Friday, December 31, 2010

The Future

2011: Terrafugia Transition flying cars offered at $200,000.
2014: Lockheed Martin's HULC3 exoskeletons put in use by marines.
2018: Trans-Eurasia Express (Paris-Beijing) world's fastest train.
2020: Virgin Galactic lands on moon, charging $200 million a ticket.


50 Years Of Science Sagas
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2009/12/14/4350316-50-years-of-science-sagas
http://www.casw.org/casw/article/50-science-sagas-50-years

Genetically Engineered Crops
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/15/opinion/15ronald.html?th&emc=th

Aliens Among Us
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/opinion/14davies.html?th&emc=th

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ice Core Scientist - "Pale Blue Dot" (2007)



The music video "was a nominated finalist at the Portobello Film festival in London, and the Concorto Film festival in Italy. It is broadcast on youtube with the kind permission of Cosmos Studios."

Michael Jordan in "Failure"

Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010: The Year in Movies





Top 10
Inception
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Iron Man 2
Inside Job
TRON: Legacy
Salt
Kick-Ass
Predators
The Town
Jackass 3D

Still Need To See:
The Social Network, Get Him to the Greek, 127 Hours, Howl, Toy Story 3, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Tourist, The Fighter, The Chronicles of Narnia, The King's Speech, The Kids Are All Right, Get Low, Black Swan, True Grit, Machete, Red, How to Train Your Dragon, Unstoppable, Centurion, The Ghost Writer, Waiting for Superman, Exit through the Gift Shop, Client 9: Elliot Spitzer, Hubble 3D

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Truce of 1914

Wikipedia:

Background
The first months of World War I had seen an initial German attack through Belgium into France, which had been repulsed outside Paris by French and British troops at the Battle of the Marne in early September 1914. The Germans fell back to the Aisne valley, where they prepared defensive positions. In the subsequent Battle of the Aisne, the Allied forces were unable to push through the German line, and the fighting quickly degenerated into a static stalemate; neither side was willing to give ground, and both started to develop fortified systems of trenches. To the north, on the right of the German army, there had been no defined front line, and both sides quickly began to try to use this gap to outflank one another; in the ensuing "Race to the Sea", the two sides repeatedly clashed, each trying to push forward and threaten the end of the other's line. After several months of fighting, during which the British forces were withdrawn from the Aisne and sent north into Flanders, the northern flank had developed into a similar stalemate. By November, there was a continuous front line running from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier, occupied on both sides by armies in prepared defensive positions.

In the lead up to Christmas 1914, there were several peace initiatives. The Open Christmas Letter was a public message for peace addressed "To the Women of Germany and Austria", signed by a group of 101 British women suffragists at the end of 1914 as the first Christmas of World War I approached. Pope Benedict XV, on 7 December 1914, had begged for an official truce between the warring governments. He asked "that the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang." This attempt was, though, officially rebuffed.

Christmas 1914
Though there was no official truce, about 100,000 British and German troops were involved in unofficial cessations of fighting along the length of the Western Front. Through the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts.

The Germans placed candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols. The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides – as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units – independently ventured into no man's land, where they mingled, exchanging food, tobacco, alcohol, and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing or games of football.

The truce is seen as a symbolic moment of peace and humanity amidst one of the most violent events of modern history. It was not ubiquitous, however; in some regions of the front, fighting continued throughout the day, whilst in others, little more than an arrangement to recover bodies was made. The following year, a few units again arranged ceasefires with their opponents over Christmas, but to nothing like the widespread extent seen in 1914; this was, in part, due to strongly worded orders from the high commands of both sides prohibiting such fraternization.

The truces were not unique to the Christmas period, and reflected a growing mood of "live and let live", where infantry units in close proximity to each other would stop overtly aggressive behavior, and often engage in small-scale fraternization, engaging in conversation or bartering for cigarettes. In some sectors there would be occasional ceasefires to go between the lines and recover wounded or dead soldiers, whilst in others there would be a tacit agreement not to shoot while men rested, exercised, or worked in full view of the enemy. However, the Christmas truces were particularly significant due to the number of men involved and the level of their participation - even in very peaceful sectors, dozens of men openly congregating in daylight was remarkable.

Later Truces
In the following months, there were a few sporadic attempts at truces, and in December there were explicit orders by the Allied commanders to forestall any repeat of the previous Christmas truce. The prohibition was not completely effective, however, and a small number of brief truces occurred. But in the later years of the war, December 1916 and 1917, German overtures to the British for truces were recorded without any success.

Evidence of a Christmas 1916 truce, previously unknown to historians, has recently come to light. In a letter home, 23-year-old Private Ronald MacKinnon told of a remarkable event that occurred on December 25, 1916, when German and Canadian soldiers reached across the battle lines near Vimy Ridge to share Christmas greetings and trade presents. "Here we are again as the song says," the young soldier wrote. "I had quite a good Xmas considering I was in the front line. Xmas eve was pretty stiff, sentry-go up to the hips in mud of course. ... We had a truce on Xmas Day and our German friends were quite friendly. They came over to see us and we traded bully beef for cigars."

Public Awareness
The events of the truce were not reported for a week, in an unofficial press embargo which was eventually broken by the New York Times on 31 December. The British papers quickly followed, printing numerous first-hand accounts from soldiers in the field, taken from letters home to their families, and editorials on "one of the greatest surprises of a surprising war". By January, both the Mirror and Sketch printed front-page photographs of British and German troops mingling and singing between the lines. The tone of the reporting was strongly positive, with the Times endorsing the "lack of malice" felt by both sides and the Mirror regretting that the "absurdity and the tragedy" would begin again.

Coverage in Germany was more muted, with some newspapers strongly criticizing those who had taken part, and no pictures published. In France, meanwhile, the greater level of press censorship ensured that the only word that spread of the truce came from soldiers at the front or first-hand accounts told by wounded men in hospitals.

More information:
» Washington Post: "A Victory for Human Kindness"
» NY Times: Excerpts from Letters, Journals, and Memoirs

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Chipmunks - "The Chipmunk Song" (1958)



Wikipedia:
In 1956, singer/songwriter/actor Ross Bagdasarian's career wasn't going so well. According to his son, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., they were down to their last $200 when his father spent $190 on a V-M tape recorder that would allow him to vary tape speeds. Then in the summer of 1958, Bagdasarian (as David Seville) had a number-one hit with the "Witch Doctor," which was his first experiment with speeding an audio track to get a distinctive, squeaky, high-pitched voice, followed by "The Bird on My Head" which wasn't a hit.

During the Christmas season later that year, he decided to release a single as The Chipmunks called "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)", for which he won three Grammy Awards in 1959: Best Comedy Performance, Best Recording for Children, and Best Engineered Record (Non-Classical).

He named the three Chipmunk characters after record executives: Simon Waronker, Ted Keep (Theodore), and Alvin Bennett.

Following his hit records, Bagdasarian provided the voice for the David Seville and the Chipmunk characters in the Chipmunks' short-lived 1961-62 animated television series The Alvin Show.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Goodbye Gil



Wikipedia:
Gilbert Arenas is a three-time NBA All-Star, three-time member of the All-NBA Teams, and was voted the NBA Most Improved Player in the 2002–03 season. He surpassed the 10,000th career point mark last year, and is one of only 20 NBA players to score 60 or more points in a game (against the Lakers in 2006).

Arenas is most often nicknamed "Agent Zero", referring to his jersey number zero, which he chose to signify that he came from nothing as a child, when he and his father, an aspiring actor, survived by precarious means in Los Angeles.

He is also known as "The Hibachi," borrowing a phrase that his teammate Brendan Haywood first coined, which literally translates to "bowl of fire."

NYTimes:
In 2005-2006, Arenas finished with the fourth-highest scoring average in the N.B.A., at 29.3 points a game, behind Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and LeBron James. And for much of the 2006-2007 season he averaged 30.3 points, third behind Iverson and Carmelo Anthony.

"I think it’s opened up people’s minds," Arenas said of his consistency. "They can look my way and see what I've done in the past is not a fluke. What I’ve done in this league I deserve because I've actually worked for it."

Arenas is indeed very grateful for his success, but he is also a little resentful about being drafted in the second round in 2001 after playing college ball in Arizona. Feeling disrespected, he uses every slight — real or perceived — as motivation.

"In my mind, I arrived a long time ago," said Arenas. "It’s just convincing everybody else that I arrived."

NBA:
Arenas has averaged 17.0 points, 5.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds in his nine-season NBA career. He was known as much for his tantrums as for on-court play when he came to Washington from Golden State in 2003, but he began to display more maturity as he developed into a take-over-the-game player with a knack for hitting buzzer-beating shots. Although he still has his many quirks - yelling "Hibachi!'' after making a big shot is just one of many - he has helped the Wizards became a playoff regular.

Arenas has proven to be one of the most dynamic players in the NBA when healthy, but a major knee and an overzealous rehabilitation sidelined him for most of the last season. He had a first surgery on the knee in April 2007, tried to come back too soon and had a second operation in November. He missed 66 games before returning late in the season, but he had to shut himself down again during the first-round playoff series against Cleveland.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Truth About 2012

"Most of what’s claimed for 2012 relies on wishful thinking, wild pseudoscientific folly, ignorance of astronomy, and a level of paranoia worthy of Night of the Living Dead."
-Dr. E.C. Krupp, Griffith Observatory Director
GriffithObservatory:
While the "end of the Maya calendar" foolishness is the starting point for most 2012 discussions, several other astronomical "events" have been drawn into the mix. All of these claims are fatally flawed and do not make sense. Each of them is listed below, followed by a straightforward discussion of why they do not pass muster.

1. The Maya Calendar is "Ending"
FALSE. The Maya calendar is not spooling up the thread of time. It is coming to the end of a particular cycle in an unending sequence of cycles. According to the rules of the Maya calendar system, a primary interval, Baktun-13, for all practical purposes ends on the winter solstice, 2012. Although pseudoscientific claims have linked this calendrical curiosity to a Maya prophecy of the end of time, there is no evidence for ancient Maya belief in the world's end in 2012 or even in any unusual significance to the cycle's completion.

The Maya calendar relied on multiple cycles of time. In Maya tradition, these cycles of time run far into the future, and there are ancient Maya hieroglyphic inscriptions that project time into the future well beyond 21 December 2012. At the end of Baktun 13 (a period of 144,000 days or 394 years), a new baktun will begin. There is no Baktun-13 end of time. The notion of a Baktun-13 transformational end of time is modern. It originated in Mexico Mystique, a book published in 1975 by an American writer, Frank Waters, who made computational errors.

2. We Are Emerging from a Galactic "Beam"
FALSE. In 1987, the notion of the Maya forecast of the end times was linked to a "beam" from the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The writer who introduced this galactic element also promoted it through 1987's Harmonic Convergence. According to him, we emerge from the beam on winter solstice, 2012 because that's when the Maya calendar "ends." In reality, there is no galactic beam either observed or predicted. There is no astronomical or observational fact here, just assertion.

3. The Sun’s Pathway Through the Milky Way Is Somehow Related.
FALSE. Others have also noted the gradual precessional shift of the Sun's position at winter solstice across the Milky Way. They have claimed the winter solstice Sun will coincide with the center of the Milky Way Galaxy in 2012. In fact, the winter solstice Sun does not get closer than 3 degrees to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. This is equal to six full moons, a very large discrepancy, even for the unaided eye. And the winter solstice Sun is actually closer to the center of Galaxy 200 years after 2012. Even a superficial glance at a typical celestial atlas verifies the current configuration. This is not true. The winter solstice Sun never coincides with the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. There is no "galactic alignment" on winter solstice, 2012. There is no meaningful midpoint across the Milky Way. A midpoint for the winter solstice sun's precessional passage across the Milky Way cannot be defined to a century, let alone a single day (and certainly not to 21 December 2012).

4. A Planetary Alignment Will Destroy the Earth.
FALSE. Some have claimed an alignment of planets occurs on winter solstice, 2012, and will cause a catastrophic reversal of the earth's magnetic field. There is no such planetary alignment on winter solstice, 2012, and even if all the planets did align in this fashion, it would not cause such a reversal of the Earth's magnetic field. There have been numerous planetary alignments and they have had no effect on the Earth.


5. The Mysterious Planet Niburu Is Headed Our Way.
FALSE. Conspiracy fatalists are convinced that the imaginary planet Niburu is out there and headed our way. According to this bizarre scenario, NASA, the astronomical community, and presumably everyone else "in the know" (except, of course, the ancient Maya calendar keepers) allegedly have observed the approach of the planet, placed an embargo on this knowledge, and are deliberately misleading the public. Proponents of this view imagine that all of the Earth’s hundreds of thousands of private and public telescopes are linked together in one giant, coordinated effort to mislead the public regarding the existence of this upcoming disaster, though it is not clear why they would do so if the world was going to end anyway. Of course, there is no Niburu on a collision course with Earth for winter solstice, 2012, or for any other date. There is absolutely no evidence of the existence of such a planet at all. The claims about Niburu are like those for the discredited "Planet X" hoax from 2003-04.

More information:
» "The Great 2012 Scare" by Dr. E.C. Krupp
» NASA: Ask An Astrobiologist

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tron: Legacy (2010)

"All the footage that was shot live action with Cameron Pace’s 3-D fusion system is basically two cameras offset about an inch that shoots two slightly different views. You have to track each eye separately and then composite your effects in each of those two views, which is a lot of effort. The full CG stuff is done with two virtual cameras offset the same amount." -Director Joseph Kosinski

WashingtonPost:
In Tron: Legacy, the loud, long and less than wholly satisfying sequel to Tron, that's the bittersweet fate of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), the computer-nerd hero of both the 1982 sci-fi cult classic and its high-tech, 3-D update. When we first meet the now-grizzled Flynn - who we learn in a prologue has been missing since 1989 - he's literally trapped inside a video game he created, a flesh-and-blood fugitive from a digital fascist state whose primary form of entertainment is gladiator-style combat using lethal flying disks and lightning-fast motorcycles.

In the two decades since Flynn disappeared from the real world, he has managed to not only stay alive but also to carve out a sweet life in hiding, far from the deadly gaming "grid" he designed. And in that time, it seems he has grown philosophical about his situation. More specifically, he has turned into a geek-chic version of the Dude, the laid-back slacker character Bridges played in "The Big Lebowski." Flynn spends much of Tron: Legacy meditating - he calls it "knocking on the sky and listening to the sound" - and addressing everyone as "man." The best way to fight, he says, is to "do nothing, be still." All that's missing is a white Russian in his hand.

Flynn's son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) looks into his father's disappearance and manages, with a few keystrokes, to get sucked into the same virtual world that his father is stuck in. Sam awakens in his father a yearning for the outside. Now it's up to the three of them to get there.

Much of Tron: Legacy involves heart-pounding if protracted sequences of video game action as Quorra and the Flynns make their way toward the exit. There's a lot of smashing, crashing and flashing lights as evil humanoid "programs" pursue our heroes and are summarily "de-rezzed," a word derived from de-resolution, which is what happens when bad computer programs go boom. At times, the soundtrack is so loud that you feel it more than hear it.

Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writers: Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde

More information:
» Official Site
» Tron (1982)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Arcade Fire - "The Suburbs" (2010)



Arcade Fire's third studio album, The Suburbs, was released in August 2010. The album debuted at #1 on the Irish Albums Chart, the UK Albums Chart, the U.S. Billboard 200, and the Canadian Albums Chart.

The album received nominations for "Album of the Year" and "Best Alternative Music Album" for the 53rd Grammy Awards, and the single "Ready to Start" was nominated for "Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal".

This music video, for the title track "The Suburbs", was released on November 18, 2010, directed by Spike Jonze. The video, filmed in Austin, Texas follows a group of teenagers living the suburbs and features a cameo of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne as cops.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

IBM Machine To Play Jeopardy All-Stars


CBS:
The TV game show "Jeopardy!" will pit man versus machine this winter in a competition that will show how successful scientists are in creating a computer that can mimic human intelligence.

Two of the venerable game show's most successful champions - Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter - will play two games against "Watson," a computer program developed by IBM's artificial intelligence team. The matches will be spread over three days that will air February 14-16, the game show said on Tuesday.

The competition is reminiscent of when IBM developed a chess-playing computer to compete against chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.

The "Jeopardy!" answer-and-question format is a different kind of challenge. It often requires contestants to deal with subtleties, puns and riddles and come up with answers fast.

The computer has already been tested in some 50 games against past "Jeopardy!" champions. But neither IBM nor "Jeopardy!" representatives would say what "Watson's" record was.

The winner gets a $1 million prize. IBM said it would donate its winnings to charity, while Jennings and Rutter said they would give half of their prize money away.

Jennings had the game show's longest winning streak, taking 74 games in a row during the 2004-2005 season. Rutter has won more money than any other "Jeopardy!" player, nearly $3.3 million during his original appearance and three subsequent tournaments.

More information:
» NYTimes: What is IBM's Watson?
» IBM: Meet the computer for a smarter planet

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hinduism and Living

Wikipedia:
Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions and has no single founder. Among its roots is the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India, and as such Hinduism is often called the "oldest living religion" or the "oldest living major tradition." Demographically, Hinduism is the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam, with more than a billion adherents, of whom approximately 1 billion, live in India. Other significant populations are found in Nepal (23 million), Bangladesh (14 million) and the Indonesian island of Bali (3.3 million).

In Hinduism, puruṣārtha refers to "that which is sought by man; human purpose, aim, or end." There are generally considered to be four such puruṣārthas:

Kāma: Desire, Love, Sensual Pleasure
"Sensory and sexual pleasure as well as spiritual love"

Artha: Wealth, Property, Power
"Material and financial prosperity as well as pursuit of meaning"

Dharma: Religion, Duty, Moral Harmony
"Religious, social and/or moral righteousness, both spiritual and ritual"

Mokṣa: Free From Delusion, Divine Knowledge
"Spiritual liberation; or renunciation as well as detachment"

In all schools of Hinduism, the meaning of life is tied up in the concepts of karma (causal action), sansara (the cycle of birth and rebirth), and moksha (liberation). Existence is conceived as the progression of the ātman (soul, one's true self) across numerous lifetimes, and its ultimate progression towards liberation from karma. Particular goals for life are generally subsumed under broader yogas (practices) or dharma (correct living) which are intended to create more favorable reincarnations, though they are generally positive acts in this life as well. Traditional schools of Hinduism often worship Devas which are manifestations of Ishvara (a personal or chosen God); these Devas are taken as ideal forms to be identified with, as a form of spiritual improvement.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Drive-By Truckers - "The Flying Wallendas" (2010)



Drive-By Truckers are an alternative country/Southern rock band based in Athens, Georgia, though three out of six members (Mike Cooley, Patterson Hood, and Shonna Tucker) are originally from The Shoals region of Northern Alabama. Their music uses three guitars as well as bass, drums, and now keyboards.

Pharrell, Julian Casablancas, Santigold - "My Drive Thru"



"My Drive Thru " is a collaborative single by Pharrell Williams, Julian Casablancas, and Santigold, created for Converse's centennial.

The music video was directed by Psyop's Marie Hyon and Marco Spier. The artists were filmed on a soundstage using three HD cameras and then animated using CGI. The production took about four months to complete as well as the use of nearly 10,000 paper cutouts of the artists. The video uses stop motion, and creates the illusion that Casablancas, White and Williams are all "unfolding" like paper dolls.

"There's not one single cut in the spot," says Hyon.

"It's two-and-a-half minutes of one-camera movement," adds Spier. "We wanted this aspect of connectivity in all [parts] of the video including the camera movement."

The two-and-a-half minute version was shortened into 30-second and 60-second cinema and television advertisements which debuted on July 14, 2008.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Janelle Monáe - "Tightrope" w/ Big Boi (2010)



"Tightrope" is the first official single from Janelle Monáe's debut studio album The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III). The video was released on March 31, 2010.

Janelle: "'Tightrope' is basically dealing with how in life it's important to keep your balance and not get too high or low about things during the time when you're either being praised or being criticised. Which is something that, as artists, Big Boi and I could both relate to, because there are so many peaks and dips along the journey of just being an artist on the road to success. So we both felt it was important to kinda help those everyday working people who are constantly dealing with life's obstacles, by giving them like a tutorial on how to deal with issues face-on."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Good Old War

"We wanted to make a record unlike any other. It was exciting to rely on and nurture our own production skills, which was a new experience for all of us. Because the core of our sound is about simple elements: guitar, vocal harmonies, and percussion, the production is simple and organic" Keith Goodwin notes. "We discovered we had the ability to be largely self-reliant in the making of a record. I love that we can record whatever we want, whenever we want."



GoodOldWar:
The second self-titled album by Pennsylvania indie-rock trio Good Old War is at its lush heart, an album of immense growth. A natural evolution from the band’s debut Only Way to Be Alone, Good Old War radiates with warmth and vulnerability, both qualities undoubtedly cultivated by the band’s hands-on self-production, and the environment of solitude in which the album was created.

Holed up in a remote house in the Pocono Mountains through the white winter month of February 2009, Keith Goodwin (vocalist/guitarist), Dan Schwartz (vocalist/guitarist), and Tim Arnold (vocalist/drummer) coalesced into a dynamic harmonious unit, using their time in complete isolation to explore new approaches to their music-making process. Unlike their debut, which was extensively pre-planned and rehearsed, Good Old War was created from scratch in the studio. Rather than recording live as they did on Only Way To Be Alone, the album was recorded track by track, allowing the musicians to discover intricacies in each other’s work.

Good Old War’s songwriting process has spontaneity, intuition and collectivity at its roots. The band first toured with Anthony Green in December 2007 (in lieu of Days Away which had recently dissolved). All of the songs that made their way onto the bands debut Only Way To Be Alone were written in a van on the way to those shows.



More:
Good Old War's official site
Daniel Schwartz's previous band Unlikely Cowboy

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

History of Virginia Wine


VirginiaWine:
Virginians have made wine for more than four centuries. The Jamestown settlers had such hopes that Virginia would become a major source of wine for the British Empire that in 1619 they signed into law a requirement for each male settler to plant and tend at least ten grape vines. Little came of it. Every effort to grow vinifera, or vines of European origin, met with failure from an unknown pest - Phylloxera as well as diseases in a new environment. The booming tobacco trade diluted British interest in the possibilities of American wine. Americans themselves lost interest. While fine wine could be had only from Europe, whiskey, beer and brandy were plentiful.

In hopes of one day realizing the promise of fine Virginia wines, Thomas Jefferson cultivated European grapes for more than 30 years. His Monticello vineyards never produced a single bottle of wine from his years of vineyard trials. He wasn’t alone in trying. After 11 years of efforts at Mount Vernon, George Washington had nothing to show for it either.

In the 1820s, wines made from Native American grapes met with great success. Then a Virginia Norton wine was named “best red wine of all nations” at the Vienna World’s Fair in 1873. Plus a gold medal for Norton at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889 when the Eiffel tower was constructed. The discovery in the late 1800s that native and European vines could be grafted gave Virginia’s nascent wine industry a lift – but in the early 20th century, Prohibition promptly brought it to a standstill. The industry was slow to bounce back. Some 17 years after Prohibition’s repeal, Virginia had all of 15 acres of commercial wine grapes.

In the late-1950s, experimental plantings of vinifera showed promise. With the establishment of six new wineries in the 1970s, the recovery was officially underway. A renewed effort to grow a European Chardonnay succeeded at the Waverly Estate in Middleburg in 1973. Then in 1976, Italian pioneer vintner Gianni Zonin hired Gabriele Rausse to grow and harvest vinifera grapes near Charlottesville. He established Barboursville Vineyards and then helped other vineyards do the same. By 1995, Virginia had 46 wineries. By 2005, 107. At 160 wineries and counting today, only California, New York, Oregon and Washington have more wineries than Virginia. The persistence of generations of winemakers is paying off. And the vision of one of Virginia’s most renowned native sons, Thomas Jefferson, is now coming true.


2007 and 2008 are best for Virginia reds,
2009 was a great vintage for Virginia whites.