Friday, January 20, 2012

L.H. Bailey-A Look Backward On The Grape

    On a shelf in my library are some fifty books printed in North America which are devoted to the grape, but there is no other fruit that has anywhere near this number of volumes. When, many years ago, I began to collect horticultural books from antiquarian shops in all parts of the country, with no lists to guide me, I was struck by the profusion of writings on "the vine" and began to make inquiry as to the reasons for it. I found that therein lay a most interesting and devious history, and one that has much significance to the development of agricultural practice. We think of history as belonging to politics and governments, to kings and thrones and wars, but hardly to such common practices as the plowing of land and the growing of grapes; yet, one does not plow, neither does he plant, until he makes up his mind to do so, and he makes up his mind because there are antecedent reasons.
    These grape books are generally old — of the middle of last century and earlier — and they impress one greatly with the description of European practice. Many of them are books recording the attempt to transfer Old World methods into this new continent, and to grow the vine for the purpose of making wine; for wine has been the destiny of the grape from the time of Noah until the present epoch.-L.H. Bailey

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