Hermann Jaeger

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Hermann Jaeger (born March 23, 1844), who was a native of Switzerland, was a celebrated enologist and recipient of the French Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor for his part in saving the French wine industry from the deadly phylloxera louse.

Jaeger came from a well-known and highly-educated family, and was the grandson of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, founder of the Swiss public school system. As a young man Jaeger took a job in a wine warehouse on Lake Geneva in Switzerland and then emigrated to the United States. In 1865, he settled east of Neosho, Missouri in the Monark Springs, Missouri area of Newton County. The following year he and his brother, John, planted a vineyard and became grape growers and wine makers.

Intelligent and proficient in several languages, Hermann Jaeger worked to breed new varieties of grapes, many of which came from wild Ozarks grapes - grapes commonly called "possum grapes". He also communicated with other grape experts around the world, sharing information about his work and learning from the works of others. He also wrote articles for scientific and grape journals, explaining the mysteries of grapes and his work on his farm.

In the 1870s, when the vineyards of France, Spain, and Portugal were struck by the deadly phylloxera louse, a call went out around the world to find grapes that were resistant to the disease. Encouraged by Missouri’s state entomologist, Charles Riley and after some testing, it was determined that grapes bred by...
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