sing forced Indian labor, Spanish missions in the West cultivated
grapes to provide wine for Catholic ritual consumption. Immigrant ethnic
and religious communities (Italian, German, Swiss, French, Balkan, Jewish,
and Catholic) throughout the United States formed the backbone of the
burgeoning American wine industry in California and New York in the latter
third of the 19th century.
the American vine-root louse, phylloxera, nearly extinguished Jeffersons
dreams for American wine, by infesting all the imported European vinifera
rootstock in the United States. The dreams were further eroded by Prohibition
in the 1920's and the failure of American wine drinking to move from ethnic
and upper class consumption to a beer and whiskey drinking or temperance
practicing middle class. But, after the repeal of Prohibition, the American
wine industry nevertheless rose from the ashes. And, after World War II,
vineyards with European vinifera grapes grafted onto American phylloxera
resistant rootstock--a strategy that had saved European vineyards in the
nineteenth century-- sprang up again all across the country.