So perhaps there is a bit of hyperbole in the above subtitle to this piece, yet indeed there is a bit of truth to it. To preface that statement though, viticulturalists had to get inventive when bringing French grapevines to the New World. Vitis Vinifera, the species of grapes we are most accustomed to (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, etc.) were brought to the Americas, first by the Spaniards in the 16th Century, then by the French in the 17th Century. These attempts to transplant Vinifera grapes proved disastrous, as they succumbed to parasites and blight rather quickly. Ingenuity would win out eventually, as these intrepid viticulturalists would graft the Vinifera vines onto existing indigenous rootstock - vines of the local species Vitis Labrusca (grapes you may or may not have seen locally like Concord, Vidal Blanc, Chambourcin) - and thus, grape growing would be sustainably established.
These lessons would not be entirely forgotten, as in the mid-to-late 1800s the European wine community would experience something known as Phylloxera, a louse that would devour the rootstocks of Vinifera grapes, decimating vineyards all across Europe. Yet through the exchange of Labrusca rootstocks at the various nurseries in France and Austria, vintners were able to replant using Vinifera cuttings grafted onto Labrusca rootstocks, and thus - in a rather bold vantage point - Americans saved the world of wine. (I should note that this happened in the States after the turn of the 20th Century, and American vintners had to do the process all over again to bring back our wine industry from the brink.)
So in the spirit of all this regeneration, we celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday later this month with some incredible wines from right here in the U.S. of A.:
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