Prohibition

By American Wine Appassionata September 07, 2016

Prohibition

Formed in the 1920s, speakeasies were the illegal replacements of saloons. In fact, for every saloon that closed down as a result of the new laws, half a dozen underground establishments sprung up. Thanks to a system of grafting along with police corruption, speakeasies flourished. A single speakeasy could graft up to $400 a month to Federal Prohibition Agents, police officers, and their District Attorney. Cops were paid off to turn their backs if they saw something suspicious.

A single speakeasy could graft up to $400 a month to Federal Prohibition Agents, police officers, and their District Attorney. Cops were paid off to turn their backs if they saw something suspicious.

After prohibition, solutions to provide a quick supply of wine consisted of the planting of low-grade grapes with thick skins. With time, an appreciation for fine wine was lost and replaced for an affinity for sweet, cheap, fortified wine. This remained the norm until 1967 when fine table wine led the production once again in California.

What was most devastating about prohibition concerning the future production of wine in the United States was the loss of knowledge. While traditionally, knowledge and techniques were passed down from one generation of winemakers to the next, prohibition caused a hurdle in this custom. Since the wine industry wasn’t able to reinvent itself until the 1960s, the historical traditions were lost. Winemakers now had to teach themselves how to make wine. Even the infamous Robert Mondovi and Earnest and Julio Gallo had to read books to teach themselves the art of wine making!


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