In 1796, the young Swiss winemaker Jean Jacques - later John James Dufour (1763-1827) emigrated from Vevey (Canton Vaud ) to America and traveled through today's federal states Pennsylvania. Illinois and Kentucky, In the latter he first tried viticulture. He founded the Kentucky Vineyard Company with some citizens of Lexington, Jessamine County, which was reorganized in 1981 and still exists today. In 1798, Dufour acquired from a Peter Legaux Pennsylvania 1,500 cuttings of 35 different grape varieties. He planted it in 1799 south of Lexington on an area of five acres on a bend of the Kentucky River. Among them was the Alexander which Dufour called "Cape Grape" because he had mistakenly been told by Legaux that she was from the Cape of South Africa. Most were European vines and went in, especially on unknown for European varieties mildew and extremely bad weather, but the Alexander survived as one of the few varieties.
Because of these problems, the experiment went awry after just three years, and Dufour left the Viticulture Association. But the viticulture activities were continued by the society, therefore one can this vineyard as the first commercially led viticulture enterprise of the USA describe. Today's successor to this historic site is the winery "Chrisman Mill Vineyards and Winery", not far from this location. Dufour sought a new place for his viticulture activities and in 1802 did not set very far from his first attempt as a winemaker on the Ohio River in today's state Indiana near Vevay in Switzerland County named after the Swiss immigrants a new vineyard he called "New Switzerland". There he produced his first wine of high quality in 1806 or 1807. Some barrels of the first harvest were transported by horse and cart to Washington in the White House to the then acting President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), who expressly praised the wine. In 1809 already 1,200 gallons Wine produced.
Dufour made a journey to the beginning of 1800 Switzerland but returned to the US again. One year before his death in 1826 he published the book "The American Vine-Dresser's Guide. Cultivation of the Vine and the Process of Wine Making in the United States "with the topics Vine diseases. floors and climate. varieties. intersections and finishes, Winery work and Vinification techniques, It is an extremely interesting first account of what winegrowing was in America at the time, and was a standard work in the United States until the beginning of the 20th century. Incidentally, the book was reissued in 1999. Dufour's sons and descendants produced wine at this winery until 1850 and then discontinued it due to sales problems associated with green speculation. Since 1968, the "Swiss Wine Festival" is held annually in August in Vevay (Indiana) in honor of the wine-growing pioneer.