How the North Bay Became 'Wine Country'

Bay Curious
|

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

To answer Michael's question about when wine country got start and how it became. So popular, we brought in reporter Christopher Beale Hey Christopher Hay alluvia. So let's start with when wine grapes were first planted in the North Bay. When was that all the way back in eighteen twenty three the Spanish created a mission in Sonoma's. It's the first place where grapes were intentionally planted in wine country but the wine made from these grapes was Sacramento Kinda like alcoholic. Grape juice used in church, not what we would recognize as wine, and then in eighteen thirty s some of the early European settlers in the NAPA sonoma valleys would have grown some basic wine grapes as well. Now, when does the wine country that we think of today start to take shape for the sake of the story let's start in eighteen forty California is ten years from entering the Union and this guy named Charles Krug arrives in San Francisco. Crew was a German after the revolutions of eighteen, forty eight in Europe the comes into San Francisco. It was the editor of a German language newspaper in San Francisco. That's Jim Lapsley he managed agricultural continuing education at UC Davis for more than thirty years with focus on wine-making. Now, after a few years in San Francisco Charles Krug gets married and ended up as a dowry getting quite a bit of land. This is the area just North of Santa Lena where the Charles Krug winery is located considered. It'd be the first commercial winery in Napa Valley. The wine country story is really one about marketing and innovation, and this Guy Charles crew gets credit for a lot of the early innovation and wine country including being the first to use a cider press, which is kind of like a slotted barrel to press wine grapes before that grapes were generally crushed by people's feet. When California entered the union, it was a place where we could grow grapes because the climate was quite similar to the southern Mediterranean. It was dry during the summer it had wet winters and differ grew very well here in California. For, is a species of grapevine. It's used to make wine after the early success of pioneers like Cruyff people began to plant grapes and produce more wind and the NAPA and sonoma valleys. But this was still considered low quality table wine and it continued to represent only a fraction of the US market mainly because it was still cheaper for east coast consumers to import wine. From Europe by boat, then from California by train. But that all changed in eighteen, seventy five, the US government stepped in and increase the tax on imported European wines to twenty cents a gallon which leveled the financial playing field for California's wine producers, and as a result, the wines dig it imported from Europe can be much more expensive wines and oak wine that was everyday drinking. That became the from California. Now. It wasn't a linear march from this moment today. The wind industry suffered a few major setbacks over the years but one way or another managed to survive them. Here's a few of the important ones I wine country was almost destroyed by bugs in the eighteen seventies. This is a microscopic bug that eats the roots of wine grapes. It's related to an eighth fit in it's called. PHILOXENIA. And when it arrived in wine country, it destroyed the vineyards to kill the vineyards and the only way could really come up with a solution was to plant on grafted vines the bottom, the rootstock would be a native variety and then on top graft with Vida's Benifica.

Coming up next