The War on Wine
Prohibition, Neoprohibition, and American Culture
The development of an American wine ethos.
The history of wine is a tale of capitalist production and consumer experience, and early Americans embraced the idea of having their own wine culture. But many began to believe that excessive alcohol consumption had become a moral, ethical, economic, political, social, and health conundrum. The result was a national on-again, off-again relationship with the concept of an American wine culture.
Citizens struggled to build a wine culture patterned after their diasporic European custom of wine as a moderating beverage that was part of a healthy diet. Yet, as America grew, untold attempts to create a wine culture failed due to climate, pests, diseases, wars, and depressions, resulting in some people considering the nation an alcoholic republic. Thus began an anti-alcohol culture war aimed at restricting or prohibiting alcoholic beverages.
With the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition), a culture war started between wet and dry proponents. After the repeal of Prohibition, the decimated wine industry responded by forming the Wine Institute to rebrand wine’s role in American society, after which neoprohibitionists attempted to restrict alcohol availability and consumption. To confront these aggressive actions, the Wine Institute hired politically trained John A. De Luca to navigate the new attacks and pushed for rebranding wine as a cultural spirit with health benefits.
Chapter One: The Early Republic's Failure To Establish A Wine Culture
Chapter Two: The Rise of the First American Wine Culture
Chapter Three: Loss and Rebirth of An American Wine Culture
Chapter Four: Rebuilding the Wine Industry
Chapter Five: A Perfect Man for the Job: A Faltering Wine Institute Seeks New Leadership
Chapter Six: Stabilizing the Wine Institute and Reestablishing A Tarnished American Wine Industry
Chapter Seven: Neoprohibition: The Continuing Battle for an American Wine Culture
Chapter Eight: Alla Vostra Salute — To Your Health
Chapter Nine: Bio-nutrition, Pyramids, and Labels
Chapter Ten: Direct Shipping
Chapter Eleven: Politics of Wine: Bipartisanship, Soundbites, and the Wine Caucus
Chapter Twelve: Establishing the Path for the Wine Institute’s Future
Epilogue: Who Will Carry the Banner Next?
About the Author
“No one knows the history of California’s wine culture better than Victor Geraci. He has mastered the literature, enhanced it with oral histories, and crafted an informative, readable history that sheds new light on the work of the Wine Institute to transform the industry into an important part of American agriculture, business, and culture.”
—R. Douglas Hurt, professor of history, Purdue University, author of A Companion to American Agricultural History
“I loved the material presented in The War on Wine. The book’s very popular writing style will please a general audience, including wine enthusiasts and wine history buffs; local, public, and campus libraries; and undergraduate students enrolled in courses on the history of wine and food in the United States.”
—Simone Cinotto, associate professor of contemporary history, University of Gastronomic Sciences, author of The Italian American Table: Food, Family, and Community in New York City