Wine is studied in many disciplines. It covers agronomy geology, politics, and geology to mention some. Drinking wine Europeans colonized the New World and exported to colonies a lifestyle. The importation of wine was necessary in the short-term, whereas the planting of grapes would be long-term.
Although it was impossible to replicate Europe precisely in the Americas however, many of the creature comforts could be brought in. The exotic fauna, flora and even plants were transferred across the oceans to allow for the introduction of new varieties of vegetable and meats as well as wines.
The Catholic Church was right side by side with the Spanish army during their takeover of the control of Mexico, Central America, and South America, as far south as Peru, Chile, and Argentina. The wine planted was to be used in sacramental ceremonies as well as consumption for secular purposes, and was in fact part of the daily diet and encouraged planting all over.
The first attempts to plant Vitis vinifera in central Mexico failed in the early 1500s. Within 50 years, however, many vineyards were established on the western coastline of South America.
The Spanish were keen on planting an easy grape. The grape is now known as Pais in Chile. In Mexico it is known as the Mission grape. It was easy to care for and was not a problem with drought. It produced a light-colored wine but was of poor quality.
But, Chilean and Argentine winemakers have made the wine into a respectable wine during the 21st century. The colonies could be a market for Spanish wine exporters in the 1500s. They were soon finding that colonial wines were pushing them out.
In the 16th century King Philip II stopped wine production in the colonies. However, the enforcement was unsuccessful.
The British attempted to replicate Spanish success, which was achieved in New England and Virginia, during the late 1700s however early planting failed: both because of inclement weather and disease, possibly phylloxera, to which European grapes were susceptible to, as it was discovered centuries later.
In the 1600s, in the beginning colonists began to make wine using native wild grapes of North America. Although not well-received however, the wine is produced in New York and New England with the original American grapes, such as Concord. The wine was made by Vitis labrusca, a cultivated grape species. They are used as table grapes, wine grapes and juice grapes, it makes wine, and especially kosher wine such as Manischewitz and Mogen David. Experts describe these wines, as being foxy tasting.
Thomas Jefferson was the most distinguished wine expert of his time. He traveled extensively throughout Europe to take precise notes. He tried planting several times at Monticello but the results were never satisfactory. Disease and climate were the main reasons that prevented him from planting European grapevines.
However, in honor of his memory, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in the 1990s rehabilitated the vineyards at Monticello. Three years later, the harvest was profitable commercially and the production of wine began.
Virginia’s wines are growing in popularity despite the humid and hot summers. The wine industry has developed and matured over the past years. The majority of the production is Vitis vinifera, although there are some American varieties. Chardonnay and Merlot are among the top cultivars, followed by Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
For more on colonialism and wine, head on over to This Day In Wine History…
The colonial politics weren’t limited to the Americas. In the 1650s in the 1650s, the Dutch planted at the Cape of Good Hope, on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa as a layover halfway between Europe and the Dutch East Indies, on the route of spice. Their wine was not for use in the local market, it was a product to offer at a price to thirsty crews of ships. The colonization of Australia was already underway by the end in the 17th century. In the early years in the 1800s wine export was a major economic driver.
New Zealand was not an economically viable region for production until the mid-1800s. Canada also was late to the game and is now a vital wine region.
Wherever Europeans go the wine goes. The effects of colonialism and the expansion of wine, was felt all over the world.
The majority of the world’s land was affected by European colonialism during the 1500s until the 1900s. French colonialism was a source of trouble in Vietnam as well as Algeria. The English were in Iran, India, and Hong Kong, well into the 20th century. Today, we are aware that wine is a matter of politics, everywhere, and in every country.
China and Australia are both involved in a major wine dispute. Current U.S.-imposed tariffs on most French, German, Spanish and U.K. wines have caused an intense response by the European Union.
Stay healthy, and Cheers.