Calendar Listing - Fifty Years of American Winemaking: A Smithsonian Conversation with Wine-growing Families

September 23, 2014

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the museum is bringing together vintners and members of winemaking families whose own histories connect in significant ways to the early 1960s. Some established new vineyards while others transformed existing facilities into modern, distinctive wineries. This period of tremendous expansion and growth in many U.S. winegrowing regions resulted from a combination of postwar prosperity, new ideas about innovation, experimentation and living close to the land, and a strong desire to improve the quality of wine produced in America.

On Oct. 29 at 2 p.m., Washington-based wine writer Dave McIntyre and Paula Johnson, the museum’s curator for food history, will host a conversation with winemakers Robert M. Cook (Chalone Vineyard, Soledad, Calif.); Fred Frank (Dr. Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars, Hammondsport, N. Y.); Jason Lett (The Eyrie Vineyards, Dundee, Ore.); Kathleen Heitz Myers (Heitz Wine Cellars, Napa, Calif.); and Jeffrey Patterson (Mount Eden Vineyards, Saratoga, Calif.).

Admission is free; seating is limited and must be reserved at

The museum established its American Food & Wine History Project in 1996. Through objects, archival materials, and oral histories, the project explores American food and wine through a lens of tradition, science, culture, technology and innovation and endeavors to broaden our understanding of the American identity through shared experiences with food.

Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the museum explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. The museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Admission is free. For more information, visit For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.