PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

Prospecting

At a glance: Cheers

By From page B2 | August 28, 2013

Escabar_MimiOn Aug. 28, 1798 the first successful United States vineyard was established in Kentucky. There are a multitude of wineries and vineyards with “first ” claims but John James Dufour is credited with the first successful commercial vineyard and winery in America. The native of Switzerland named the winery The First Vineyard. His plan was to establish a Swiss colony and winery about 25 miles from Lexington, Kent. There were other vineyard attempts but they failed because the European vines did not do well in the new soil and could not fight the new diseases in the terroir. Dufour found that the Cape variety seemed to do well because it was a cross between a wild native grape and a European grape. His first group of investors lost interest in the Kentucky project so he moved to land north of the Ohio River in the Indiana Territory. Some records recognize the Indiana effort over the Kentucky start but both played a part in the future of viticulture in the United States. The first vineyard in Kentucky proved that a new wine grape could survive this side of the Atlantic and the Indiana effort proved it could succeed. Cheers to John James Dufour.

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