A California Wine Land in Posters

May 23, 2010 § 7 Comments

Sherry, printed circa 1965

Can you imagine a time before people associated California with fine wine? As Californians when we travel around the US and abroad we meet people who speak wistfully to us of Napa and Santa Barbara, places  they may have visited, but also places they have come to love in ABC’s ‘Brothers and Sisters,’ in the smash hit film “Sideways” and through Michael Chiarello’s lifestyle store and catlaogue “Napa Style.”

But the golden state hasn’t always been known for it’s wine.  As a child I remember the ad campaign for California raisins but my folks chose to drink wines from France and Italy.  What changed California’s image from the land of the sweet grape and the jug wine to producer of top varietals? You may cite the famous blind taste test of 1976 in which California wines beat French wines and you would be partly correct, but another factor, ten years earlier was the creation of the  “California Wine Advisory  Board”.

Wines from California, printed c. 1965

This agency’s goal was to increase the profile and visibility of California Wines, so they launched a very successful marketing campaign which included a cook book “Epicurean Recipes of California Wine Makers” (Edited by David R. Wilcox) in 1969.  The Book includes recipes such as ‘Tuna Rarebit’- evaporated milk, canned tomato soup, california sherry, canned tuna and crisp bacon ; as well as such wine soaked favorites as ‘Smothered Dove’. The cookbook was a huge success, and was reprinted more than 18 times.

The Wine Advisory Board created small pamphlets about wine and food pairing, and then, in an inspired move, they hired Mexican born artist Amado Gonzalez (1913-2007) to create a series of

Grape Growing Regions of California, printed c. 1965

posters which were distributed all over the country called “California Wine Land” each poster featured a different wine or vineyard scene.  Gonzales, who taught at San Francosco’s City college for 28 years, already enjoyed some fame as an illustrator and a painter.

Having achieved their imperative, the board closed it’s doors in 1971, leaving behind the legacy of a cookbook, which seems dated today, and the posters, whose designs seem surprisingly fresh 45 years later.

The “Wine Land of America” Series of original advertising posters are available from Vintage European Posters, an Oakland, California based Antiques Dealer http://www.vepca.com

You can see Vintage European Posters ENTIRE collection of advertising posters from Europe and the United States at this weekend’s Healdsburg

California Champagne, printed circa 1965

 Antiques on the Plaza Show, Sunday, May 30th from 9 am til 4 pm.  To reach Healdsburg Town Square, exit Central Healdsburg from Highway 101.



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§ 7 Responses to A California Wine Land in Posters

  • emilykaty says:

    Wine & Art…my two favorite things in this entire world! Nice post!

  • Pat Perkins says:

    The poster regarding the grape growing regions printed 1965 does that not have a zip code at the bottom 94103 ? I am not sure we had zip codes then did we ?

  • Judy Meingast says:

    Hi Elizabeth: Do you have a vintage cookbook of the California Wine Advisory Board Cookbook? If you do, how much is that, in good condition? It will accompany my Wine Land of California poster!
    Thank you.
    Judy Meingast

    • Dear Judy, I wish I had this book to offer! I think maybe you can find it on Abe Books or Powells. I think it was so popular it was printed 18 times. Your poster is packed up and is on it’s way to you tomorrow via FEDEX. I hope you enjoy it for many years to come. With Every Good Wish, Elizabeth

  • I bought a vintage poster from this company in 2012–California, Wine Land of America. It arrived within three days, packed professionally, and was delivered in wonderful shape. The poster is now a centerpiece of my kitchen, taking up almost an entire wall. I would certainly purchase more vintage art from this company if |I had more wall space. The poster was shipped to Canada, and was pre-cleared as well as hassle-free.

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