Wine Chronicles: 6 Significant Stops Along U.S. Wine History

September 9, 2017


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