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.
In France, where the vineyard and its products have for many years been considered of primary importance, we would naturally expect to find not only the details of every branch of the business generally and thoroughly understood, but so systematized that new forms of the business would rarely be developed In this, it would seem, we are mistaken; a class of dealers are there wanted now, which are undoubtedly called for in the early stages of any business, in regard to which full information for its entire management is not always possessed by those who wish to engage in it. We note the fact as one of the signs of the times; we are not unmindful, however, of the existence of such firms as Vilmorin and others. In France, the number of names of vines (local and general) is formidable, all of them having advocates of their merits, while, in reality, the number of the really valuable kinds is not large, and their characteristics are well understood by the intelligent, as well as their special adaptation to particular soils and localities.
These facts are open to all who are disposed to investigate them; but there are many who will not take the trouble, choosing rather to be led (or rather misled) by the uninformed and untrustworthy.
For this state of things, Messrs. Blondeau-Dejussieu and Masson propose a remedy, a brief outline of which is all that we can give. They have published two catalogues, in which they estimate the value of the leading varieties, giving their synonyms, (which are very numerous,) with the climate and soil to which each is adapted, and all other information which the purchaser of plants for a vineyard is supposed to require. The information is precise, and valuable to the vineyardists (if we may coin a word) of France, and to all who wish to become so; and the facilities which they propose to afford appear, to be worthy of consideration even in our own country. The persons whose names are here given are well known in France, and we presume are distinguished for their knowledge, integrity, and business capacity, all of which qualifications are requisite to fit them for their new occupation. Such a mission, well performed, would be a beneficent one for any country, even for ours at this moment; for the indications are unmistakable that ours is to be a great grape-growing country, and the work is already in progress on a scale by no means insignificant.
We understand that these gentlemen contemplate a similar mission for California. We think it remains to be proved that the foreign grape is the best adapted to that climate; and the experiment should be entered upon very cautiously by all concerned. In France they would have no such uncertainty to contend with, and it therefore behooves them to consider the matter seriously before they advance too far. Our California friends would also do well to give the subject a like serious consideration before embarking their capital too deeply. We need not say, however, that we wish to all concerned the full measure of success which belongs to well-directed efforts. Experiment and investigate cautiously, and adopt only such facts as are well ascertained. One well-ascertained fact is worth many plausible inferences. In view of past experience with foreign vines, we drop a word of caution to our friends in all parts of the country; their success is not only more than doubtful, but at present they are unneeded: in a few years we shall have numbers of native grapes that will meet all our requirements.