Birthdays in Wine History


Wine has been around for a long time, and many people owe their love of the beverage to the pioneers and innovators who came before them. Today, we celebrate some of the great ones who made their mark on our beloved beverage.

We can’t thank them enough for their contributions to wine history, and we owe them a debt that will never be paid. Enjoy these fascinating birthdays in wine history!

Tiburcio Tapia

Tiburcio Tapia was a pioneering force in California’s wine industry. He erected the first winery in the state and is credited with establishing the modern wine industry.

On this day in 1789, Tapia made a splash in the wine biz by planting the first vineyard in the new state of California. He paved the way for wineries to be built around the country.

Walter Clore

Known as the “Father of Washington Wine,” Walter Clore was a viticulturist who helped pioneer the state’s wine industry. He worked for more than 40 years at Washington State University’s Irrigated Agriculture Research Extension Center in Prosser, studying vines and how to grow them in the Pacific Northwest.

Clore’s legacy is celebrated at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser, which opened in 2014. The center features tastings of wines from all 13 American Viticulture Areas, educational exhibits focusing on Washington’s wine and agriculture, and classes for consumers.

Father Junipero Serra

Serra was the founder of several Catholic missions to convert Native Americans in 18th-century California. He is also the first saint to be canonized on American soil.

Serra fought to make life better for the natives in his missions, rather than just making them work for the settlers or soldiers. He was a true evangelist.

John Adlum

John Adlum, the “Father of American Viticulture,” was born on April 29, 1759 in York, Pennsylvania. He served as a soldier in the Revolution and later became a surveyor.

He cultivated American grapes in his own vineyard near Georgetown, DC. He also authored two books. One was A Memoir on the Cultivation of the Vine in America and the Best Mode of Making Wine, published in 1823.

Gustave Niebaum

In 1868 Captain Gustave Niebaum arrived in California with $600,000 worth of sea otter furs. Soon he became one of the most successful traders and entrepreneur in San Francisco.

Niebaum built a winery and vineyard at Inglenook in Rutherford, Napa Valley. He was an early advocate of meticulous cleanliness in the winery and he insisted on using only the highest quality fruit.

John James Dufour

Dufour was the founder of Swiss vineyards in America and was instrumental in establishing the wine industry. He arrived in 1796 and settled near Lexington, Kentucky.

Several years later, Dufour relocated his operation to Indiana. He established a vineyard in the town of Vevay, today Switzerland County, Indiana. It was called the First Vineyard. It became a major part of the development of the town and the county.

Nicholas Longworth

Known as the “Father of American Wine,” Longworth made his fortune by making wine, using native grapes like Catawba to produce sparkling variants. He sent it out of Ohio and to Europe, where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote an ode to it.

In addition to his thriving wine business, Longworth was a patron of artists. He commissioned the Taft Museum’s famous Duncanson murals, and supported the training of such local artists as Hiram Powers.

Hermann Jaeger

Hermann Jaeger was a Swiss-American viticulturist who lived near Neosho Missouri in the late 1800s. He helped save European vineyards from Phylloxera, an infestation of root louses that threatened to destroy the world’s grapes.

Jaeger experimented with hybrids and wild grapes. He wrote about them for magazines and exchanged information with other viticulturalists.

Prince Lev Golitsyn

Golitsyn was born in 1845 and he founded the first champagne wine factory in Russia. His wine factory won the prestigious gold medal in the 1889 Paris sparkling wines exhibition.

He was a notable member of the Russian elite and a founding father of the wine industry in Russia. His estate, Novy Svet, today still produces a wide variety of fine sparkling wines.

Thomas Volney Munson

Thomas Volney Munson was born in Astoria, Illinois, on September 26, 1843. He became an American horticulturist credited with saving the world’s wine industry by helping European vine growers survive the phylloxera epidemic in the late 19th century.

Munson spent most of his life documenting native grapes and locating, categorizing, and hybridizing them. His research paved the way for new varieties of vitis that have been bred around the world.


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