Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermentation of grape juice. The natural chemical balance of grapes is such that they can ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Although fruits other than grapes can also be fermented, the resultant wines are normally named after the fruit from which they are produced (for example, apple wine) and are known as fruit wine (or country wine). Others, such as barley wine and rice wine (e.g. sake), are made from starch-based materials and resemble beer more than wine; ginger wine is fortified with brandy. In these cases, the use of the term "wine" is a reference to the higher alcohol content, rather than the production process. The commercial use of the word "wine" (and its equivalent in other languages) is protected by law in many jurisdictions. Wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast which consume the sugars found in the grapes and convert them into alcohol. Various varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts are used depending on the types of wine produced.
Wine stems from an extended and rich history dating back about 8,000 years and is thought to have originated in present-day Georgia or Iran. Wine is thought to have appeared in Europe about 6,500 years ago in present-day Bulgaria and Greece and was very common in ancient Greece and Rome; the Greek god Dionysos, and his Roman counterpart Liber represented wine. Wine continues to play a role in religious ceremonies, such as Kiddush in Judaism and the Eucharist in Christianity.
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The Great French Wine Blight was a severe blight of the mid-19th century that destroyed many of the vineyards in France and laid to waste the wine industry. It was caused by an aphid (the actual genus of the aphid is still debated, although it is largely considered to have been a species of Daktulosphaira vitifoliae, commonly known as grape phylloxera) that originated in North America and was carried across the Atlantic sometime around the late 1850s. While France is considered to have been worst affected, the blight also did a great deal of damage to vineyards in other European countries.
How the Phylloxera aphid was introduced to Europe remains debated: American vines had been taken to Europe many times before, for reasons including experimentation and trials in grafting, without consideration of the possibility of the introduction of pestilence. While the Phylloxera was thought to have arrived sometime around 1858, it was first recorded in France in 1863, near the former province of Languedoc. It is argued by some that the introduction of such pests as phylloxera was only a problem after the invention of steamships, which allowed a faster journey across the ocean, and consequently allowed durable pests, such as the Phylloxera, to survive.
Eventually, following Jules-Emile Planchon's discovery of the Phylloxera as the cause of the blight, and Charles Valentine Riley's confirmation of Planchon's theory, Leo Laliman and Gaston Bazille, two French wine growers, proposed that the European vines be grafted to the resistant American rootstock that were not susceptible to the Phylloxera. While many of the French wine growers disliked this idea, many found themselves with no other option. The method proved to be an effective remedy. The following "Reconstitution" (as it was termed) of the many vineyards that had been lost was a slow process, but eventually the wine industry in France was able to return to relative normality.
B. April 9,1780 – d. January 17, 1862
Jean-Louis Vignes, or as he was known to his Spanish and Mexican neighbors, "Don Luis del Aliso", was a French settler to the Los Angeles area during the Mexican era. He was the first commercial wine maker in California and one of the first men to import and plant European Vitis vinifera grapes in the state. A skilled cooper by trade and an adventurer and entrepreneur by choice, he arrived in the Sandwich Islands on July 6, 1827 from Béguey, a village downriver from Cadillac, Gironde, France. After losing his business in Honolulu, he sailed to California and landed at El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de la Porciúncula in 1831. Upon his arrival, he bought 104 acres of land located between the original Pueblo and the banks of the Los Angeles river. Vignes proceeded to plant vines and to build a winery. Unhappy with the quality of the local Mission grapes, he imported Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon blanc vines from Bordeaux In 1834, Vignes also planted one of the first orange groves in the Los Angeles area. By 1849, El Aliso, as Vignes' property was called, was the most extensive vineyard in California. Vignes owned over 40,000 vines and produced 150,000 bottles, or 1000 barrels, per year. In 1850, Vignes was the largest wine producer in California.
Château La Tour Blanche
, or La Tour-Blanche
, is a winery is located in the commune of Bommes
within the region of Graves
, which produces a sweet white wine ranked as Premier Cru
Classé (French, “First Growth”) of Sauternes wine
in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855
. Uniquely among classed growth wineries, the estate is the property of the French state, and the site of the La Tour Blanche School of Viticulture and Oenology.
Records date the estate's origins to the 18th century, and connect them to Jean Saint-Marc du Latourblanche, treasurer-general to Louis XIV. Following the French Revolution, the estate was owned by Pierre Pécherie, but a later owner, the German Frederic Focke raised the reputation of the winery, and was for a period credited with bringing the tradition of sweet white wine to Sauternes from his Rhine origins. After the rewarding outcome of the 1855 Classification and Focke's death, the estate was eventually acquired by Daniel "Osiris" Iffla who among several patrotic acts, left in his testament La Tour Blanche to the State upon his death in 1907, on the condition it would become an agricultural college. From 1911, the La Tour Blanche School of Viticulture and Oenology has been responsible for education and training of wine industry professionals, as well as running La Tour Blanche as a classed winery.
is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties
. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country
among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley
to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley
. Cabernet Sauvignon became internationally recognized through its prominence in Bordeaux wines
where it is often blended with Merlot
and Cabernet Franc
. From France
, the grape spread across Europe
and to the New World
where it found new homes in places like California's Napa Valley
, Australia's Coonawarra region
and Chile's Maipo Valley
. For most of the 20th century, it was the world's most widely planted premium red wine grape until it was surpassed by Merlot
in the 1990s.
Despite its prominence in the industry, the grape is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France. Its popularity is often attributed to its ease of cultivation—the grapes have thick skins and the vines are hardy and resistant to rot and frost—and to its consistent presentation of structure and flavours which express the typical character ("typicity") of the variety. Familiarity and ease of pronunciation have helped to sell Cabernet Sauvignon wines to consumers, even when from unfamiliar wine regions. Its widespread popularity has also contributed to criticism of the grape as a "colonizer" that takes over wine regions at the expense of native grape varieties.
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