17, 1342: On this day in 1342, Philip II, also known as Philip the Bold, was born in Pontoise, France. During his time as a Duke of Burgundy, he passed the first-ever vine-making policies that banned Gamay in the Burgundy wine region.

January 17, 1920: On this day in 1920 the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, which is colloquially known as the Volstead Act after Andrew Volstead, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee which championed the legislation in Congress, formally established the prohibition of intoxicating liquor in the United States. Prohibition would be enforced, with major difficulties, for the next 14 years, but throughout that time Americans continue to drink in speakeasies, jazz clubs and in their homes. Crime ran rampant in cities like Chicago and New York as mobsters such as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano made huge sums of money from the manufacture and sale of illegal alcohol. A less well-known aspect of Prohibition was that the California wine industry was badly impacted on. Nevertheless, it did survive, in large part as vintners were able to continue selling ‘wine bricks’ of concentrated grape juice to customers to make wine in their own homes, a clause in the Prohibition legislation which allowed millions of Americans to make and drink their own wine at home throughout the 1920s.

January 17, 1956: Anne-Claude Leflaive, a pioneer and significant winemaker in Burgundy, was born. After entering the family business in 1990 and taking over as manager in 1994 after her father Vincent passed away, Anne-Claude was named the top maker of white wines in the world by Decanter magazine in 2006 and also helped to establish the Ecole du Vin et des Terroirs in Puligny-Montrachet.

January 17, 1982: On this day, Dwyane Wade, a former professional basketball player, was born. Wade consistently played at the top levels of the NBA during his long career with Miami Heat. He is a renowned wine collector, and co-founded the winery Wade Cellars to explore his love for beverage and share it with others.

January 17, 2008: Known Hunter Valley winemaker Trevor Drayton and his cousin perished in an explosion at a Pokolbin winery on this day. At Drayton’s Winery in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley, the bodies of the two men were discovered in a wine processing shed. The two men’s remains couldn’t be quickly recovered, according to police, since it was too dangerous. The blast ignited a third individual, who was later discovered on fire in a farm dam nearby.

For more dates in wine history, click here.