Rioja's Visiting Professors: How the French put one of Spain's Iconic Wine Regions on the map

Before the advent of the printing press, the transport of people, and therefore, ideas, was difficult.  Only exceptional motivators like war, pestilence, and religion were sufficient to cause groups of people to migrate.  When new concepts moved into new regions this slowly, they came up against strong existing cultures.  As a result, only the best ideas were incorporated into local tradition.

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Matters of Trust: The Origin of France's AOC System

Wine, as a product, has long engendered trust issues on the part of its devotees.  In addition to being relatively expensive, it can be difficult to distinguish between different types of wine.  Most problematically, there is little recourse for the consumers who realize they have been cheated.  Thus, since its discovery, there has been real tension between producers who establish their reputation by making the best possible wines and those who seek to gain an unearned windfall off of other’s reputations.

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The American Spirit: Bourbon's Frontier Roots

“Do what you can with what you have where you are.”  These words, spoken by Theodore Roosevelt, succinctly sum up one of the most important attributes of humanity: perseverance.  While Roosevelt was definitively not referring to the creation of alcohol, history has shown that at least some of humanity’s persevering spirit extends in that direction as well.  This was true in the late 18th century when frontier settlements in Kentucky were founded by Scotch-Irish immigrants.  Drawn by cheap land and the opportunity to make better lives for themselves, many settled in a place called Bourbon County, west of the Allegheny mountains.

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