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Indiana the first at anything?

WinedecanterAccording to Indiana’s Wine Grape Council, a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of Indiana’s wine industry (actually, most states have these groups—Ohio, for example, has 80 some wineries), Indiana can stake to have the first successful grapegrowing and winemaking venture early in the nineteenth century—this was led by John James Dufour, a footnote in history, but a seemingly important catalyst and Indiana’s own trailblazer.

When John James Dufour, a Swiss immigrant fleeing Napoleon’s armies,set foot in America in 1796, there was no American wine industry. Hehad been sent by his family to scout the best possible place to start aSwiss colony devoted to wine making. He traveled through the MidAtlantic states and found nothing that represented a successfulvineyard. He then crossed the Appalachian Mountains, descended the OhioRiver and eventually settled near Lexington, Kentucky where he foundeda vineyard funded by the sale of shares to the wealthy citizens of thatcity.

Dufour later sought out a new site for the Swiss colony that wason its way from Europe. He purchased land in the newly surveyed IndianaTerritory north of the Ohio River. He took cuttings of the Cape grapeto plant at the new site that would later become Vevay, Indiana. TheCape grapes planted at Vevay proved to be the basis for the firstsuccessful wine production in the United States.


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