Thomas Jefferson was a great wine lover and traveled to France to make notes and taste wine from many parts of the countryside. Here (from the American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress), here is a printed list of taxes on wine being shipped to him.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Thomas Jefferson was a great wine lover and traveled to France to make notes and taste wine from many parts of the countryside. Here (from the American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress), here is a printed list of taxes on wine being shipped to him.
From the very first settlement of America, the vine seems to have attracted the attention of the colonists, and it is said that as early as 1564, wine was made from the native grape in Florida. The earliest attempt to establish a vineyard in the British North American Colonies was by the London Company in Virginia, about the year 1620; and by 1630, the prospect seems to have been encouraging enough to warrant the importation of several French vine-dressers, who, it is said, ruined the vines by bad treatment. Wine was also made in Virginia in 1647, and in 1651 premiums were offered for its production. Beverly even mentions, that prior to 1722, there were vineyards in that colony, producing seven hundred and fifty gallons per year. In 1664, Colonel Richard Nicoll, Governor of New York, granted to Paul Richards, a privilege of making and selling wine free of all duty, he having been the first to enter upon the cultivation of the vine on a large scale. Beauchamp Plantagenet, in his description of the province of New Albion, published in London, in 1648, states "that the English settlers in Uvedale, now Delaware, had vines running on mulberry and sassafras trees; and enumerates four kinds of grapes, namely: Thoulouse Muscat, Sweet Scented, Great Fox, and Thick Grape; the first two, after five months, being boiled and salted and well fined, make a strong red Xeres; the third, a light claret; the fourth, a white grape which creeps on the land, makes a pure, gold colored wine. Tennis Pale, a Frenchman, out of these four, made eight sorts of excellent wine; and says of the Muscat, after it had been long boiled, that the second draught will intoxicate after four months old; and that here may be gathered and made two hundred tuns in the vintage months, and that the vines with good cultivation will mend." In 1633, William Penn attempted to establish a vineyard near Philadelphia, but without success. After some years, however, Mr. Tasker, of Maryland, and Mr. Antil, of Shrewsbury, N.J., seem to have succeeded to a certain extent. It seems, however, from an article which Mr. Antil wrote of the culture of the grape, and the manufacture of wine, that he cultivated only foreign varieties.
In 1796, the French settlers in Illinois made one hundred and ten hogsheads of strong wine from native grapes. At Harmony, near Pittsburgh, a vineyard of ten acres was planted by Frederic Rapp, and his associates from Germany; and they continued to cultivate grapes and silk, after their removal to another Harmony in Indiana.
In 1790, a Swiss colony was founded, and a fund of ten thousand dollars raised in Jessamine county, Kentucky, for the purpose of establishing a vineyard, but failed, as they attempted to plant the foreign vine. In 1801, they removed to a spot, which they called Vevay, in Switzerland County, Indiana, on the Ohio, forty-five miles below Cincinnati. Here they planted native vines, especially the Cape, or Schuylkill Muscadel, and met with better success. But, after about forty years' experience, they seem to have become discouraged, and their vineyards have now almost disappeared.
These were the first crude experiments in American grape culture; and from some cause or another, they seem not to have been encouraging enough to warrant their continuation. But a new impetus was given to this branch of industry, by the introduction of the Catawba, by Major Adlum, of Georgetown, D.C., who thought, that by so doing, he conferred a greater benefit upon the nation than he would have done, had he paid the national debt. It seems to have been planted first on an extensive scale by Nicholas Longworth, near Cincinnati, whom we may justly call one of the founders of American grape culture. He adopted the system of leasing parcels of unimproved land to poor Germans, to plant with vines; for a share, I believe, of one-half of the proceeds. It was his ambition to make the Ohio the Rhine of America, and he has certainly done a good deal to effect it. In 1858, the whole number of acres planted in grapes around Cincinnati, was estimated, by a committee appointed for that purpose, at twelve hundred acres, of which Mr. Longworth owned one hundred and twenty-two and a half acres, under charge of twenty-seven tenants. The annual produce was estimated by the committee at no less than two hundred and forty thousand gallons, worth about as many dollars then.
Wine consumption in the United States has been rising slowly and consistently over the last 11 years. Various sources put consumption of wine by American adults at 25 to 33 percent. The core wine drinkers (people who drink wine at least once per week) make up about half of this group. The rest are marginal wine drinkers. According to Euromonitor International, U.S. yearly per capita consumption of wine is 12 liters, up from 10.6 liters in 2000. While French wine remains popular, market share has been lost to lower-priced wines from other countries. Americans are drinking more imported wines from countries such as Italy, Australia, Spain, Chile, Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, and South Africa.
According to Wine Institute estimates, wine sales in the United States from all sources grew five percent to 703 million gallons (26.6 million hectoliters) in 2005. The estimated retail value of wine shipments from all sources to the United States is $26 billion.6 Good growth was seen in wines priced $7 per bottle and above.
The Wine of Israel and Wine in Biblical Times
By Jennifer Jordan
Israel is a nation possessing a rich past. The turning pages of history find it at the center of the Bible, while present day finds it at the center of conflict. A country known for many things, wine is not necessarily one of them. Going into a liquor store and requesting the finest bottle of Israeli wine isn’t something many people do.
The reason for this is because wine, until recently, wasn’t something Israel brought to the table, proudly placing a bottle between the rolls and potatoes. Instead, Israeli wine was filled with a reputation for being a type of drink someone should put a cork in. This, however, wasn’t for lack of trying.
Wine production on Israeli lands began thousands of years ago, perhaps even prior to the Biblical era. However, the wines that were made during this time often tasted so bad that bottles shipped to Egypt were garnished with anything that would add flavor. Stopping just short of adding RediWhip, people tossed in everything from honey to berries, from pepper to salt. The bottles sent to Rome, though not lacking flavor, were so thick and so sweet that anyone who didn’t have a sweet tooth, or a spoon, wasn’t able to consume them.
The wine was of such poor quality that when Arab tribes took over Israel in the Moslem Conquest of 636, putting a stop to local wine production for 1,200 years, disappointment didn’t exactly ferment.
In the late 1800’s, wine production began again in Israel. Determined to let Israeli grapes have their day in the sun, a Jewish activist and philanthropist name Baron Edmond de Rothschild began helping Jews flee oppressors, eventually helping them adapt to their Palestine settlements. He then began to help them plant vineyards. Because of this, he is known as a founder of Israel’s wine industry.
But, the kindness and intentions of even the most good-hearted of men wasn’t enough to save Israeli wine from its past reputation. Because the lands of Israel and the climate were not ideal for vine growing, the wine produced was often of poor quality. Too coarse and too sweet to be consumed, Israeli wine was looked on unfavorably until just a few decades ago.
With the adoption of modern equipment, the import of good vine stock, the encouragement given to viticulturists, and the planting of vineyards in mountain ranges, near lakes, and in flat areas, Israel wine has recently become much more appreciated, for its taste and its variety. Replacing the sweet red wines with lighter, dryer red wines and producing more champagne, the wines of Israel have finally begun to climb up the vine in terms of greatness.
The wines presently produced in Israel are done so in one of five regions: Galilee, Shomron, Samson, Negev, and Judean Hills. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are viewed as particularly good, although Israel also produces several Merlots and other common varieties.
While not all the wine produced in Israel is Kosher, a good portion of it is. This has led many wine drinkers to have the wrong impression about Israeli wine, an impression that is based on a misconception of what the word "Kosher" truly means.
Some people possess the assumption that when food and drinks are Kosher the taste of the product drastically changes, similar to the way making a hamburger "vegetarian" forever alters its flavor. However, when something is Kosher it simply means that it was made in a way that adheres to the dietary laws of Judaism.
There are two types of Kosher wine: Mevushal and non-Mevushal. For wine to be non-Mevushal, which is the basic form of Kosher, the preparation of it must follow a regime of specific rules. To begin, the equipment used to make wine must be Kosher, and only used for the production of Kosher products. As the wine goes from grape to bottle, it may only be handled, or opened, by Sabbath-observant Jews. During the wine's processing, only other Kosher products may be used: artificial preservatives and colors, and animal products may not be added.
Wines that are Mevushal are subject to an additional step on the Kosher agenda. Going through flash pasteurization, the wine becomes heated, making it unfit for idolatrous worship. This, in turn, removes some of the restrictions, keeping the wine Kosher no matter who handles it.
Jesus and Wine
The history of Israeli wine is unique in that it also involves the history of Christ. Whether or not Jesus advocated drinking wine, and whether or not the wine he drank was alcoholic, has become a cornerstone in many historical and religious debates. While some people insist that Jesus drank wine, others insist that he didn’t, and, of course, a few Bill Clinton fans insist that he drank, but didn’t inhale.
There are hardly any people arguing on the premise that Jesus consumed large amounts of wine. Instead, people argue whether or not the Bible condemns all use of alcohol or whether it condones its use in moderation. Depending on which side a person prefers to linger, innumerous references from the Bible can go in both directions. Some people assert that the “wine” referenced in the Bible was nothing more than nonalcoholic grape juice. But, those who take an opposing stance state that there are too many Biblical references warning against excessive use of “wine.” If it was just grape juice, or a wine with virtually no alcohol content, there would be no need for precautions.
Though there are several examples of passages in the Bible that involve Jesus drinking wine, with the most famous one likely being The Last Supper, the Bible also includes innumerable references to wine in general, wine drinking that does not necessarily involve Christ.
There are approximately 256 references to wine written in the contents of the Good Book. From these references, readers learn that wine was made from grapes, figs, dates and pomegranates. It was often consumed as part of the every day diet, during times of celebrations, during weddings, as gifts and offerings, and as a symbol of blessing. In some passages, it was even used for medicinal purposes.
Wine Strength During this Era
Another question that often arises in regards to wine in the Bible and Christ’s consumption is its alcoholic strength. If the wine was in fact wine and not grape juice, then it obviously had some sort of alcohol content. However, the wine of the Biblical era was much weaker than the wine we know today. While one reason for this was the addition of water, another reason was naturally fermented wine (wine that does not have additives) was the only wine available during this time. Because sugar and yeast were not yet added to wine, its alcohol content remained lower than modern day spirits.
Whether or not Jesus drank wine, and whether or not it was condoned or condemned, is based on a great deal of speculation. Like many items of debate, people often use passages in the Bible to move an argument in their direction, even when their chosen reference is laden with ambiguity. Some people may swear that he drank, while others may insist that he didn’t. However, in truth, we will probably never know and, along these lines, we really shouldn’t need to: when it comes down to it, a person’s faith is based on much bigger things than their opinion of alcohol.
Jennifer Jordan is the senior editor at http://www.savoreachglass.com. With a vast knowledge of wine etiquette, she writes articles on everything from how to hold a glass of wine to how to hold your hair back after too many glasses. Ultimately, she writes her articles with the intention that readers will remember wine is fun and each glass of anything fun should always be savored.
Wine History - When the Cork Met the Bottle
By James Pendleton
The role of the Church in the production and marketing of wine declined with the Reformation, particularly in northern Europe, but this did not convulse the wine world half as much as the discovery of the usefulness of corks about a century later. For the first time since the Roman empire, wine could now be stored and aged in bottles. Throughout the Middle Ages wine had been kept in casks which had presented a dual handicap: first, too long kept in wood could rob a wine of all its fruit; second, once the cask was opened the wine inevitably deteriorated unless drunk within a few days. The bottle, with its smaller capacity, solved the former problem by providing a neutral, non-porous material which allowed wine to age in a different subtler way and removed the latter problem by providing sealed containers of a manageable size for a single session’s drinking.
However, the cork and bottle revolution was not an instant success; bottles were then so bulbous they would only stand upright which meant the corks eventually dried out and as a consequence let in air. But, by the mid 18th century, longer, flat-sided bottles were designed which would lie down, their corks kept moist by contact with the wine. As a result wine making now took on a new dimension. It became worthwhile for a winemaker to try and excel, wines from particular plots of land could be compared for their qualities, and the most exciting could be classified and separated from the more mundane plot wines. As a result today’s great names of Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhine first began to be noticed.
In the early 19th century, Europe seemed one massive vineyard. In Italy 80% of people were earning their living from wine and in France there were vast plantings rolling southwards from Paris. Also the vine had moved abroad thanks to explorers, colonists and missionaries. It went to Latin America with the Spaniards, South Africa with French Huguenots, and to Australia with the British. Could anything stop this tide of wine expansion?
Well, yes and it came in the form of an aphid called phylloxera, that fed on and destroyed vine roots. It came from America in the 1860’s, and by the early 20th century, had destroyed all Europe’s vineyards and most of the rest of the world’s as well. The solution was to graft the vulnerable European vine, vitis vinifera, onto the phylloxera-resistant American rootstock, vitis riparia, naturally a very expensive effort. The most immediate effect in Europe was that only the best sites were replanted and the total area under vines shrank drastically as a result. Elsewhere the havoc wrought was comparable and vineyard acreage is only now expanding to old original sites destroyed over a century ago.
The 20th century brought further change as science and technology revolutionised viticulture and wine making. But despite the chemical formulae and computerised wineries, the grape retains its magic and allure that attracts wine enthusiasts from all over the world.
James Pendleton is a lover of the better things in life. For more information on wine visit Wine Capital
By Marcus Peterson
California has a long and rich history of wine making. The wine industry marked its beginning in 1769, when the first grape vines were planted at Mission San Diego, by the Franciscan missionary Father Junipero Serra. This black-skinned grape variety, which was called Mission grape, played a significant role in California wine production until 1880.
In 1833, the first documented imported European wine vine of California was planted in Los Angeles by a French winemaker Jean-Louis Vignes. Later in the 1850s and '60s, Agoston Harazsthy - a Hungarian soldier and merchant - imported original vine cuttings from around 165 European vineyards. Altogether, he introduced 300 different grape varietals in California.
Harazsthy made the most outstanding contribution to the development of the wine industry, which made him known as the "founder of California Wine Industry." He founded the Buena Vista Winery, which can still be seen at Sonoma. Great efforts were made in promoting vine planting throughout North California. Moreover, he introduced the idea of non-irrigated vineyards and also constructed many caves for wine cellaring.
During the 1890s, most of the European vines were destroyed due to the attack of
Phylloxera - a destructive root louse. The attempts taken to eradicate the pest were mostly unsuccessful. Finally, Thomas V. Munson - who was regarded as the "father of Texas viticulture" - fostered the idea of grafting European wine vines onto American rootstocks.
California wine industry faced a major decline due to National Prohibition (1920 - 1933). The major portion of the industry, which initially had up to 713 bonded wineries, was wiped out during the prohibition. By the end of 1933, California wine industry managed to revive gradually. The common grape varieties of the time were Thompson seedless, Emperor, and Flame Tokay.
Today, the California wine industry is one among the finest in the world. It contributes to around 90% of total U.S. wine production. The industry boasts approximately 2,445 wineries, which produce more than 500 million gallons of wines every year. Chardonnay is the largest grown variety, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and White Zinfandel.
California Wine provides detailed information on California Wine, California Wine Tours, California Wine Country, California Wine Gift Baskets and more. California Wine is affiliated with California Wine Clubs.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Marcus_Peterson
Burgundy ranks as one of the oldest viticultural regions of Central Europe, and for centuries its wines have been held in the highest renown. In the Middle Ages both the wines and vines of this favoured province passed as presents from one royal personage to another, just as grand cordons are exchanged between them now-a-days. The fabrication of sparkling wine, however, dates no further back than some sixty years or so. The system of procedure is much the same as in the Champagne, and, as there, the wine is mainly the produce of the pineau noir and pineau blanc varieties of grape. At the vintage, in order to avoid bruising the ripened fruit and to guard against premature fermentation, the grapes are conveyed to the pressoirs in baskets instead of the large oval vats termed balonges, common to the district. They are placed beneath the press as soon as possible, and for superior sparkling wines only the juice resulting from the first pressure and known as the mère goutte, or mother drop, is employed. For the ordinary 159 wines that expressed at the second squeezing of the fruit is mingled with the other. The must is at once run off into casks which have been previously sulphured to check, in a measure, the ardour of the first fermentation and lighten the colour of the newly-made wine. Towards the end of October, when this first fermentation is over, the wine is removed to the cellars, or to some other cool place, and in December it is racked into other casks. In the April following it is again racked to insure its being perfectly clear at the epoch of bottling in the month of May. The sulphuring of the original casks having had the effect of slightly checking the fermentation and retaining a certain amount of saccharine in the wine, it is only on exceptional occasions that the latter is artificially sweetened previous to being bottled.
A fortnight after the tirage the wine commonly attains the stage known as grand mousseux, and by the end of September the breakage will have amounted to between 5 and 8 per cent., which necessitates the taking down the stacks of bottles and piling them up anew. The wine as a rule remains in the cellars for fully a couple of years from the time of bottling until it is shipped. Posing the bottles sur pointe, agitating them daily, together with the disgorging and liqueuring of the wine, is accomplished precisely as in the Champagne.
France maintained its title as the world's largest wine producer in 1997. The 1997 wine output is estimated at 55.5 million hectoliters, down 7 percent from the previous year because of lack of rain. Also in certain regions in France, mainly the Southwest, some vines were affected by diseases which resulted in severe damage and a decrease in production. The decline will affect mainly table wine instead of "quality" (VQPRD) wine. The 3 largest French wine producing regions (Languedoc-Roussillon, Charentes/Aquitaine, and Provence/Alps/Cote d'Azur) represented 72 percent of total French production.
France also leads the world in per capita consumption of wine. French wine consumption is estimated at 60 liters, down more than 50 percent since 1970. In response to increasing competition in Europe and in view of changing consumer preferences in France and foreign countries, ONIVINS and SOPEXA have launched advertising campaigns targeting both domestic and export markets. On the domestic side, campaigns focus on regional wines; however, the focus is on "quality" (VQPRD) wines for international markets.
In 1996, the total value of French wine exports increased 9 percent from the previous year to $4.8 billion. French wine exports in 1996 totaled 13.6 million hl, up 13 percent from the previous year. French exports represent more than 30 percent of total French production, or one bottle out of every three bottles. Other EU member states remain the largest export markets for French wine. Other growing markets for French wine include Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia. French exports to the United Kingdom ($84 million), Germany ($84 million), and the United States ($64 million) increased by 10 percent.
Total French imports in 1996 decreased 14 percent in volume to 5.2 million hl and increased 4 percent in value to $509 million. Most of the French imports consist of bulk table wine, representing 68 percent of total wine imports. France's major suppliers were Italy, Portugal and Spain, with each supplying respectively 3.3 million hl, 0.5 million hl, and 0.8 million hl.
On the picturesque slopes of the Marne, about fifteen miles from Reims, and some four or five miles from Epernay, stands the little hamlet of Hautvillers, which, in pre-revolutionary days, was a mere dependency upon a spacious abbey dedicated to St. Peter. Here the worthy monks of the order of St. Benedict had lived in peace and prosperity for several hundred years, carefully cultivating the acres of vineland extending around the abbey, and religiously exacting a tithe of all the other wine pressed in their district. The revenue of the community thus depending in no small degree upon the vintage, it was natural that the post of “celerer” should be one of importance. It happened that about the year 1688 this office was conferred upon a worthy monk named Perignon. Poets and roasters, we know, are born, and not made; and the monk in question seems to have been a heaven-born cellarman, with a 13 strong head and a discriminating palate. The wine exacted from the neighbouring cultivators was of all qualities—good, bad, and indifferent; and with the spirit of a true Benedictine, Dom Perignon hit upon the idea of “marrying” the produce of one vineyard with that of another. He had noted that one kind of soil imparted fragrance and another generosity, and discovered that a white wine could be made from the blackest grapes, which would keep good, instead of turning yellow and degenerating like the wine obtained from white ones. Moreover, the happy thought occurred to him that a piece of cork was a much more suitable stopper for a bottle than the flax dipped in oil which had heretofore served that purpose.
The white, or, as it was sometimes styled, the grey wine of the Champagne grew famous, and the manufacture spread throughout the province, but that of Hautvillers held the predominance. To Dom Perignon the abbey’s well-stocked cellar was a far cheerfuller place than the cell. Nothing delighted him more than
“To come down among this brotherhood
Dwelling for ever underground,
Silent, contemplative, round and sound,
Each one old and brown with mould,
But filled to the lips with the ardour of youth,
With the latent power and love of truth,
And with virtues fervent and manifold.”
Ever busy among his vats and presses, barrels and bottles, Perignon alighted upon a discovery destined to be most important in its results. He found out the way of making an effervescent wine—a wine that burst out of the bottle and overflowed the glass, that was twice as dainty to the taste, and twice as exhilarating in its effects. It was at the close of the seventeenth century that this discovery was made—when the glory of the Roi Soleil was on the wane, and with it the splendour of the Court of Versailles. Louis XIV., for whose especial benefit liqueurs had been invented, recovered a gleam of his youthful energy as he sipped the creamy foaming vintage that enlivened his dreary têtes-à-têtes with the widow of Scarron. It found its chief patrons 14 however, amongst the bands of gay young roysterers, the future roues of the Regency, whom the Duc d’Orléans and the Duc de Vendôme had gathered round them, at the Palais Royal and at Anet. It was at one of the famous soupers d’Anet that the Marquis de Sillery—who had turned his sword into a pruning-knife, and applied himself to the cultivation of his paternal vineyards on the principles inculcated by the celerer of St. Peter’s—first introduced the sparkling wine bearing his name. The flower-wreathed bottles, which, at a given signal, a dozen of blooming young damsels scantily draped in the guise of Bacchanals placed upon the table, were hailed with rapture, and thenceforth sparkling wine was an indispensable adjunct at all the petits soupers of the period. In the highest circles the popping of champagne-corks seemed to ring the knell of sadness, and the victories of Marlborough were in a measure compensated for by this happy discovery.
Why the wine foamed and sparkled was a mystery even to the very makers themselves; for as yet Baume’s aerometer was unknown, and the connection between sugar and carbonic acid undreamt of. The general belief was that the degree of effervescence depended upon the time of year at which the wine was bottled, and that the rising of the sap in the vine had everything to do with it. Certain wiseacres held that it was influenced by the age of the moon at the time of bottling; whilst others thought the effervescence could be best secured by the addition of spirit, alum, and various nastinesses. It was this belief in the use and efficacy of drugs that led to a temporary reaction against the wine about 1715, in which year Dom Perignon departed this life. In his latter days he had grown blind, but his discriminating taste enabled him to discharge his duties with unabated efficiency to the end. Many of the tall tapering glasses invented by him have been emptied to the memory of the old Benedictine, whose remains repose beneath a black marble slab in the chancel of the archaic abbey church of Hautvillers.