March 1224: The first-ever wine tasting competition was held. French King Philip Augustus initially organized the competition; because the king was the only wine critic who counted. The competition consisted of around seventy different wines. Most of the wines came from grape-producing enclaves surrounding France, but there were also entries from Mosel, Spain, and Cyprus.
March 1832: The British government appointed James Busby, a British resident living in Australia and widely regarded as the pioneer of the Australian wine industry, to the position of British Resident of New Zealand. Busby traveled from Australia to New Zealand bearing grape cuttings from his homeland. In 1836, he created New Zealand’s first vineyard.
March 1936: The Argentina Grape Harvest Festival got underway this year. This festival is one of Argentina’s most well-liked occasions, taking place in the nation’s internationally renowned wine-producing area of Mendoza. The celebration, which has been around for more than 75 years, offers tastings at surrounding vineyards in addition to parades and parties. But before the fun starts, a festival queen is chosen, and the festival staff leads participants in prayer to the patron saint of vineyards. A grandiose performance in a Greek-style amphitheater depicting the annual grape harvest is the culmination of the week-long event in March.
March 1993: During this month, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival was first held. Since 1993, the Melbourne Cuisine and Wine Festival, organized by Food and Wine Victoria Ltd., has taken place in March to highlight the food and wine traditions of Melbourne and Victoria. The festival, which is run on a non-profit basis, has as its mission to promote Victoria’s products, artists, and way of life, as well as Melbourne’s status as the “food and wine capital of Australia.” The festival, which initially had a limited schedule of activities, has since gained recognition for its big “banquet-style” lunches and cookery lessons.
March 2000: In this month, Citadelles du Vin was established. Citadelles du Vin is an international wine and spirits competition situated in Bourg-en-Gironde, Bordeaux, and organized by the Concours des Vins organization (which also organizes the Challenge International du Vin in Bourg).
March 2012: In this month, The John Jordan Foundation was established. The John Jordan Foundation was founded by Jordan Winery’s owner to combat the harmful impacts of poverty by equipping disadvantaged people with the tools they need to excel academically and professionally “from cradle to career.” Jordan funds the foundation’s projects by donating half of the proceeds from Jordan Winery sales to the non-profit. Thousands of families have benefited from the foundation’s education, after-school enrichment, and health programs, and it has sponsored more than 220 organizations so far. The organization has supported iPad and Chromebook education pilot projects in some of California’s poorest schools, as well as a pediatric wing at Santa Rosa Health Centers, accelerated English language teaching programs, and a variety of programs for abused and special-needs children.
March 2013: In this month, the McLaren Vale robbery occurred, adding to the list of notorious wine crimes in Australia. 60,000 bottles of wine, being carried from McLaren Vale in two containers, were stolen by a crew of expert criminals. The wine was in unlabeled bottles from 12 different South Australian wineries. It is thought that the wine in the two trucks was intended for export. The 72 wine pallets were valued at $500K, according to estimates.
March 2020: In this month, residents in the northern Italian town of Castelvetro were surprised to find a spray of wine instead of water when they switched on their kitchen taps. A malfunctioning valve at the nearby Cantina Settecani vineyard was to blame for 1,000 liters of Lambrusco that leaked into the rivers. Many residents found it to be a refreshing source of humor amid the early COVID pandemic.
March, annually: During this month, Riesling is harvested in New South Wales, Australia. In Germany, the country best known for the grape varietal, the harvest is usually done in mid-September of each year.
For more dates in wine history, click here.