Online Encyclopedia

WINES OF THE UNITED

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 728 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WINES OF THE UNITED STATES The cultivation of the vine has made very rapid strides in the United States during the past half-century. Whereas in 185o the production amounted to little more than a million gallons, the output to-day is, in good years, not far short of 5o million gallons. The result has been that the domestic wines have now very largely displaced the foreign product for ordinary beverage purposes. At the same time, there is no reason to believe that the finer European wines will be entirely displaced, inasmuch as these are characterized by qualities of delicacy and breed which cannot be reproduced at will. At the same time, there is no doubt that much of the wine produced in the United States is of very fair quality, and this is largely due to the fact that the Americans have been at great pains to introduce the latest scientific methods in regard to the vine and wine-making. Thus in parts of California, where high temperatures are liable to prevail during the vintage, the system—first employed in Algeria—of cooling the must during fermentation to the proper temperature by means of a series of pipes in which iced water circulates is now largely employed. The use of pure culture yeast derived from many of the most famous European vineyards has also done much towards improving the quality. In California there are, in addition to the native growths, vines from almost every European wine-growing centre, and the produce of these goes by such names as Riesling, Hermitage, Sauternes, Chianti, &c., in accordance with the district of origin of the vine. California is the largest wine-growing state, as the Pacific slope seems particularly suitable to vine-growing. At the present time there are about 280,000 acres under the vine in California, and the number of vines is about 90 millions. The annual production is about 30 million gallons, of which rather more than one-half is dry wine. A good deal of sweet wine is also made, particularly in the Fresno district, where, however, a large proportion of the grapes is grown with a view to making raisins. Following California, New York and Ohio are the most important wine-producing states. The centre of the wine trade of Ohio is at Sandusky on the shores of Lake Erie. Here, as well as at Cleveland, " champagnes " and " clarets " and " sparkling Catawba " are the chief wines produced. The latter was first made by Nicolas Longworth of Cincinnati. The Catawba is the chief growth of the Lake Erie district; the other important vines being the Delaware and Concord. New York state, in which wine has been grown from a very early period, produces roughly three-quarters of all the domestic " champagnes."' There are about 75,000 acres under the vine in this state, and roughly 5 million gallons are produced annually. The wines grown on the Pacific slope are generally of a mild and sweet character, resembling in general nature the wines of southern Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal). In the eastern and middle states the wines produced are of a lighter type and of drier flavour, and are somewhat similar to the growths of Germany and France. At the present time America exports a considerable quantity of wine, and there is some trade in the United Kingdom in Californian " claret."
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