Business: Vin Ordinaire

No winemaker speaks of Prohibition without turning as purple as one of his own grapes. Before Jan. 1, 1920, California was making 40,000,000 gallons of wine a year and California wines were being drunk in London. Wine had been made in California missions since 1769 but it began to be taken seriously only when Hungarian Count Agostin Haraszthy imported cuttings of about 500 kinds of European grapes in the 1860s.

In the 1920s grape-growers ripped out the first-class European vines—the Pinot and Senillon and Riesling, which bore less than two tons of grapes to an acre—and replaced them with indifferent vines which...

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