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by Fred McMillin
for June 22, 1998
Hurrah for Victoria
June 20, 1837—Alexandrina Victoria becomes Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. She ruled for 63 years, the longest of any British monarch.
This weekend marked the 161st anniversary of Queen Victoria's ascendancy to the throne. It marked the beginning of the U.K.'s greatest years of power, the Victorian Era, named after her. Three years earlier, in far away southern Australia, one Edward Henty planted the first vines in the colony that soon also would be named after her. In fact, local wine was served Nov. 28,1850 at a ball to celebrate the establishment of Victoria Colony, separating it from New South Wales.
What were the wines like? Sweet and fortified (alcohol added). So, my weekend toast to Alexandrina had to be made with a sweet, fortified wine from Victoria. And, you can buy it in the USA.
Benjamin Port, Victoria, Australia
Northern California and Victoria have much in common. They are at about the same latitude in their respective hemispheres. When Edward Henty was planting the first Victoria vines, General Mariano Vallejo was becoming the first commercial vintner in northern California. Most suprising, by 1851 both were blessed and cursed by the same phenomenon; in both areas there was a major GOLD RUSH!
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