Many of us think that reading about wine is the second best wine activity after drinking it. But this will shock you.
From Winespeed: Over 30,000 wine books and other wine publications held by the library at the University of California at Davis, the premier viticulture and enology degree program in the U.S. The collection contains rare manuscripts, maps, and periodicals on wine, the oldest dating back to 1450. The library also houses the papers of distinguished wine writers Leon Adams, Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson, and … Karen MacNeil.
Again, another very interesting bit of history from Winespeed: Did Zinfandel really come from Croatia? Although it has been called “America’s grape,” scientists have known for decades that zinfandel (just like chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and dozens of other varieties) originally came from Europe. The question was where in Europe? Thanks to DNA typing of grapevines, we know that zinfandel’s original home was the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. Sometime around the 1820’s, what we now call zinfandel was brought to the United States (to Long Island) under a variety of names (zenfendel and black St. Peter’s being two). Curiously, zinfandel was also brought from Croatia to Italy, where it was named primitivo. So if you see an Italian primitivo in the wine shop, guess what? It’s zinfandel.
What country has the world’s most southern vineyards? If you thought the answer was New Zealand, you would have been right until just recently. For 50 years, New Zealand’s Black Ridge Vineyard (at latitude 45.15 degrees S) held the title Most Southern Vineyard in the World. But Argentina now has a winery that has surpassed it. As of 2021, the world’s most southerly vineyard is Bodega Otronia (latitude 45.33 degrees S) in Chubut Province deep in Argentina’s Patagonia Extrema, a region once known only for mining and sheep. Over the next few years, the title will be an ongoing contest between Argentina and Chile, as both countries push viticulture further and further south toward the cold tip of the South American continent. (Sorry, New Zealand).
And a little about forgotten Burgundy: Burgundy got its name early in the sixth century, in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire, when the wandering Germanic tribe known as the Burgondes established a settlement in the area. They called it Burgundia. In 534, Burgundia was absorbed into another Germanic entity, the Frankish kingdom established by Clovis, the king of the Franks. Clovis eventually went on to unify the numerous Germanic tribes that operated throughout what was then called Gaul. With Clovis’s coronation, modern France (the name is derived from Franks) was born, and Clovis’s eventual conversion to Christianity established France as a Christian nation. With Christianity in place, the course of Burgundy’s history changed, as it went on to become a nucleus for Catholicism and monastic power.
So, consider yourself a bit more informed today. On another blessed Sunday, why not open your favorite wine, and celebrate all that is happy and healthy in your life?