Americans Discovered Good Taste by Copying the French

chateau palmerAlthough we create new varietals, discover new wine regions, and develop new technologies and methods. these innovations produce minor deviations from a core concept that sometimes seems immune to radical change. There are, after all, only so many ways to ferment grape juice. Red and white still wine, sparkling wine, and fortified wine have been around for centuries and are still the main wine styles on offer. Every wine we drink is a modification of those major themes.

Nevertheless, sometimes wine styles change, often massively. In a community so bound by tradition how does that change take place? One example of a massive change in taste took place in the U.S. in the decades following WWII, where in the course of about twenty years American wine consumers changed their preference from sweet wine to dry. How did such a revolution in taste occur in such a relatively short period of time?

See my Three Quarks Daily column “The Borrowed and the New: American Wine and French Tradition” for the answer.

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