The Makers of American Wine: A Record of Two Hundred Years

The Makers of American Wine: A Record of Two Hundred Years

The Makers of American Wine: A Record of Two Hundred Years

The Makers of American Wine: A Record of Two Hundred Years

Synopsis

Americans learned how to make wine successfully about two hundred years ago, after failing for more than two hundred years. Thomas Pinney takes an engaging approach to the history of American wine by telling its story through the lives of 13 people who played significant roles in building an industry that now extends to every state. While some names--such as Mondavi and Gallo--will be familiar, others are less well known. These include the wealthy Nicholas Longworth, who produced the first popular American wine; the German immigrant George Husmann, who championed the native Norton grape in Missouri and supplied rootstock to save French vineyards from phylloxera; Frank Schoonmaker, who championed the varietal concept over wines with misleading names; and Maynard Amerine, who helped make UC Davis a world-class winemaking school.

Excerpt

This book tells the story of American wine through the lives of thirteen people—twelve men and one woman—who made a difference in that history, or who represent a significant change in the direction of things, or both. the more recent names are probably familiar to all who take an interest in wine—Mondavi and Gallo certainly are—but other names will be unknown. To give them their deserved recognition is one of my aims in writing this book. I start with Jean Jacques (or John James) Dufour, a Swiss, who did not make the first commercial wine in this country but who made it possible for others to do so. Nicholas Longworth, a man of wealth, used his fortune to produce the first popular American wine; the German immigrant George Husmann became the Johnny Appleseed of the grape, urging every American to plant the vine and make wine. Charles Kohler brought the wine of California to the country at large, and through Andrea Sbarboro the Italians entered into California wine-making, an activity they have seemed to dominate ever since. the era of big business is represented by Percy T. Morgan of the California Wine Association; Paul Garrett showed how wine-growing in the South, the East, and the West could be profitably combined. the others in my select company had equivalent roles to play, as each chapter undertakes to show. in the rest of this introduction I give a summary account of the fortunes of wine in this country to place my subjects in a general scheme.

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