Viticulture of Montrei
Viticulture in Montrei began with the settlement of the ancestors of the Montreiano people. Wine was important as water sources could not always be trusted, and was important for the celebration of the mass. Wine was the common drink of the priests, but Brandy was enjoyed to some extent, although this required distilling wine and was much more costly.
The mission grapes are most likely a hybrid of Vitis vinifera, the European wine grape, and Vitis californica or Vitis girdiana, the two common species native to California. These vines produce hardy, strong, and long lived vines. Some of the mission vines still exist and produce good fruit even 300 years after being planted. These vines have been used as clones for rootstock to prevent European varieties from being decimated by Phylloxera.
The Father of Montreiano wine is considered to be Joshua Chauvet, who came from France in the 1800's. He planted the first vineyard in the tiny village of Agua Caliant in the region of Sonoma in 1875. His vineyard and hotel Still remain to this day.
Viticulture in Montrei did not begin on a scale intended for international commerce until the 1960's when Louisiannan entrepreneurs saw the potential of Montrei's microclimates and soils. The first commercial wineries began in the Napa area, and it is this area which is the oldest commercially producing region of Montrei. Napa has gained enough of a reputation that the French have given it its own appellation.
That is not to say that Montrei doesn't have it's own appellations other than that of Napa, they are simply not French recognized. Since the 1960's the viticulture business has increased in importance, and areas which are not suitable for food crops have been tested and some have become regions where vineyards have sprung up. Most of these vinyards have been established on the steep hills or alluvial fans where airflow prevents fungal infection, as well as draining possibly damaging cold winter air. What was once considered rocky, dry, poor land is now some of the most sought after land in the agriculture business.
Typical wines from Montrei are mostly French varieties, but varieties like Sangiovese, and Riesling are also grown. The cooler areas are better for whites, while the reds usually come from warmer regions. The mission grapes still have great use other than as rootstocks. A fortified wine called "Angelica", made from half mission grape wine and half brandy distilled from the same grapes is incredibly popular. There is also an increasing trend to market wines made from mission grapes as being a regional wine, however it is some years away from matching the quality of wines from European varietals, and these are mostly blends of European varieties as pure mission grapes tend to have weak color, bland flavor,and the whites are usually brownish.