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Drinking HistoryFifteen Turning Points in the Making of American Beverages$
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Andrew Smith

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231151177

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231151177.001.0001

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Judgment of Paris

Judgment of Paris

(p.201) 13 Judgment of Paris
Drinking History

Andrew F. Smith

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the history of the American winemaking industry. Early European explorers discovered an abundance of grapevines along the eastern coast of North America, and in some areas the climate seemed right for growing grapes that make good wine. The English were particularly excited about this discovery; if they established settlements in North America, they could produce their own wine, making it unnecessary for them to import wine from other countries. However, the native North American grapes were mainly small, thick-skinned, and sour. Some Old World grapevines were imported to the colonies, but they did not survive, mainly due to diseases and insect pests. In the late nineteenth century, the influx Italian immigrants included those who were skilled in viticulture and winemaking. Some launched agricultural colonies; the most successful was founded in 1881 by Andrea Sbarboro in Sonoma County, California. Along with other Italian and Swiss-Italian immigrants, Sbarboro created an agricultural cooperative called Italian Swiss Colony. They began making wine and shipping it to cities with large Italian immigrant populations. Wine consumption increased after World War II. The war cut off the importation of European wines to the United States, and American vintners filled the void. American servicemen who were in Europe during the War as well as American tourists, businessmen, and government officials who flooded Europe afterwards were exposed to good wine and wanted access to it on their return to the United States. In the 1960s the quality of American wines improved significantly. Wine tastings multiplied in number, and literature on the subject of wine grew. Other new wineries were opened during that time, with the goal of creating the best wines possible.

Keywords:   wines, wineries, Italian immigrants, North American grapes, agricultural colonies, Italian Swiss Colony

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