Wine: A Revolutionary American Beverage

Enjoy the fireworks: Join Paso Robles Wine Club
When most people think about the Fourth of July holiday, their thoughts quickly turn toward hot dogs, cold beer, and fireworks, but wine lovers and members of The Paso Robles Wine Club know better—wine has a long and storied history in American culture, including Paso Robles Wine Country.

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and perhaps the greatest oenophile of any president, had such a love of wine, that he was deeply committed to producing it in America. Although Jefferson first sampled wine in America during the American Revolution, his true introduction didn’t occur until the years that he served as Ambassador of France, touring his way throughout the classic wine regions of the county.

Upon his return, he had a rumored 20,000 bottles of wine imported from France and undertook the arduous task of planting the Vineyards at Monticello. Jefferson was never successful in establishing Vitis Vinifera—the classic European grape—but, with his two vineyards encompassing approximately 25,000 acres, he remained a staunch advocate of American wine making throughout his life.

Benjamin Franklin, well-known for his pithy sayings and a lifetime of incredible productivity, said the now famous quote: “Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.” As a gourmet, he regularly enjoyed a glass of two of wine with meals—along with many of his compatriots.

The history of wine in California came not with politicians, but with the Franciscan Friars. In 1769, Father Junipero Serra established the first of California's missions in San Diego , planting grapes nearby so that there would be an availability of wine to use during church services. Interestingly, as Father Serra and his fellow friars moved north, to build other missions, they brought with them root stocks from the first vineyard so that they could plant new vineyards.

Eventually, with the building of the Santa Margarita Asistencia Mission, grape growing was introduced to San Luis Obispo County. When Andrew York arrived several years later, he planted and founded York Mountain Vineyard off of the 46 west. By the 1830s, wine was a commercial industry in California and between the years 1860 to 1880 wine making flourished.

Not traditionally associated with the Fourth of July festivities, wine is part of American history and culture and with over 200 wineries in Paso Robles Wine Country, it’s hard to think of a more appropriate beverage to enjoy with the fireworks.