Better late then never!
4 June 1753
The “Accademia dei Georgofili” is founded in Florence.
“Georgofilo” is a word derived from the greek, precisely geōrgós (farmer) and filo (lover), meaning something like “those who love the farmers”. And in fact the Accademia dei Georgofili is an institution which promotes the education in fields like agronomy, forestry and agrarian economy and geography.
The Academy has been important also for oenology, acknowledging the poor state of Italian viticulture in the 19th century and promoting new methods and technologies both in the vineyards and in the wineries.
The institution is still alive and well. Its aims have not really changed much and include research, publishing (of both journals and treatises) and education.
7 June 1911
The French Senate institutes the “Champagne deuxieme zone”.
In February of the same year the Champagne area had been delimited with the notable exclusion of the Aube: the reason had been that wine from this area was much cheaper than that from further north (Marne, Aisne) and the local viticulteurs had violently protested against the situation.
However, once excluded, the Aubois organized their own protests, equally violent, under the slogan «Champenois nous fûmes, champenois nous sommes, Champenois nous resterons, et ce sera comme ça!» (Champenois we were, Champenois we are, Champenois we will remain, and so it shall be!)
To reach a compromise the Senate created this “second zone”, under which Aube producers could label their wine “Champagne deuxieme zone “, although the wine could not be used to make the “standard” Champagne and so it could not be sold to northern négociants.
It was not really a satisfying solution, but the rich 1911 vintage first and the coming of World War I later overshadowed the issue.
In 1927 the Aube was finally reinstated in the proper Champagne appellation and today it makes some very fine wines especially from Pinot Noir, in a very different style from those of the Montagne de Reims.
18 June 1913
Robert Mondavi was born in Virginia (Minnesota).
Robert Mondavi, founder of the eponymous wine company, was one of American wine pioneers, active in California since 1943, when he joined his father and brother in the managing of Charles Krug winery. In 1966 he then went on to found Robert Mondavi Winery with his sons, later taken over by Constellation Brand. Before the take over Mondavi had also bee one of the owners of Opus One and, for a brief period, Ornellaia.
At present the image of the Robert Mondavi brand is kind of twofold: it is very famous, but the wines range from extremely cheap (800 yen cheap, like Woodbridge) and reasonably expensive and good.
On a personal note, I have always felt a connection with the Mondavi family: Robert’s father, Cesare, was from Sassoferrato (Marche), a place very near to my Italian hometown. And yet, almost no one knows about the Mondavis in Italy, with the exception of wine experts and people in the trade. As an emigrate, it makes me think.
27 June 1985
Diethylene glycol is discovered in a 1983 Rüster Auslese sold in Stuttgart. The 1985 Austrian wine scandal explodes.
Diethylene glycol is a chemical used as antifreeze for car engines, not really something you would want in your wine glass. At the beginning of the 1980s some Austrian producers unlawfully added it to their wine to enhance sweetness and texture. The scandal had a very big echo: that was not just adulteration, like adding water to the must or chaptalizing where you can’t, but a toxic and potentially lethal addition to a food. Diethylene glycol can damage kidneys, liver and brain if assumed in quantities over 40 grams over a short period of time, a value surpassed by one of the seized bottles, which contained 48 grams per liter.
Producers were arrested, including Otto Nadrasky Sr, the man who came with the idea. The famous company Pieroth was also involved.
The reputation of Austrian wine suffered a tremendous blow, export fell to almost zero in no time. If you look at the table below, it took Austria 15 years to recover 1985 export values.
Today Austria is a respected wine producing Country and makes excellent wine of great quality.