This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
An opinion prevails in Borne of the eastern cities - doubtless encouraged by the importers of foreign wines - that our native wines are gradually falling into disuse. I am happy to say that this opinion is entirely erroneous. The demand for the still wines is now greater than ever, and for the sparkling wines, equal to any period previous. The financial troubles of last year somewhat interrupted the consumption of sparkling wines, but only to a small extent.
We have the gratification here of knowing that our own wines are rapidly displacing the foreign, and that the people are supplied with purer wines from our own soil, than many of the mixtures from abroad prove to be.
This is as it should be; why should we send our money thousands of miles abroad, to purchase an inferior article to what we can produce at home. There . is no American spirit in that policy.
The vintage of 1855 was a light one; the average per acre not exceeding 150 gallons. We have in this vicinity about 1000 acres in bearing, which will yield 150,000 gallons. Half of this crop has been sold already, at prices ranging from 90 cents to $1 10 per gallon from the press. Part of it intended for sparkling wines, and part for still. Ten thousand gallons were purchased for the St. Louis market, the grape crop in Missouri having proved to be almost a total failure.
Our still wines sell here at $6 to $7 per dozen, and the sparkling at $11 to $12. Good still wines can be purchased by the cask at $1 25 to $1 50 per gallon, after the second fermentation, and when fit for bottling.
The introduction of pure native wines will do more in aid of the temperance cause than all the stringent "Maine Laws" that can be enacted; our experience thus far points to this remedy with great-confidence.
In the simplicity of my younger housekeeping days, I used to drink wine, for years, as a daily beverage at the dinner table. But when I found that, added to the folly of imitating a senseless fashion, it did me no good, and more, that the bulk of the foreign wines in this country were a vile compound of drugs, alcohol, and the cast-off washings of European wine-presses, I let them alone; yet, I do not embargo the tastes or the appetites of those who choose to indulge "temperately" in the use of a health-promoting, or life-enjoying stimulant - if such a thing exists. The "native" wine interest is getting to be a leading one in the neighborhood of Cincinnati, and if men will use it, I commend the home article over the foreign, by all means. I shall not tilt an argument with Mr. Buchanan on the fact that native wines will do moreto promote temperance than the "Maine Law;" but only say, that I have seen men rise - or try to rise - from the dinner table, as well as from various other sittings, quite as "glorious" as Tarn O'shanter when hob-a-nobbing over their ale with his "drouthy crony," Souter Johnny, and that, too, from their free libations of "native" wine, bottled at Cincinnati - the "pure, sparkling" article itself!