The Beginning of Wine
Wine can be traced back to 6000 B.C. In 3000 B.C., wine was cultivated
in Egypt, and by about 1500 B.C. wine was in Greece. By 1000 B.C.,
it had reached Italy, Sicily and North Africa, and in the next 500
years, wine reached Spain, Portugal, France, southern Russia, northern
Europe and Great Britain.
churches and especially the multiplying monasteries owned or created
most of the greatest vineyards of Europe. Much of the land was given
to the Catholic Church by departing crusaders and dying winegrowers.
The Church used wine not only as the Blood of Christ, but also for
their own enjoyment.
grape vine was introduced into California the late 1700s a by Spanish
priests who, along with Spanish soldiers and settlers from Spain,
built their chain of missions along the coast of California. They
planted vines, known as the mission grape, to make wine required
for the ritual of Catholic mass. Also, being of Mediterranean culture,
they enjoyed wine with their meals.
As more European
immigrants came to California, they brought with them their own
wine-making traditions. Experimenting with European grape varieties,
they tried to duplicate French, Italian and German wines, giving
them names like Burgundy or Chianti, named after regions of their
By 1847, when
California became part of the United States, the commercial wine
industry was thriving. During the gold rush days, droves of entrepreneurs
and hopeful miners flooded California and the wine industry soared.
in the states of New York and Ohio gained much recognition in Europe
for their wines made from American grape varieties. Settlers traveled
back and forth to Europe to bring back vine cuttings to America,
thus expanding existing vineyards and establishing new ones.
from the eastern states of North America, introduced to Europe for
experimental grafting, were responsible for bringing the devastating
phylloxera "vine louse" plague to Europe in the 1860s. As the grape
vine cuttings were re-imported to the United States, the plague
spread. A solution eventually was found by grafting European vines
to American wild-grape root stock resistant to phylloxera.
there are about 750 wineries in California, stretching from the
Napa and Sonoma Valleys, located north of San Francisco, to the
Russian River region, up to the Anderson Valley, inland to El Dorado
County and the Sierra Foothills, down the Central Coast, to the
Livermore Valley, Santa Clara Valley, the Santa Cruz Mountains,
the Carmel Valley, and all the way to south of Santa Barbara. Out
of the 58 counties in California, 54 grow wine grapes, covering
407,000 acres. Each year, about 10 million people visit California's
With New York's
approximately 100 wineries, it makes New York ranks as the second
largest producer, after California. Washington and Oregon together
have more than 160 wineries.
Many more wineries
have been established in over 30 states in the U.S., ranging from
small, family-owned wineries, to big, ultra-modern wine-making facilities.
Winemakers in California and other North American wine regions are
known for producing some of the best-quality wines in the world.