January 1st, 1452
The Hospices de Beaune, founded by chancellor Nicolas Rolin of Burgundy, finally opens its gates to accomodate its first patients. The hospital is today known for hosting the most famous wine charity auction in the World, which takes place on the third Sunday of November.
January 5th, 1639
Little Pierre Pérignon is baptized in Sainte-Manehould, some 80 km east of Reims. The baby will grow into the most famous monk in the history of wine: Dom Pérignon. In 1668 he got appointed as cellarer in Hautvillers, where he skilfully supervised grapegrowing and wine making for the abbey. For decades he has been credited for the invention of champagne wine, but the legend has likely no basis.
January 11, 1922
Franco Biondi-Santi was born in Montalcino. He was the grandson of Ferruccio and the son of Tancredi. With Ferruccio’s granfather Clemente Santi, they are considered to be the creators and perfecters of Brunello di Montalcino as we know it today. The family remained one of the very few Brunello producers for decades, until things started to change in the 1950s. When Brunello became a denomination, its rules were largely based on the practices that Tancredi and Franco were employing in the vineyard.
January 13, 1709
A terrible frost hits France, destroying thousands of hectares of vines in the Loire, Bordeaux, Champagne and Burgundy regions. The Nantais was especially affected, while in Paris the temperature fell to -20℃. Consequences were dramatic and wine prices quadrupled compared to the previous year. On the other hand many growers took this opportunity to replant their vineyards with more commercially appetising grape varieties, rationalising their production.
January 21st, 1521
Jean de Monque and Guilhem de Mailhois reach an agreement on a perpetual annuity of “Aubrion” wine: the former will provide every year four pipes of wine (around 1,800 L) to the latter in exchange to 400 Bordeaux Francs (today equivalent to around 50,000 euros). This is the oldest mention of Haut-Brion, discovered in 2014 after a challenge launched by owner Domaine Clarence Dillon.
January 31st, 1984
is born disciplinare is first published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale. The area is famous today for its wines made from Bordeaux varieties (especially Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, complemented by Merlot and others) and for being the birthplace of the Super Tuscans movement (Sassicaia and Ornellaia the most famous names). However at its birth the denomination allowed only white and rosé wines. Red wines would have to wait the first modification of the disciplinare ten years later, in 1994.