by Fred McMillin
for April 15, 1999


A Titanic Pick


The Titanic sank on this date, April 15, in 1912.

The Rest of the Story

As I contemplate the movie, and the actual event, I want to sip something from a California winery that was doing well at the time of the tragedy. Let's go back a few years.

The Paris Exposition of 1900


Today's wine came from this Sonoma vineyard that's been in the same family for five generations.

Competing with Europe's best, American wines were on the rise. While two decades earlier they had won but two awards, in 1900 they won three dozen medals. Among the medalists was Sonoma County's Gundlach-Bundschu.

The 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition at San Francisco

Celebrating the newly-opened Panama Canal, the Exposition brought vintners and their wives to be wined and dined by local producers. One of the leading hosts was none other than Charles Bundschu. As part of his tribute to the visitors, he even composed new words to a popular song, which started:

    You've traveled far the Fair to see--Upidee, Upida!
    You've brought with you much mirth and glee--Upidee, Upida! and went on to praise the delegates and their wives, as "the jolliest crowd we've met in our lives."
The Fair was a success!

Today's Wine

So I'm pulling a bottle of Gundlach-Bundschu '95 Merlot out of my cellar tonight. I hope your wine shop still has some. If not, phone Jeff or Rob Bundschu and plead...(707) 938-5277.


Regarding 1912, there were other headlines of interest besides the Titanic tragedy. The first "successful" (yikes!) parachute jump was made. A new wrapping was developed, called cellophane. In California, a grocery store for the first time permitted customers to pick their own groceries off the shelves. and regarding the movies, their popularity was enormous; U.S.A. attendance that year was about five million.

Teiser & Harroun's Winemaking in California
Leon Adam's The Wines of America, 4th Ed.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


WineDay Annex

More articles by
Fred McMillin


Welcome to WineDay, the electronic Gourmet Guide's daily update. Monday through Thursday, WineDay presents a wine profile. Then on Fridays we present the Winery of the Week to take you through the weekend.


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