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Soft Soil, Black GrapesThe Birth of Italian Winemaking in California$
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Simone Cinotto

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814717387

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814717387.001.0001

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Italian Winemakers and the American System

Italian Winemakers and the American System

(p.151) Chapter 8 Italian Winemakers and the American System
Soft Soil, Black Grapes

Simone Cinotto

NYU Press

This chapter examines how Piedmont-born winemakers adjusted to U.S. capitalism and the mass market through constant innovation and mechanization of their methods of production, preservation, and long-distance transportation. In the historiography of California wine, the Italian Swiss Colony, and more specifically its first president, Pietro Carlo Rossi, is widely regarded as a leading figure in the modernization of the American wine industry. Rossi's experience is an excellent example of how Piedmontese winemakers in California enhanced their technical and merchandizing skills despite arriving from Piedmont with so little knowledge of wine. This chapter also considers how Rossi and his fellow Piedmontese winemakers integrated their wineries into America's economic system by understanding the dynamics of both the wine market and public regulation.

Keywords:   winemakers, capitalism, innovation, mechanization, California, Italian Swiss Colony, Pietro Carlo Rossi, modernization, wine industry, wineries

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