|After years of struggling to prove itself to the rest of the world, it seems the California wine industry has finally arrived. There's no disputing the quality of California wines, and never before have they enjoyed a finer reputation. But at what price?
Somewhere in the uphill struggle to world-class status, the California wine industry lost a very important tradition. The French still have it. Bovine festivals still have it. Even garlic, cherry and apple growers still have it. But when autumn rolls around in California wine country, the folks are left empty-handed. Without representation. Without hope. Without...a queen!
Things weren't always this dark. In the 1950s and '60s, wine queens reigned over the California vineyards like welcome spring showers. Each October, at the California State fair in Sacramento, vintners chose a local lovely to represent them as their queen during National Wine Week. Some queens were blonde, some brunette. Some even studied dramatic arts. All, of course, were beautiful.
For seven glorious days, the newly crowned Vintage Queen would take her position as wine's goodwill ambassador, making appearances at vintage festivals, attending dinners and proclaiming the excellence of California wines. But perhaps the most important duty of the Vintage Queen was posing for stunning publicity photos, personifying the glamour, grace and charm of California wines. Even some 40 years later, the message comes through loud and clear.
It's time for these photographs to charm the world all over again! Let's raise a toast to these lovely ambassadors of the grape and honor their contribution to the success of the California wine industry as it stands today. In fact, why stop there? Let's be the first to shove all the nineties politically correct crap aside and elect new wine queens to lead us proudly into the 21st century!
Long Live The Queens!