A California Wine Land in Posters
May 23, 2010 § 7 Comments
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”.
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
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
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.