Wine-ding Consumption

When Norse Vikings first explored North America, they called it Vinland for the profusion of grape vines found there. Afterwards, native grape varieties were mixed with European varieties, giving birth to the current American wine industry.

Prohibition in the late 1920’s caused most wineries to close and the production of wine skyrocketed after its repeal. Unfortunately, the best varieties of wine grapes had disappeared, and the best winemakers died, their methods lost. Quality grapes do not ship well, so producers ripped out their vines and replaced them with tough but poor quality grapes such as Alicante, Bouschet, and Alicante Ganzin. The wine produced during this period were of low quality up until the mid twentieth century.

University of California, Davis, and the State University of New York system conducted and encouraged viticulture research. Viticulture is the science of wine and grape production. Towards the 60’s the American wine industry started to revive. This caused a boost in wine consumption.

In the late 70’s, a blind taste held in Paris (“Judgment of Paris”) showed American wine to be outstanding. In this wine competition French judges made two blind tasting comparisons: one for Chardonnays, and another for red wines including French Bordeaux wines and Californian Cabernet Sauvignon. Californian wines won both categories, changing the image of France as the country producing the best wines. This resulted in a further growth of American wine consumption.

During the late 80’s to mid 90’s, consumption of wine decreased as a result of the Austrian-German wine scandal. Additives, including poisonous ones, were discovered in wines: several Austrian wineries illegally adulterated their wines with diethylene glycol. This chemical was added to make the wines appear sweeter and more full-bodied in the style of late harvest wines. As the scandal became public, it scared-off wine consumers.

In the beginning of the 90’s the health benefits of wine became public. The reduction of the risk of heart disease and its positive effects on health caused another boost to American wine consumption. Whether it was an excuse to imbibe, or true enthusiasm for healthy living, it boosted wine consumption. During the last twelve years, the consumption of wine in US has increased continuously .


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