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Jean Jaques Dufour

Jean Jaques Dufour, later John James Dufour, was a complicated character.  He was the lead member of the Dufour family who settled in the new world for the purpose of carrying on the business of viticulture.  These quotes are from the book “Indiana Wine, a History” by James L. Butler and John J. Butler.

“It is not surprising that John James settled on the Ohio River after his return from Europe.  However, he chose not to live in Vevay among his brothers and sisters; instead, he lived upriver at his original purchase near Markland.  Here he founded a farm, which he grandly called “Dufouria,” and set about planting an orchard and nursery from which neighbors could procure vine cuttings and tree slips.  He also set out a large peach orchard, but, unable to turn a profit on the peaches, he distilled them, making a peach brandy.  … Dufour also constructed a small house, which was a long, low, one-story brick dwelling with a frame addition.  It was described as a modest dwelling that was much smaller than the homes of his brothers and sisters in Vevay.  John James lived alone on his farm, apparently preferring the company of his grapes to that of people.

Establishing a farm on the frontier took a great deal of effort.  Because Dufour was a perfectionist and worked alone, he could not always accomplish the task he set for himself.  In The American Vine-Dresser’s Guide, he describes in great detail the proper methods of planting vines.  He explained that to do it correctly a trench should be dug, in the center of which topsoil should be placed; the vines should be planted in this topsoil. …

The trenching … must have been challenging for the aging Dufour, especially since he had only one healthy arm.  But he was willing to take whatever steps he felt necessary, no matter how difficult, to ensure the success of his vines.

The conditions that Dufour found at Vevay, Indiana in 1816 were heartening.  The colony was producing wine on a scale never before seen in the United States.  The fame of the colony had spread as travelers commented on the pleasant prospect of the vineyards and wrote to their friends about what they had witnessed.  There seemed to be no practical limit to the potential success of the colony.”

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