Living: Young Bacchus Comes of Age

In California, the rich vineyards grow and glow

In a 19th century American engraving entitled The Old Wine God and the New, a graybeard Bacchus passes a vine-wreathed staff to a wide-eyed Western stripling. The artist's message: the age-old mysteries and delectations of the grape are flourishing in California soil. It must have evoked a guffaw or two from Victorian clubmen with noses deep in the real stuff from the Médoc or the Côte d'Or.

It has taken more than a century for Bacchus Jr. to assemble his credentials: today they are a cause for...

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