The American Civil War

1258 Words Dec 7th, 2015 6 Pages
In 1862, as the tribulation of the American Civil War unraveled, across the ocean an invasion of European vineyards began. Today, as we look out at the vineyards of the lower Rhône valley and admire their well-ordered appearance of tamed nature, we would not think that this was once a scene of desolation. Yet, in the mid-1860s, vines around Roquemaure, a small town and commune located in the South of France, Rhône, began to dry up and die. Over a span of 15 years, as an unexplainable plague spread across Europe, almost the entire country of France was "phylloxerated.” Withered. Wiped out. Consequences, both economically and socially, for people and organizations around the world were dire. Recovery from this catastrophic episode took nearly 40 years of wine production. French vignerons, the term used to describe a grower/winemaker, abandoned their devastated vineyards and headed, defeated, for new beginnings. Consumption of wine throughout the world plummeted. Military regiments, who most commonly drank wine, switched to whisky and soda, and the Victorians once familiar habit of drinking champagne at dinner returned. Many reasons were offered up for this attack on winegrapes, some thoughtful, some ridiculous. Stranger yet were the possible answers thought up by those in desperate search of a cure. One thing is certain: the introduction of phylloxera was one of French vignerons’ most socially impactful and economically challenging events of all time. Phylloxera is a…
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