Wine Chronicles: 6 Significant Stops Along U.S. Wine History
Updated: Sep 16
History is a significant part of anything we appreciate—food, clothes, arts and even wines. The history of wine in the U.S. is an interesting one; from sailing to the land, to being banned from the lands, there is much you can learn about it.
Take a look at some highlights of wine history in the USA:
1. The First “Wine Landing”
Though exploring Spaniards reported vines growing along in the Caribbean Island soon after Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of America, the actual “wine” arrived after decades.
The first instance of wine landing on the US soil was in 1565, when Pedro Menéndez de Avilés returned from a Spanish expedition along the coasts of Florida.
2. The Wine Legislation
The Virginia Company, acting in the interests of England’s need for wine from the American colony, caused a new legislation in 1619. According to the law, every “householder” was tasked with planting and maintaining 10 vines of imported vinifera grapes on a yearly basis, until they achieved the experience of working in a vineyard. The event marked the next phase of viticultural in the U.S.
3. Planting Grapes In California
Ten years after the Franciscans arrive in California, the first planting of grapes took place in 1779. The local missionaries of San Juan Capistrano marked history in the wine country when they planted the limited varietal, now referred to as the “Mission grape”. Though the crop, produced in 1781, was quite small, historical evidence suggests that the varietals might have the contributions to California first ever vintage, made in 1782.
4. Signing Of 1787 Constitution—With Wine
The Madeira wine blend was enjoyed by the representatives of the twelve states, after the constitution was signed at Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1787. History is not exactly sure which style of Madeira it was, but we do know that the celebrations were indeed sealed by sipping the age-old blend!
5. American Grapevines Save World’s Wines
In 1870s, a vast number of European vineyards faced ravages of phylloxera, which essential destroyed the grapevines in France and other European countries. In order to save the wine producing culture, America shipped millions of grape cuttings to these countries. George Husmann, a leading grape grower in Missouri, stands out as one of the many Missourians who helped “save wine”.
6. “Anti-Stress” Remedies During Prohibition
When wines were scarce and banned during the prohibition period from 1920 to 1933, a few bottles of wine, including Ruffino’s Chianti were sold legally. These blends were actually purchased inside U.S. pharmacies for anti-stress medicinal reasons, which today aptly describe the beverage’s purpose for many wine drinkers!
Fascinated by this history lesson? You can celebrate the newfound information with some wine tastings in the regions which excel in creating the blends! Artisan Excursion offers convenient wine tours for wine novices and connoisseurs alike in Solvang, Los Olivos and other quaint towns in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Book a tour with us today at 805-734-7565 to pay homage to the history of wine!