The Mark Wine News Spring '18 Volume 8.2 - Page 20

THE HISTORY OF WINE W hen last I wrote, the English had just pledged their allegiance to Portugal because French wines had become too expensive after the Methuen Treaty was signed in 1703. The English had been enjoying French wines, mostly Bordeaux, since the 13th century. Following the French Revolution, consumption and quality of French wine suffered. In order to help the French wine industry recover, something needed to be done. The revolution had put new folks in the driver’s seats, so to speak. Jean-Antoine Chaptal, the Minister of the Interior for Napoleon, believed he knew why. This wasn’t to do with the vineyards or even grapes, but the inexperience of those producing the wine. He said French winemaker’s were not versed or trained in the emerging technologies and winemaking practices that could have improved the quality of their wines. To combat this, Chaptal did his homework. In 1801, he compiled his research into a treatise, Traité théorique et pratique sur la culture de la vigne, the method we know as chapitalization; adding sugar to the wine to increase alcohol levels. This turned out to be a turning point in the history of wine production. P a r t D e u x winemaking by showing that traditional methods could be scientifically improved and up went the technical revolution in winemaking that continues today. Professor Louis Pasteur, Oenology specialist By the mid 19th century, France was really enjoying success and prosperity thanks to the bourgeoisie. Upper class consumers emerged as a strong market for wine and the English were back as well, drinking an increasing amount of French wine. The wines of the Gironde region of Bordeaux seemed to be at the forefront of this fortune and were really enjoying Jean-Antoine Chaptal, Introducer of Chapitalization to French wine (Adding sugar to increase alcohol levels) The research of Louis Pasteur revealed that fermentation was the product of microorganisms and that the lack of fermentation could be attributed to these organisms. This information modernized 18 Documents from the Bordeaux Classification of 1855 THE MARK WINE NEWS