Historian Erica Hannickel first got interested in wine while surviving a long winter in Iowa, studying for her doctorate. For distraction and fun, she would leaf through old horticultural magazines, where she noticed that horticulturalists talked about grapes differently than they talked about other fruits and vegetables.
“They spoke of empire building and national expansion,” the Northland College professor of environmental history said. Her interest was piqued. For eight years she researched and wrote a book that was published this month by University of Pennsylvania Press, “Empire of Vines: Wine Culture in America.”