In 1975 there were 125 wineries in eastern North America. By 2013 there were more than 2,400. How and why the eastern United States and Canada became a major wine region of the world is the subject of this history. Unlike winemakers in California with its Mediterranean climate, the pioneers who founded the industry after Prohibition—1933 in the United States and 1927 in Ontario—had to overcome natural obstacles such as subzero cold in winter and high humidity in the summer that favored diseases devastating to grapevines. Enologists and viticulturists at Eastern research stations began to find grapevine varieties that could survive in the East and make world-class wines. These pioneers were followed by an increasing number of dedicated growers and winemakers who fought in each of their states to get laws dating back to Prohibition changed so that an industry could begin.
Hudson Cattell, a leading authority on the wines of the East, in this book presents a comprehensive history of the growth of the industry from Prohibition to today. He draws on extensive archival research and his more than thirty-five years as a wine journalist specializing in the grape and wine industry of the wines of eastern North America. The second section of the book adds detail to the history in the form of multiple appendixes that can be referred to time and again. Included here is information on the origin of grapes used for wine in the East, the crosses used in developing the French hybrids and other varieties, how the grapes were named, and the types of wines made in the East and when. Cattell also provides a state-by-state history of the earliest wineries that led the way.