The American Vine-Dresser’s Guide

Being a Treatise on the Cultivation of the Vine, and the Process of Wine Making Adapted to the Soil and Climate of the United States

Published in Cincinnati in 1826, this volume in the American Antiquarian Cookbook Collection by a wine connoisseur who established the first commercial vineyard in America is an amazingly thorough work on grape growing and wine making specifically adapted to the United States’ climate and soil.

Authored by wine connoisseur John James DeFour, who established the first commercial vineyard in the United States, The American Vine-Dresser’s Guide is an amazingly thorough work on grape growing and wine making specifically adapted to the American climate and soil. Despite being published nearly 200 years ago in 1826, DeFour’s practices and recommendations are still being utilized and referenced today since little has changed in the wine-making industry. DeFour’s knowledge and understanding of the process were very far advanced compared with the technology available in his day.

 

With extensive tips and information about grape selections, watering grapes, manure, soil fertility, barreling wine, and much more, The American Vine-Dresser’s Guide is truly a wine-making tome with as much relevance today as in the early 19th century. Of the importance of wine and grapes, DeFour states in the preface, “. . . show the consequence on the health, temperance and cheerfulness of the people generally in any country, where there is a sufficient supply of genuine wine, which is equal to the provision of bread stuff.”

 

This edition of The American Vine-Dresser’s Guide was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the Society is a research library documenting the lives of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection comprises approximately 1,100 volumes. 

About the Author

John James DeFour was born in Canton de Vaud, Switzerland, in 1763, but relocated with his family to Kentucky and, later, Switzerland County, Indiana. DeFour established the first commercial vineyard in the United States in 1798. Although the vineyard ultimately failed after a frost killed the crop and vines, DeFour became an expert in grape growing and wine making with many of his practices and recommendations still applicable to modern vineyards. He died in 1827 in Indiana.

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