On Friday, October 12, 1492, was spotted by a nominally unknown sailor at 2.00 clock early by the Spanish caravel "Pinta" out of land. It was the Bahamas island Guanahani, the then name in the native language (as it is called again today), which Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) called San Salvador. This applies to date as the day of the discovery of America or the New world, But already 500 years before Columbus someone else had entered the American continent. Around the year 1000 the Icelandic Viking Leif Eriksson (son of the Greenland explorer Erik the Red) drove south from Greenland and reached the American coast. He called the area "Vinland". Whether the name really Vinland "wine country" means is not clearly secured, it could also have meant "pasture" or "meadow". There have been many attempts to pinpoint the location, with a version naming the island of Manhattan in place of new York,
The American historian Frederick J. Pohl (1889-1991) writes in his book "The lost discovery" that it is - a little further north - around the Bay of Massachusetts acted on the site of the city of Boston. According to a written report - the Grenlinga saga (legend of the Greenlanders) - there Leif Eriksson found gentle hills, numerous game, salmon, wild wheat and in the woods in bulk Wild vines with berries of huge size that hung from the trees. A team member left some grapes longer until they started to ferment and was found drunk. Leif's brother-in-law, Thorfinn Karlsefni, then attempted to found a settlement, but due to fierce resistance by the natives, who resembled Indians or Eskimos, it had to be abandoned after a few years.
When the first colonists landed on the east coast of America towards the end of the 16th century, they made the same discovery as Eriksson. In the woods grapes grew with huge fruits. But mostly could from the Wild vines despite many attempts no tasty wine can be produced. Because American vines especially of the species Vitis labrusca provide a wine with an unpleasant one Foxton or penetrating strawberry flavor. Therefore, it was very soon attempted along the entire Atlantic coast of Massachusetts in the north to Florida deep in the south with grape varieties imported from Europe. But they soon came in after planting. The American soil was literally saturated with the phylloxera and in addition, the unknown made in Europe mildew to create other diseases and extreme climatic conditions. Many of these were against these plagues American vines through millions of years of adaptation resistant, but the Europeans Vines the defenseless delivered. There were countless futile efforts to solve the problems. The causes were not recognized for 200 years, they were only clarified by the introduced into Europe phylloxera and mildew and their control in the last third of the 19th century.
The later US presidents George Washington (1732-1799) and Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) were great patrons of wine culture. Jefferson was convinced that it was only through appropriate wine culture and enough quantities of wine that Americans could be prevented, stronger alcoholics like whiskey to consume. This was supported by a law in 1791, all alcoholic beverages were subject to excise tax, with the exception of American-made wine. He also introduced to his winery Monticello in Virginia decades of trials with European and American vines. His dream of making the United States a top wine growing nation did not materialize during his lifetime.
From the beginning of the 19th century, one finally made a virtue out of necessity and tried to accept the peculiarity of the American grape varieties. They bred in the whole country hybrids or tried to make wine from the existing American varieties. As early as 1562, French Huguenots were near Jacksonville in Florida Created vineyards. They used a wild ancestor of today still planted white variety Scuppernong, which they gradually cultivated and also won wine from it. Ephraim Wales Bull (1806-1895) began in 1843 Concord in the state Massachusetts Kernels of a wild vine of the species Vitis labrusca, selected a red variety and named it after the place. These too are still in widespread use today, especially in the northeast.
In 1798, in Jessamine County in Kentucky by the immigrant Swiss winemaker Jean Jacques Dufour (1763-1827) created a vineyard and, among other things, the historical variety Alexander planted. This winery is considered America's first commercially operated wine-growing business. Later he went to Indiana He also founded a winery on the Ohio River - he is also one of the most important American wine-growing pioneers through a wine book written by him. A big hit was achieved by surveyor John Adlum (1759-1836), born in 1820 in Georgetown in the young state Ohio one out North Carolina grown variety on a larger scale. He first named it Tokay and then a river in North Carolina Catawba, In 1823 he sent Thomas Jefferson a bottle of wine pressed from it.
The second birthplace of commercial American winemaking is Cincinnati, Ohio, where attorney Nicholas Longworth (1783-1863) in 1823 on the Ohio River for now unsuccessfully tried to plant European vines. Then he received in 1825 from Adlum Catawba cuttings and thus produced the first US sparkling wine "Sparkling Catawba". The success was also related to the fact that the Foxton in a sparkling wine is not so strong advantage. The Ohio was then called the "Rhine of America" and the sparkling wine quickly became famous and Longworth rich. But the American Civil War (1861-1865), vine diseases, and Longworth's death ended those initial successes. But a cornerstone for North American viticulture was laid.
The American wine miracle on a large scale began only in California, In 1769, the Franciscan monk had here Junipero Serra (1713-1784) founding the mission "San Diego" the first vineyard with the European grape variety mission ( Listán Prieto ) - it was the first successful Vitis vinifera in America. The first commercial Californian winemaker is Frenchman Jean-Louis Vignes (1780-1862), who imported from 1833 European grape varieties. A decisive impetus for the supremacy of California then gave the Austro-Hungarian Agoston Haraszthy (1812-1869) in the 1860s, adding tens of thousands of European cuttings Imported. But through the prohibition (1920-1933) there was a total decline of wine culture. Many farms were destroyed, many vineyards were cleared and also largely lost infrastructure and knowledge. Of this, America recovered only very slowly after one generation.
From the year 1939 the wine pioneer and writer Philip headed wagner (1904-1996) from his winery Boordy Vineyards in Maryland from a new direction in American viticulture. He imported a large number of French hybrids and documents from France (from Baco. Seibel and Seyve Villard ) which subsequently spread in the States on the entire east coast. In the middle of the 20th century evolved from California from the American viticulture anew. As a milestone and turning point regarding the reputation of American viticulture is often the result of the legendary Paris Wine Tasting named in 1976. It was about a "wine country fight" between France and California. Of the 2,200 or so wineries in the US, more than 1,100 are located in California, where about 90% of the United States wine is produced today. Other states like Oregon but catch up quickly.
Wine is produced in all 50 US states today, even in Alaska (where there are no vineyards) and also in Hawaii. The last state to follow in 2002 was North Dakota with two farms. The size is very different, in principle there is more wine in the west than in the east and more in the north than in the south. In the US, wine is considered a luxury rather than an everyday product. As a after-effect of prohibition, wine is still considered a drug in many US states. After Prohibition that became Three-tier system introduced. This requires that producers, wholesalers and retailers must be completely separate. In 1983, the then competent authority declared BATF (today as a successor TTB ) the appellation system AVA (American Viticultural Area) for universal. There are a total of 189 AVA areas, including 107 in California alone.
In 2012, the vineyard totaled 412,000 hectares, of which, however, only 230,000 were planted with Keltersorten (55%) for wine production. Of this, 21.7 million hectoliters of wine were obtained. The five most successful US wine brands and producers are named with the acronym GAMIT designated. In many states are also large quantities fruit wine (Apples, berries etc.), table grapes. grape juice and grape jelly (jam) produced. Of the Blend 2010 (Statistics Kym Anderson ):