The Eastern United States: from the Civil War To Prohibition
Winemaking in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains—or rather east of the Sierra—gradually consolidated and extended the work that had been begun before the Civil War. There were no striking new departures, and the scale of grape growing and of wine production never was large enough to be very visible to Americans, the great majority of whom lived in the eastern states. The ordinary American was still anything but a wine drinker, so such growth as the market made probably had as much to do with a growing national population, and, especially, a large immigration, as with a change of taste. The statistics of per capita consumption show an erratic, but on the whole discouraging, pattern. Another obstacle to rapid growth was an old one—the endemic diseases of mildew and, above all, black rot. Despite a growing understanding of these diseases, they put every grower's crop at risk season after season. The major new factor for eastern wine-making was the competition from California, a significant force by the 1870s; thereafter California grew at a rate unmatched by all the other winemaking territories of the country put together. Still, California was a very remote place throughout the nineteenth century, despite the railroad; the United States was still a largely rural country, and many of the services and supplies now provided by large-capital, nationally organized enterprises were then a matter for local activity. In
these circumstances, winegrowing was a very good bet over a large part of the country, and it developed accordingly.
Eastern Wine and Eastern Grape Juice
New York, after its somewhat slow start, began to overhaul and soon passed all the other states outside California. In 1870, for example, New York stood sixth in wine production among the states, behind not only California and Ohio but Illinois and Pennsylvania too. By 1880 New York had closed to third, after California and Ohio; by 1890 New York stood second, and that was where it stayed until Prohibition put an end to the race.
The regions of the state that stood out as winegrowing centers before the war remained in that position afterwards: the Hudson shores, the Finger Lakes, and the Lake Erie grape belt. Of the Hudson region there is little to add once it had been established: it maintained a fairly steady acreage of grapes but did not expand. Its nearness to the produce market of New York City made the Hudson region particularly attractive for growing table grapes, and its river climate made it attractive to fruit growing generally. Thus, instead of specializing in wine, the Hudson growers made grape growing a part of a general fruit-growing economy. The most encouraging development in the state was the spread of winegrowing in the Finger Lakes. Keuka Lake had been the original focus; there, by the end of the Civil War,
there were some 3,000 acres of vines divided among two hundred proprietors and served by three wineries. By 1890, the year in which New York took over the second spot in the country, the Finger Lakes region had nearly 24,000 acres of vines, mostly still centered on Keuka Lake but with other large acreages around Seneca Lake to the east and Canandaigua Lake to the north and west. The vast bulk of the yield from New York's vineyards did not go the wineries but to the cities, in boxes and baskets, as grapes for the table. The Keuka region, however, specialized in winemaking, as did the developing Naples Valley at the south end of Canandaigua Lake. After its beginning in 1861 with the Maxfield Winery, the wine trade in the Naples Valley picked up speed in the 1870s and expanded very rapidly in the 1880s. The leaders were largely Germans, as the pioneer Hiram Maxfield was: he was followed by such names as Miller, Dinzler, Kaltenbach, and Widmer (though the latter was, to be exact, Swiss).
Finger Lakes wine was mostly white and came from the same varieties that had been established at the beginning, mainly Catawba and Delaware, with significant plantings of Elvira, Isabella, Moore's Early, and other varieties. Sparkling wine continued to be a staple product, so that Finger Lakes "champagne" was almost synonymous with American sparkling wine down to Prohibition. At the turn of the century, for example, New York produced more than twice as much sparkling wine as all other domestic sources—California, Ohio, and Missouri—combined. Some of that New York sparkling wine, however, was based on neutral California white wine imported in bulk to modify the flavors and the acidity of the wine from native varieties—a practice long established and still followed. The pioneer firms of the
Finger Lakes continued to be the major producers: Pleasant Valley ("Great Western," 1860) and the Urbana Wine Company ("Gold Seal," 1865). On Seneca Lake the first considerable commercial establishment was the Seneca Lake Wine Company, which put up its stone-built winery in 1870. The Germania Wine Cellars were founded in that year in Hammondsport, and the next quarter of a century saw such further additions to the Finger Lakes list as the Hammondsport Wine Company, the Columbia Wine Cellars, the Lake Keuka Wine Company, the Empire State Wine Company, and the White Top Winery. Something of an anomaly, but an important presence nonetheless, was the Paul Garrett Winery at Penn Yan, where, after 1912, the Garrett enterprises had their headquarters. Garrett's story properly belongs to that of North Carolina and will be told later in this chapter. Driven by a steadily encroaching zone of prohibitionist drought, Garrett left North Carolina for Virginia, then Virginia for New York, where he weathered Prohibition and reemerged as the genius behind the formation of Fruit Industries Incorporated, a combine of California and eastern interests that was the largest winemaking enterprise in the country. For a time, then, in virtue of Garrett's Penn Yan headquarters, the Finger Lakes region was the capital of the American wine trade. But that was an accident of the dislocations produced by Prohibition.
To the west, along the shores of Lake Erie in the New York and Pennsylvania grape belt, the production of wine from traditional varieties such as the Catawba continued, but only in a small way. As the century went on, the region was devoted more and more to the supply of grapes for the table; thus, by the end of the century, it was overwhelmingly dominated by the Concord grape. The first carload of grapes for the table market was shipped from the region in 1877, from Brocton to Philadelphia; within a generation hundreds of carloads left the grape belt each fall for eastern and middle western cities. The success of this trade created a "grape fever" in the 1880s: "Lawyers, teachers, doctors, and even ministers of the gospel turned vineyardists," a local historian recalled at the turn of the century. The concentration on table grapes rather than wine grapes was reinforced by the very strong local sentiment in favor of prohibition; Chautauqua County, the heart of the grape region, was also the home of the Chautauqua Institution, where the Woman's Christian Temperance Union was conceived, and where the uplifting programs of "culture" purveyed at the institution were sustained on cold water and high thought alone. The shores of Lake Erie, ideally suited to viticulture, continued to be devoted to the grape, but increasingly less to wine. Not that winemaking was extinguished. The Brocton Wine Cellars, going back to the earliest days of wine production in the grape belt, continued to operate, and by 1900 had grown to a capacity of 250,000 gallons. Other wineries in the grape belt—the Lake Erie Cellars at Westfield, the Chautauqua Wine Company at Ripley, and the Portland Wine Cellars at Portland, to name a few—raised the region's total production to one and a half million gallons annually by the turn of the century. A group of Italian winemakers concentrated in Fredonia also contributed to this total.
Generally speaking, the development of table varieties received more attention
in New York than did the work on wine varieties. The excited interest in breeding new native grapes generated by the grape boom of the 1860s had greatly subsided but not entirely disappeared, and a steady stream of new introductions appeared in the latter half of the century. One of the most effectively ballyhooed of these was the Niagara, a green grape, which for a time was the light-colored counterpart in eastern vineyards of the dark-colored Concord. Niagara may be, and is still, used for wine, but its chief market was for the table, as were such other new introductions, now largely fallen out of use, as Champion, Croton, Empire State, Jefferson, and many others in a long list of local and patriotic names.
One extremely promising experiment in New York never got a chance to develop: this was the work with vinifera vines carried out by the state's agricultural experiment station at Geneva, in the Finger Lakes. A grape-breeding program was started at the station in 1890, based on the station's own varietal collection: this was largely made up of native varieties but included experimental plantings of vinifera. By 1911 the station undertook a deliberate program of growing vinifera, with the idea of developing hybrids; some 101 varieties were planted, and four years later the results were encouraging enough to allow U.P. Hedrick, the director, to report that it was certainly possible to make the vines grow under New York conditions. Two years later, in 1917, one of Hedrick's fellow workers wrote in a station bulletin that they now had satisfactory means for protecting vinifera from all four of the major pests in New York: mildew, black rot, phylloxera, and winter injury. On that confident note the work so well begun flickered out in the darkness of Prohibition. The episode is well worth reporting, now that extensive experiment with vinifera is again being made in New York and elsewhere in the East. In the publicity surrounding the current trials, the earlier contribution of Hedrick and his associates ought not to be forgotten.
In Ohio, the shift from the south, where Ohio winegrowing was first established, to the north of the state along the Lake Erie shore was quite complete within just a few years after the Civil War. Ohio enjoyed an unspectacular, but fairly steady, growth in winemaking throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century, but the Cincinnati vignoble was gone. Of the two regions where wine-growing was focused along the Erie shore, the one centered on Cleveland was first, by a little, to be developed. A Lake Shore Grape and Wine Growers' Association held a convention at Cleveland in 1866, and next year the members displayed their wines at the Paris Exhibition. Like their neighbors to the east in Chautauqua County, New York, the growers in the Cleveland area felt prohibitionist pressure from a very early date. In 1869, when there were already three hundred members of the association, its fourth meeting, held at Temperance (!) Hall in Cleveland voted to change the name of the group to the Ohio Grape Growers Association, dropping any reference to wine; the meeting also voted to exclude wine from future exhibitions. There were loud protests at these moves, but not enough to prevent them. The dissidents seceded and formed their own group under the old name in 1869, while the temperance branch soon disappeared into the Ohio State Hor-
ticultural Society. Thus winemaking continued around Cleveland. Most of the vineyards were planted to Catawba in the early days, but as happened throughout the eastern part of the Lake Erie grape belt, the Concord and other table varieties came more and more to dominate. Winemaking in northeastern Ohio never attained any very considerable proportions, but it managed to persist for a long time: among the wineries of greater Cleveland were the Dover Bay Grape and Wine Company, the Lake View Wine Farm, and the Louis Harris Winery.
The other focus of Ohio winegrowing was at Sandusky and the islands that lie scattered north of Sandusky Bay, in western Lake Erie. Vineyards here began to be planted in a substantial way about the end of the 1840s, and developed rapidly in the 1850s, largely through the work of German immigrants, and, as has been noted earlier, by growers who migrated from the doomed Cincinnati vineyards to the promising region of Lake Erie. One of them, the Alsatian Michael Werk and his sons, had 400 acres of vines near Vermillion by the 1870s. Another northern Ohio producer, H. T. Dewey, of Sandusky, was one of the first to open a New York agency for eastern wines. When Dewey sent a shipment of his wines to New York in 1865, he found that no merchant was interested in them, or in eastern American wines generally. He thereupon opened his own store and continued to sell his American wines there even after he shifted his winemaking from Ohio to New Jersey. Before the century was out, the Sandusky region was the undisputed center of Ohio wine production, from such wineries as those of the Diamond Wine Company, Duroy & Haines, the Sweet Valley Wine Company, and M. Hommell, among other names now vanished. Sandusky was also the scene of important cooperage works, specializing in supplying the wineries; and at Sandusky the firm of Klotz & Kremer made the machines—crushers, presses, pumps—that equipped wineries throughout the eastern states. The most attractive sites in the Sandusky region were the Lake Erie islands, which were almost entirely given over to vineyards and thus presented a concentration of vines and wines unmatched anywhere else in the country. Some of the island methods were Old World traditions, like the practice of growing willows and rye to provide shoots and straw with which to tie up the vines, a tradition that persisted on South Bass Island long after cheap string was readily available.
From about 1880 onwards, the vineyards of Ohio at the western end of Lake Erie furnished the main part of the state's statistics; here, too, the Catawba reigned as the premier grape for winemaking. In 1880 Ohio had twenty-one winemaking establishments; in 1890 when the state produced almost two million gallons of wine, there were fifty-eight; in that year the vineyards throughout the state reached their greatest-ever size, before or since, of 33,000 acres. From that high point a slow, but fairly steady, decline set in: there were fifty-two wineries in 1900, but just before Prohibition the number had dwindled to thirty-nine.
This diminution was owing to some other causes apart from the threat of prohibition. The growth of the city of Cleveland, for one thing, forced some vineyards in that part of the state out of production; increased competition from the vine-
yards of states on either side of Ohio—Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan—accounted for other losses; so, too, did the diseases that Lake Erie growers for a long time had fondly hoped would not trouble them. For a number of years, it is true, they escaped the rot and mildew that destroyed the vineyards along the Ohio River, but that time of immunity was only a postponement, not a permanent state of affairs. A heavy infestation of black rot showed up on the Lake Erie islands as early as 1862, and though the disease was never as destructive as it was in the southern part of the state, it was a serious problem thereafter. The statistics of production show some violent swings from year to year, according to whether the rot or mildew did or did not appear in force in any given season. One estimate put the number of vines lost to disease throughout Ohio in the decade 1870-80 at 10,000 acres, a net decrease of 3,000.
The extent to which the German influence permeated winemaking along Lake Erie in Ohio is at once apparent from a mere recital of winery names: Steuk (1855), Engels & Krudwig (1863), Miller (1865), Carl Lenk (1867), Peter Lonz (1884),
Gustav Heineman (1886). The giant among these firms was the Golden Eagle Winery, founded in 1861 on Middle Bass Island by Michael Werk and Andrew Wehrle; with a capacity of 500,000 gallons it was, for a time at least, regarded as the biggest winery in the United States.
Kelley's Island, the largest of the Lake Erie islands on the American side, and the first of them to be planted to vines, was the site of a considerable winemaking activity. The largest establishment was the Kelley's Island Wine Company, housed in a ponderous stone building looking like a feudal castle, and capable of storing 350,000 gallons of wine. Its operations were interestingly described by the French botanist J.-E. Planchon, on a visit of inspection in the vintage season of 1873. Grapes were brought in by wagons from all over the island, weighed, paid for on the spot, and sent by a steam-driven conveyor to the top floor of the winery, where they were crushed, destemmed, and the juice separated from the skins. The juice then went to the fermentation vats on the second floor, while the skins descended
to the ground floor, where six great steam-powered presses, each one capable of handling three tons of material in six hours, awaited them. Below ground were two levels of vaulted cellars for the storage of wine in both casks and bottles, including champagne storage. The wines were made and bottled as varietals, including Concord, Ives Seedling, Delaware, Isabella, and Iona. There were nine other substantial wineries on Kelley's Island at the time, ranging from 50,000 to 350,000 gallons of storage capacity. Planchon was particularly struck by the cellar of the German Thomas Rush, with its rows of well-made and scrupulously maintained casks and vats; they reminded him, Planchon wrote somewhat extravagantly, of "the work of that race of powerful drinkers, who, in times past, symbolized the cult of Bacchus along the banks of the Rhine in the great Heidelberg tun."
Planchon's observations, in Ohio and elsewhere, on the practices of American winemaking, are worth summarizing. In the first place, he tells us, the practice of chaptalizing—that is, of adding sugar to a must deficient in natural sugar—was standard in seasons when the grapes did not ripen sufficiently. This, he thought, was a perfectly innocent proceeding, especially if the sugar came from cane rather than potatoes: the latter sort gave the wine a strange flavor. More dubious was the
equally widespread practice of making wine twice out of the same grapes: first the free-run juice was converted into white wine, and then the marc , the residue of skins and seeds, was fermented into a red wine by the addition of water and sugar. In this manner, Planchon noted, the Concord would give first a "white wine with a not very pronounced flavor, then an inferior red wine, agreeable enough and stable enough to keep." The practice of turning the residue of skins from the press into a thin, sharp wine called piquette was traditional in France, but the American product, according to Planchon, was better than that; the grapes had "superabundant quantities of acids, tannin and aroma" in their skins, and needed only sugar added to make a genuine wine.
Planchon assured his French readers that despite the American winemakers' regular use of artificial methods, the average quality of American wine was higher than that of France—"superior not only to the frightful brews with which, under the name of wine, the public poisons itself in our cabarets, but superior to our petits vins de consommation courante. " He reassuringly pointed out at the same time that the production costs of wine in eastern America were too high to raise a serious threat to the French, even though he was writing in the very depths of the phylloxera devastation in France. Far more likely, he thought, was the possibility that wines made from American vines grown in France would be exported to the United States. It would be interesting to know whether such a thing ever did in fact happen, following the extensive planting of American vines as direct producers in France in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Very possibly it did, though I have no evidence on the subject.
Michigan, like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, a state where fruit growing was traditional thanks to the climatic influences of the Great Lakes, was a natural region for the extension of the viticulture already established along the Lake Erie shore. A vineyard was planted along the lake at Point de Peau, near Monroe, in 1863 by Joseph Sterling, and a few years later this region was proclaiming itself a new Rhineland. As a matter of fact, the river in the region had been named the Raisin River by French voyageurs on account of the wild grapes growing there, and the literal name "raisin" was doubtless closer to actuality than the poetic "Rhine," even though here, as so frequently elsewhere, the growers were largely German. By 1890 there were a half dozen wineries in and around Monroe, producing wine from the standard eastern native varieties. The really considerable development in Michigan was in the "fruit belt" in the southwestern corner of the state, where the waters of Lake Michigan tempered the climate to suit the production of apples, cherries, and grapes. A sizeable beginning was made there shortly after the Civil War. By 1880 there were already more than 2,000 acres of vineyard. Some of the traditional eastern wine varieties—Catawba, Delaware, and Dutchess—were grown and some wine produced, but Michigan was dominated by the Concord. In 1900, there were only five small wineries in the state, with a production of only 33,000 gallons, scattered in the region of Monroe (on the Lake Erie side) and Muskegon (on the Lake Michigan side). The growth of Michigan as a wine-producing state did not really begin until after Prohibition.
Pennsylvania, to finish this brief review of winegrowing in the Great Lakes states, has its short stretch of Lake Erie shore in the far northwest of the state, in Erie County, linking the grape belts of New York and Ohio. Indeed, from Cleveland on the west to Buffalo on the east and north, the region is essentially one from the point of view of the grape, and the Pennsylvania section has shared the same development as the rest. Commercial winemaking began in Erie County as early as 1863, but after flourishing briefly was displaced by the spread of the Concord and the dominance of the table grape and juice markets. From a high of 97,000 gallons of wine in 1870, Pennsylvania—which largely meant Erie County—slipped to only 51,000 gallons in 1900. Commercial winemaking on a modest scale also persisted in the German-settled parts of the state, where some success had been gained with the Alexander grape in the 1820s in York County. In the latter part of the century there were small wineries in and around Reading, all operated by Pennsylvania Dutchmen.
In New Jersey the beginning made in the eighteenth century by Edward Antill and William Alexander had not been followed up in any effective way, though there are many sites in the state well suited to viticulture that might have encouraged continued experiment. The abundance and quality of New Jersey apples had suggested another sort of possibility to the farmers and orchardists. Jersey cider had been famous since early colonial times, and it was an easy step to make it sparkle and to offer the result to the public as "champagne." Newark was the center of this trade, well established by the 1840s. The Scottish traveller Alexander Mackay was told then that most "imported champagne" in America came in fact
from Newark. Even under its assumed name, Mackay found it "excellent as a summer drink. Many is the American connoisseur of champagne who has his taste cultivated on Newark cider." The fountain of cider that flowed through New Jersey also supplied the stills that made applejack, or Jersey Lightning. Essex County, where Newark is, alone produced 300,000 gallons of applejack in 1810, and though a growing temperance movement much reduced production thereafter, there were still 388 distilleries in New Jersey in 1834, some of them no doubt kept in operation by the state's bountiful apple crop.
Proper winegrowing began at the time of the grape boom of the 1850s and 1860s, in the region of Egg Harbor City in the sands of south Jersey. Here an agricultural society was organized in 1859 and carried out tests of some forty different grape varieties to determine which were best suited to the local conditions. The dozen varieties selected included the staple Concord and Catawba, but also the briefly popular but now forgotten Martha, and, most interestingly, several native varieties for the production of red wine: Norton, Ives, Eumelan, and Clevener. At Egg Harbor City, as in so many other places, the first impetus was from the Germans; the Gardener's Monthly reported in 1865 that the town, which had hardly existed eight years earlier, was now full of Germans making wine, "as good as any in the world" according to the boast of one of them. Julius Hincke, Jacob Schuster & Son, August Heil, Charles Saalman, and J. Furrer were among these early producers: they were soon joined by H. T. Dewey & Sons, whose vineyards were originally on the Lake Erie shore of Ohio, and by L. N. Renault, who bought land in Egg Harbor City in 1864. In the early days Hincke was the enterprising grower of the region. He exhibited his wines to good effect at the great Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876 and at the Paris Exposition of 1878, winning medals at both for wines that he called "Iohlink" and "Franklin"—the latter is the name of a native variety, but what was "Iohlink"? The firm of Dewey was long known for its red wine from the Norton grape, and Renault for its New Jersey champagne—this one from grapes rather than apples. Production was considerable, but never large enough to make much of a difference to the market: by 1879 there were nearly 800 acres of vineyard around Egg Harbor City; in 1900, a year of peak production, New Jersey made about 220,000 gallons of wine from eleven wineries. Native red wines, never very common in the east, gave New Jersey its special place in American winegrowing.
Only a few miles away from Egg Harbor City, at Vineland, New Jersey, something was going on that would make a profound difference to the character of grape growing in the east. This was the invention of grape juice. Vineland was a real estate speculation promoted, successfully, by a Philadelphia lawyer named Charles Landis, beginning in 1861, on 32,000 acres of cutover and swampy land in southern New Jersey. "Intending to make it a vine country," Landis said of one of the towns he laid out on his acres, "I called it Vineland." He did not, however, explain why it should also have a charter forbidding the sale of alcoholic beverages, but so it did. The combination of viticulture and prohibition, which strikes
us as so strange, is pretty clear evidence of the strength of prohibitionist sentiment and of the establishment of a table grape market as an alternative to winemaking so early as 1861: we have already noticed a comparable development in Chautauqua County, New York, just after the Civil War. Landis's temperance principles did not, however, prevent a large Italian community settled at Vineland in the 1870s from making wine in commercial quantities; a German named Peter Lenk also operated a winery in Vineland until black rot destroyed the supply of grapes at the end of the eighties.
To Vineland there came in 1868 a dentist named Thomas Welch, a restless type of which the American nineteenth century seems to have had so many. English-born, but reared in upstate New York, he had been a Wesleyan preacher, then a
doctor, and then a dentist, practicing in New York State and in Minnesota before fetching up in Vineland. He liked to experiment and to diversify: he had invented a stomach-soothing syrup, had made a trade in compounding and selling dental alloys, and had devised a "Sistem of Simplified Spelling."
In Vineland, where he was communion steward to the Vineland Methodist Church, he began to take thought about the problem of wine in the sacrament. To Dr. Welch, and to many other ardent prohibitionists, the centrality of wine in the service of the Christian church was a rock of offense and a stone of stumbling. To the riddle of how Our Lord could possibly have recommended the Demon Rum—anything alcoholic was so identified in the circles to which Dr. Welch be-longed—as the symbol of His own sacrificial presence there seemed to be only one
answer: the wine of these latter days was a sad corruption of the wine Our Savior knew, which must have been an innocuous temperance beverage suitable to divine purity. By what distortions and evasions of historical and philological evidence such people were able to sustain their conviction we need not trouble to discuss here. The case is a clear instance, if one is needed, of the power of the wish over the fact.
But Dr. Welch, in Vineland, in 1869, had an unprecedented opportunity to realize that wish—in fact, to make a non-alcoholic "wine." For two things had come together for him: first, he had the vineyards of Vineland all around him, and second and most important, he had learned of the experiments of Pasteur in the control of fermentation. The process we call pasteurization had been made known only a few years before, but its obvious importance had spread it abroad quickly—it was discussed in the Transactions of the California State Agricultural Society in 1867, for example. Now, thinking about how he, an incorruptible prohibitionist, could supply wine for the communion services of his church, Dr. Welch was inspired to try the effect of heating an unfermented grape juice. I know of no positive evidence on the question, but the juice he used was presumably that of the Concord grape. By the simple expedient of bringing a liquid to a temperature of 140° Fahrenheit, as Pasteur had shown, one could kill whatever yeasts it contained and so preserve it against fermentation. Thus was the first preserved grape juice of which we have record created. It was certainly a new thing under the sun. The three great staples of classical Western civilization—bread, cheese, and wine—are all the products of a natural process of fermentation that both transforms and preserves the substances upon which it works. Now, in the name of the "natural," but in fact through the application of modern technological understanding, an American dentist had shown how to hold the blood of the grape in artificial arrest. It was the final insult to injured nature to call it, as its inventor did, "Dr. Welch's Unfermented Wine," and to sell it in burgundy-style bottles—a parody in name, appearance, and substance.
Welch made some efforts to sell his product, but gave up after a few years, having met with little encouragement. In 1875, however, his son, Charles E. Welch, also in practice as a dentist, determined to resume the manufacture and sale of his father's invention. He evidently saw its commercial possibilities, but for many years after the younger Welch took it over, the business remained shaky. At last, in 1893, Charles Welch quit his dental practice and devoted himself wholly to the business of "grape juice," as he had now decided to call it (in England, though, it was sold as "Unfermented Port wine"). Shortly thereafter, the vineyards in New Jersey were smitten by black rot and the supply of grapes became a critical problem. Charles Welch at once moved his operations to upstate New York, first to Watkins Glen on Seneca Lake, and then, after only a year, to Westfield, in the grape belt of Chautauqua County. That was in 1897. In that year, Welch's Grape Juice Company pressed about 300 tons of Chautauqua County Concords and sold 50,000 gallons of the pasteurized juice; a decade later, sales had reached a million gallons annually.
The success of grape juice in the American market clearly owed much to preexisting prohibitionist sentiment, as its invention had; but Charles Welch understood the importance of advertising, and he effectively combined moral uplift with commercial astuteness. He founded two magazines to promote his product, one called The Acorn in 1875, and five years later another called The Progress : in these Welch could put his advertisements of grape juice together with editorial matter promoting the temperance cause and the virtues of Welch's grape juice, the whole flavored with fundamentalist Christianity and the offer of premiums. "If your druggist hasn't the kind that was used in Galilee containing not one particle of alcohol, write us for prices," as one ad put it. And, since temperance and religion might not be attraction enough, grape juice was described as good for everything that might ail one: "Dr. Welch's Grape Juice is especially recommended in Typhoid Fever, Pneumonia, Pluritis [sic ], Peritonitis, Rheumatis, for Lying-in Patients and for all forms of chronic diseases except Diabetes Melitus." Since Charles Welch certainly did especially recommend his grape juice to all and sundry, there was that much truth in this claim, and, perhaps, not too much harm. One may note that for many years grape juice was a drugstore, rather than food store, item, which no doubt affected the character of its advertising.
Welch did not confine his promotional efforts to print. He took advantage of the Columbian Exposition of 1893 to set up a stand and distribute samples of grape juice to the crowds gathered in Chicago, as he did later at the St. Louis World's Fair and at other expositions. He also set up a permanent stand on the boardwalk at Atlantic City to catch the holidaymakers in their thousands. In his program of national advertising, he made grape juice all things to all people: for the medical trade it was presented as a tonic; for the religious, as a scriptural necessity; for the secular, as a pleasant drink. Later, in the vacuum created by Prohibition, the company was even bold enough to proclaim Welch's grape juice "the national drink."
The demands of the Welch Company for Concord grapes ensured that the Lake Erie grape belt would remain entirely dominated by that variety, and not only the Lake Erie grape belt. It was not long before new regions were devoted to the growing of Concords and the supply of Welch's grape juice. Welch had bought out a large competitor at North East, Pennsylvania, only a few miles away from West-field, in 1911. As expansion continued, the company built a new plant at St. Catharine's, Ontario, in 1914, amidst the vineyards of the Niagara Peninsula; in 1918 the company acquired a plant at Lawton, Michigan, in the grape-growing southwest corner of the state. Prohibition being a boon to the grape juice industry rather than the bane it was for the winegrower, Welch's added another factory in 1922, this one at Springdale, Arkansas, in the Ozarks, where 15,000 acres of company vineyards were planted, or so a company statement proclaimed in 1925. Official figures are much more modest, though substantial. By the end of this process of expansion grape growing outside of California was virtually synonymous with growing Concords for the provision of juice, jams, and jellies. That situation is now, at last, beginning to change, but only beginning. For most of its modern
history, and apart from merely natural conditions, eastern viticulture has been shaped by three historic events in combination: the introduction of the Concord grape in 1854; Dr. Welch's invention of grape juice in 1869; and the institution of national Prohibition in 1920. Together they have powerfully retarded the growth of a healthy wine industry.
Missouri, Kansas, and the Midwest
In Missouri, the center of winemaking in the Midwest, there was an expansive mood immediately following the Civil War. We have already noted the excited enthusiasm of George Husmann about the future of winemaking in Missouri, and he evidently managed to communicate that enthusiasm to others in the state. The Cliff Cave Wine Company was organized in 1866 to develop 240 acres of vineyard site on the Mississippi River, thirteen miles south of St. Louis. It had cellars in a natural cave—like the one where Tom Sawyer spied on Injun Joe not far away in Mark Twain's Hannibal—and a storage capacity of 100,000 gallons by 1870. The director was Dr. C. W. Spalding, M.D., of St. Louis, the co-editor, with Husmann, of the short-lived Grape Culturist . Another postwar enterprise near St. Louis was the vineyard operated by an Irishman named J.J. Kelley at Webster Groves; there he produced wine from such native varieties as the Delaware and Norton that the French scientist Planchon, visiting in 1873, found excellent.
In the same year that the Cliff Cave Company was set up, another, larger enterprise was founded on the Missouri River, not many miles to the east of Hermann, at Bluffton. This was the Bluffton Wine Company, which secured over 1,500 acres in Montgomery and Callaway counties, laid out the town of Bluffton, and then leased the land to tenants who were to grow the grapes for the winery. This sort of scheme was called a "colony," and in one form or another it occurred frequently in the history of American settlement in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Two of the leading names in Missouri viticulture were among the incorporators of the Bluffton Company, Husmann of Hermann, and Isidor Bush of St. Louis. Samuel Miller, of Pennsylvania, a well-known horticulturist who had introduced the Martha and other varieties of native hybrid grapes, was in charge of the viticultural work. Husmann himself took the presidency of the firm and migrated from Hermann to Bluffton in 1869 when the cellars of the firm were complete and ready to begin production. The party inaugurating the cellars in February 1869 attracted a large group of St. Louis notables, mostly drawn from the German community, and the hopeful officers of the firm announced that they had received an order for forty cases of their Missouri Cynthiana and other wines from President U.S. Grant himself.
In 1867, shortly after the founding of the Cliff Cave and Bluffton wineries, Dr. Spalding and Husmann founded the Mississippi Valley Grape Growers' Association to organize growers on both sides of the river, north and south of St.
Louis. All this must have seemed good evidence of the secure beginnings and bright future of winegrowing in Missouri. But the young hopes of the growers were soon knocked on the head; the crash of prices in 1871 forced the Bluffton Wine Company into bankruptcy; at the same time diseases, especially the black rot, began to ravage the vineyards beyond all precedent, and the horizon for wine-growers seemed dark indeed. When, in 1880, the irrepressible Husmann published his American Grape Growing and Wine Making , he was forced to admit that the preceding decade had almost entirely falsified the hopes with which it had begun, not just in Missouri but in other states: "Prices in consequence of over production of inferior grapes and wines, came down to their lowest ebb, diseases and other disasters have occurred, and for a time it seemed almost as if grape growing had become a failure." All was not lost, however. There was reason to be hopeful as growers learned their business better, and as the control of winemaking methods became more secure.
One new development of crucial assistance was not far away. This was the discovery, by one of those happy accidents that help to make revolutions, of the fungicide called bordeaux mixture, a compound of copper sulphate and lime. The mixture was applied by a harassed French grower to his vines bordering a roadside to make them look unappetizing and so to discourage casual thefts. Its fungicidal properties were somehow noticed, and it was then tested and brought to the attention of the public by the French scientist Alexis Millardet of Bordeaux in 1885. It
was soon thereafter introduced into the United States through the Department of Agriculture. Trials were made in afflicted vineyards in South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, and Missouri, with spectacularly good results. This work was, incidentally, one of the first significant contributions of the newly established state agricultural experiment stations. Called "the first broad spectrum fungicide," bordeaux mixture for the first time gave the embattled eastern grape grower an effective weapon against black rot and downy mildew.
Throughout the ups and downs in the rest of the state, the industry at Hermann had been continuous and expanding. The biggest of the town's wineries, the firm of Poeschel & Scherer, put up its main building in 1869, added a cellar in 1874, and was producing on the order of 200,000 gallons in the 1880s. In the next decade it was taken over by new owners as the Stone Hill Wine Company and the production capacity expanded to over a million gallons. When the battleship Missouri was launched in 1901, it was wine from Stone Hill that christened her. Other successful growers at Hermann, though not on the same scale as Stone Hill, were Henry Henze, August Langendoerfer, Frederick Loehnig, H. Schus, and Julius Hundhausen. Winegrowing also continued in and around Augusta, near where Friedrich Muench had pioneered years before. Some vineyards and winemaking also developed in the southwestern corner of the state, in the Ozarks, and around Kansas City on the Missouri River: a hundred acres of wine grapes were reported in that region as early as 1870.
By far the most significant and interesting work in Missouri in the nineteenth century—a work of vital importance to winegrowing around the world—came about through the phylloxera crisis that began its career of devastation in France in 1867, about the time that winegrowing in Missouri was being energetically expanded. It happened that Charles V. Riley (1843-95), the first state entomologist for Missouri, was a leading expert on the phylloxera; he was able, in 1870-71, to establish the identity of the American insect with the unknown creature at large in the vineyards of France, a first step of essential importance in combating the pest. As a resident of Missouri (though English-born), Riley knew something about native American vines; he was one of the first to suggest the idea of grafting vinifera to native American rootstocks, and his authority gave special weight to the suggestion. His work on phylloxera had made him well known in France; he had also visited that country, and he had assisted the experts sent over to this country by the French government to learn about phylloxera. Riley was thus in a position of special importance for the French in their search for a means of fighting against phylloxera. After hundreds of futile and often pathetic "cures" for the phylloxera infestation had been vainly tried in France, and when it gradually became clear that grafting vinifera vines onto resistant American roots was the only reliable and practical way to save the French wine industry, Riley was again appealed to, this time for his advice on the selection of appropriate American varieties for the purpose. He in turn referred the French experts who were carrying out the necessary trials to the veteran growers and nurserymen of Missouri.
In this way it came about that Missouri took the lead in furnishing the root-stocks that saved the vineyards of France. Three nurserymen in particular, all of them winemakers themselves, were in the forefront of this work. They were George Husmann, who, after the failure of the Bluffton Wine Company, had established himself as a nurseryman in Sedalia, Missouri; Isidor Bush, the learned Austrian whose Bushberg nursery and Bush Wine Company were in St. Louis; and Hermann Jaeger, a trained viticulturist from Switzerland who had come to Missouri in 1867 and planted a vineyard at New Switzerland, in the southwest Ozark region of Newton County. The combination of Riley, Husmann, Bush, and Jaeger probably could not have been matched outside of Missouri in the 1870s, both for relevant scientific knowledge and for practical experience in viticulture. It was highly fitting, then, that Missouri supplied the vines that, after extended trial in France, yielded the sorts that enabled the French to reconstitute their afflicted vineyards. Writing in 1880, Husmann reported that "millions upon millions of American cuttings and vines have already been shipped to France." George Ordish has calculated that the potential market for American rootstocks sufficient to replant the vast vineyards of France was on the order of eleven billion plants —a figure that might well make the Missouri nurserymen imagine wealth beyond the dreams of avarice. But of course the French soon began propagating from their own nurseries of imported American vines. The significant contribution of Missouri was to provide the original vines from which a stock could be propagated and dissemi-
nated in France by the French themselves. The years from 1873 to 1876 were the period of greatest activity in this movement of cuttings from Missouri to France.
Missouri was also ideally situated to provide a variety of native vines, a point of great importance since it was quickly discovered that American vines were by no means uniform in their power to resist phylloxera. Labrusca varieties, for example, were almost as tender and vulnerable to the louse as was vinifera itself. It was also found that the American species differed widely in their ability to serve as rootstock for vinifera: some took well to grafting, some less well. Another variable was the Americans' tolerance of French soils. Many French vineyards are on chalky soils—those of Champagne, to take a famous example—and some American varieties have an intense, even fatal, dislike of chalk. It was thus necessary to proceed slowly and to try as wide a range of experiment as the material available allowed. Here Missouri could be most useful, for it is a state where southwestern, midwestern, and southeastern climates meet. Labrusca, aestivalis, riparia, rupestris, cordifolia, and other species all grow in Missouri, so that if one sort failed another could be provided. As it happened, the first varieties sent for experiment to France were labrusca and labrusca-riparia hybrids; they did not do well. Then varieties of aestivalis were shipped. In the end, it was found that riparia and rupestris varieties did best, and they provided the basis on which rebuilding could proceed. Jaeger, Husmann, and Bush shipped great quantities of them.
One may mention here that the French did not confine their use of American vines to the roots alone. They also planted the vines for their fruit, and though officially disapproved, there are still many vineyards of old-fashioned American hybrids, known as producteurs directs , to be found in France: Noah, Clinton, Othello, and Lenoir among others. At the same time, experiments were made in hybridizing the American and French vines, just as American hybridizers had been doing on this side of the Atlantic since the middle of the century. The French have produced many valuable varieties through hybridizing, a work still actively carried on, and though the use of such hybrids is now officially discouraged in Europe, they are widely and increasingly planted in the eastern United States. The so-called French hybrids are an unlooked for, but welcome, consequence of the phylloxera disaster.
Hermann Jaeger deserves a word more. He was an indefatigable worker in developing and testing better varieties of grapes for American conditions. With this object he explored the Ozark region and originated hybrids and seedlings from his finds, many of them from the Post Oak grape (V. lincecumii ). Jaeger was also partial to rupestris varieties. When the French scientist Pierre Viala, searching for American vines adapted to chalky French soils, called on Jaeger in Missouri he was offered rupestris wine made by his host; it had, Viala said, "a very good color and a taste good enough." It is interesting to know that one of Jaeger's hybrids found its way from Missouri to the Ardèche region of France, where it became the ancestor of the famous series of hybrids developed by Georges Couderc and Louis Seibel, now widely planted in this country as well as in Europe.
George Husmann also deserves another and final word. In many ways his ca-
reer was symbolic of the fortunes of winegrowing in the United States itself, for it touched many points of development and mirrored many representative changes. A brief outline will make the truth of this proposition clear. We have already looked at his origins in the winegrowing community of Hermann, at his embodiment of the scientific German style of experiment, and at his eager proselytizing for winegrowing through his publications. Then came his failure, in common with that of many others, in the incautious days after the war. Undaunted, he turned to the propagation of vines in a nursery business, and had a large part in supplying the French with native vines to combat the phylloxera. The rest of his story begins in 1878, when he was appointed the first professor of horticulture at the University of Missouri in Columbia. There he at once laid out a vineyard on university ground and had over 130 varieties growing by 1880. In 1881, as though to symbolize the transference of power from the East to the West, Husmann accepted a position as manager of the Talcoa Vineyards in the Napa Valley, California, belonging to the James W. Simonton estate. The vineyards were being destroyed by phylloxera, and Husmann was a recognized expert who might save them. He had sent native root-stocks to California as well as to France in the years when he was a nurseryman.
Husmann's migration to California in 1881 came at just the moment when phylloxera was at last recognized as a menace to the state, and at the same moment that saw the formation of the Board of State Viticultural Commissioners and the founding of the university's viticultural program. Husmann set to work with his invariable energy and enthusiasm, and soon had three hundred acres planted in native American vines for experiment to determine their resistance and their suitability for grafting to vinifera. He also continued his interest in the whole subject of winegrowing, making inquiries into the various developments in California and taking part in the professional meetings of the state's winegrowers. The result was that within the decade of his arrival in California he had written a book, called Grape Culture and Wine-Making in California: A Practical Manual for the Grape-Grower and Wine-Maker (1888).
This was the third phase of Husmann's oracular performances before the American public: in the first, going back to his early days as a grower and wine-maker at Hermann, Missouri, he proclaimed the future of Missouri and the "great west" as the home of a marvelous winegrowing economy; in the second, as a somewhat sobered but still convinced prophet, he sold American vines to the French and wrote a book to encourage eastern American growers generally after a decade of sore disappointment and distress. In his final phase, he joined the growing company of visionaries who had found the future revealed to them in California. In all of this, there was nothing meretricious, nothing affected. Husmann was, clearly, a true believer, wherever he found himself, and a shrewd judge too of what was going on and what might be made of it. That California claimed him at last is no discredit to the rest of the country. I note it here only as completing his role as symbolic instance of the progress of American winegrowing in the century, a progress in which California was surely the culminating stage. Long before his death in
1902, Husmann had left the Talcoa Vineyard for his own property of Oak Glen, in the Chiles Valley of Napa County. The winery that he built there has now disappeared, but the professor's work and his example are still vivid.
As we saw in an earlier chapter, winegrowing in other midwestern states responded very quickly to the early successes in Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri. There were vineyards and wineries in Illinois and Wisconsin before the Civil War, and in Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas not long after it. In Iowa, for instance, the State Horticultural Society reported in 1868 on the results of grape growing and winemaking in sixteen different counties with all the established varieties of native hybrids. The testimony was all optimistic, and one witness declared that "one man can tend three acres of grapes as easily as twenty acres of corn." The fact that corn has long since triumphed over its rivals in Iowa does not necessarily mean that the grape could not still have a significant place there. In the same year as the Iowa report, 1868, Illinois produced 225,000 gallons of wine, more than Missouri and only barely less than New York. The very heart of the Midwest was evidently a place where people thought well of the chances of grape growing and winemaking.
In a large and general view, the two most favored regions for winegrowing in the Midwest were along the two great river valleys of the Mississippi and the Missouri: along the first of these from southern Wisconsin to a point well below St. Louis; and along the second from Omaha to St. Louis. On the Mississippi there was significant viticulture at Dubuque, Nauvoo, Keokuk, and St. Louis; on the Missouri, at Council Bluffs, St. Joseph, Leavenworth, Kansas City, and, of course, at the old German settlements from Boonville to St. Louis. Grapes were not confined to the riverine slopes, however; they were raised on the prairies of the Illinois interior, on the Ozark hills of southwestern Missouri, on the rich black lands of central Iowa, on the arid bluffs of western Kansas, and any other sort of middle western site that might challenge the ambitions of a horticultural pioneer.
It should certainly be known that these middle western states were winemaking states, since the fact is largely forgotten today. Winemaking at Nauvoo, Illinois, is a notable exception in having persisted down to the present day. More typical is the history illustrated on the other side of the river from Nauvoo by the White Elk Vineyards of Keokuk, Iowa. Established in 1869 by Hiram Barney of New York, the one hundred acres of White Elk vines produced, by 1880, up to 30,000 gallons of Concord, Ives, Norton, and Clinton wines a year. But they could not survive the unequal struggle against the growing power of prohibition on one side and the unremitting attack of endemic diseases on the other. There were a number of beginnings comparable to the White Elk Vineyards scattered over the wide distances of the flat Midwest, but to try to give a connected account of them would present a distorted idea of their importance in the general agricultural scene in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Winegrowing was always an exotic activity in most of this territory, at the mercy of unfriendly nature and re-
garded with suspicious hostility by large parts of the population. Still, though winegrowing was scattered and small-scale in these states, its history recapitulates the most familiar themes of pioneer American experience in this effort. In the first place, it was largely the work of continental immigrants, who were almost certain to be German, Swiss, or French. In the second place, it was sometimes an aspect of communitarian life, either religious or utopian. And it had to face the inevitable obstacles: powerful endemic diseases, and intolerant prohibitionist hostility. These themes may be briefly illustrated.
The Germans of Belleville, Illinois, have already been mentioned, and the Germans, it seems, almost always gave the lead elsewhere in the state, as they had at Belleville. John Bauer, the son of a German winegrower in Rhenish Bavaria, and John Tanner, a Swiss, introduced winegrowing to Nauvoo, Illinois, in the early 1850s, and one of the earliest wineries there belonged to a man from Liechtenstein
named Rheinberger. Louis Koch, a Saxon, operated a winery for many years before and after the Civil War, at Golconda, on the Ohio River. As viticulture spread up and down Illinois along the length of its Mississippi River border, and into the prairies to the east, one continues to encounter German names: Theodore Engelmann operated his Looking-Glass Vineyard at Mascoutah; Dr. H. Schroeder his Marble Front Wine House in Peoria; Friedrich Hecker at Belleville, Fred Schneiter at St. Elmo, and Theophile Huber at Illinois City are other instances. Hecker was a man of considerable eminence, a lawyer and politician from Baden who had been forced into exile for his revolutionary activities. He settled among the learned German farmers in the region of Belleville, fought with distinction in the Civil War, and afterwards cultivated his farm with success. He made viticulture a special interest and corresponded on American grape varieties with experts in Germany at the time of the phylloxera crisis. Theophile Huber, whose vineyard went back to 1867, was an active experimenter in breeding new varieties of native grapes; so were Ludwig Hencke of Collinsville, and J. Balziger of Highland, G. A. Ensenburger of Bloomington, and Otto Wasserzieher of Nauvoo. The German propensity to experiment was not restricted to such eminent names as Engelmann, Husmann, and Rommel, but was diffused widely and shared by many obscure, but useful, workers.
Perhaps no state has been thought of as more thoroughly and permanently "Dry" than Kansas: it was the first state to adopt constitutional prohibition; its politicians were usually notable among the public spokesmen for the Dry cause; it was the home of the absurd Carrie A. Nation, the ax-wielding destroyer of saloons. As the president of the State Temperance Union vaunted in 1890, "Kansas is the mausoleum of the saloon, the sepulchre of its vices, the tomb of its iniquities." Besides, its rolling prairies seem utterly unfitted to grape growing: Bacchus loves the hillsides, and there are none in Kansas. In the popular imagery of the United States, Kansas is a place to grow wheat, and that, in fact, is what most of the state's acreage is devoted to. Yet there was a time when the future of winegrowing looked quite promising in Kansas, and perhaps such a time will come again.
Wild vines flourish in Kansas just as they do in every other part of the Midwest. Captain Etienne Venyard de Bourgmont, on an expedition to what is now the northeastern corner of the state in 1724, was supplied with grapes there by the local Indians; what is more, he and his men made wine from the wild summer grapes that they found growing in abundance along the Missouri River bluffs. Eighty years later, when Lewis and Clark passed the site where Bourgmont had found his grapes, they saw the same abundance: "On the shores were great quantities of summer and fall grapes." It would be another half century before much settlement had been made in Kansas, but when it came, the grapes were still there to meet the pioneer. One settler heading west from Kansas City just after the Civil War recalls the air of June on the Kansas prairie as "fragrant with wild grape blossoms." Another early settler, describing how they used to go "graping" along the Kaw River bottoms, remembered that "one could drive the wagon under the vines as they hung from low tree tops and pick the fruit directly into the buckets and tubs provided." I myself remember in the 1930s swinging across a Kansas creek on a great festoon of wild grape vine hanging from the trees along the bank.
Such an obvious invitation to try grape growing was responded to quickly. We have already noted the work of John Burr and Dr. Stayman around Leavenworth in the 1860s. Another pioneer in grape growing, a bold one, was a nurseryman named A. M. Burns, who set up a nursery on the arid plains of Riley County in 1857 and specialized in vines. In his catalogue for 1866 he wrote as one who had proved beyond doubt the harmony between Kansas and the grape: "I now think I can with safety predict a glorious future for the grape in Kansas. It is only a matter of time, and some who, when I commenced to test the vine, sneered at the idea, may yet live to see the day when our bluffs will be teeming with millions of dollars of wealth, while they ought to hang their heads with shame at their own ignorance." To anyone who has had the patience to read to this point in my narrative, Burns's words will have a distinct pathos: they echo so closely what other intrepid pioneers had to say about their work and their vision in the two centuries before Burns wrote that one can hardly avoid the ironic connection between his boast and their failure. Yet we cannot say that Burns was wrong: only that the trial has not yet been sufficiently made. Burns offered a list of more than 150 varieties for sale, all of them native American vines, including such aboriginal hybrids as the Alexander and the Bland as well as the latest popular hybrids such as the Concord, the Iona, and Rogers' hybrids. He was also producing his own new varieties for trial in central Kansas.
Burns was not just a voice crying alone in the wilderness, for there were many to share his faith. Who was the first to make wine in Kansas does not appear, but the Brenner family must have been among the earliest to do so, and they return us to the theme of the European element in the Midwest. The two brothers Brenner, Adam and Jacob, were born in the celebrated wine town of Deidesheim, Rheinpfalz, and migrated to Kansas in the 1860s. There they settled in Doniphan County, in
the far northeastern corner of the state where the Missouri River forms the boundary and where the early explorers had noted the abundance of native grapes. Jacob Brenner planted his Central Vineyards in 1864 and developed sacramental wines as a specialty; Adam Brenner planted his Doniphan Vineyards in 1865; George Brenner, Jacob's son, planted his Bellevue Vineyards in 1869. The family's vineyards lay adjacent, and included such varieties as Elvira from Missouri, Goethe from Massachusetts, and Norton from Virginia. By 1883 they had, together, over a hundred acres of vines and a winery capacity of over 60,000 gallons. There was at least a touch of French influence in Kansas as well. In Douglas County, just west of Kansas City, Isador Labarriere was growing grapes and making wine in the 1870s, and in the same county August Jacot built a wine cellar and planted a vineyard in the 1880s; there is still a hamlet called Vinland in the area, no doubt evoking thoughts of Vikings rather than of wine in the minds of its Kansas neighbors, who have long been out of the habit of familiarity with wine. In Miami County, not far from Vinland, R. W. Massey had been growing grapes since just after the Civil War around Paola, on the Marais des Cygnes River, where, only a few years earlier, the fanatical John Brown had been preaching against the wickedness of slavery and slaying such proslavery men as he could find. Massey hoped to form a "grape colony" in the area, but there is no evidence that he did so.
When the Kansas State Horticultural Society was formed, it at once made grape culture a part of its work—the grape forms a prominent part of the society's official seal. At the 1871 meeting it approved such varieties as Ives, Norton, and Clinton for "general culture for wine," and Creveling, Catawba, and Delaware for "amateur culture for wine." At the same meeting in 1871 "the manufacture of grapes into wine was ably discussed, pro and con. " In 1871 and 1872 the society heard lectures on the grape from Dr. Stayman of Leavenworth, and from the distinguished Dr. Warder, one of the pioneers of winemaking in Cincinnati. The State Board of Agriculture, an official branch of the state, was also concerned with wine-making; M. Labarriere exhibited his wines to the board in 1873, and the Transactions of the board regularly report the statistics of viticulture in the state. These make rather startling reading for anyone who finds it hard to connect the ideas of Kansas and the grape. In 1872, for example, vineyards were reported in fifty counties, and the production of wine in that year was put at about 35,000 gallons. A year later, though the production of wine had fallen off, there were more than five and a half thousand acres of vines reported in the state, from all but seventeen of its seventy-three counties. The effect of these extensive plantings was evident by 1880, the year the state went Dry: the census of that year reported a production of 226,000 gallons of wine from Kansas. Even after Prohibition, the state took notice of viticulture by establishing an experimental vineyard at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Manhattan (where Burns's nursery was) in 1888. This began with 64 varieties of native grape and had grown to include 157 varieties by 1894; the vineyard was used for experiments in spraying and winter protection, as well as for determining what were the best varieties to recommend to Kansas growers.
Working against all this interest, whether official, commercial, or amateur, was the powerful prohibitionist sentiment that seems somehow to be just as native to Kansas as its wild grapes are. At the meeting of the State Horticultural Society in 1871, in the very midst of the discussion on winemaking, one member suddenly offered a resolution condemning "the use and manufacture of wines," and, though the resolution was rejected, the threat that it expressed grew rather than diminished. The passage of constitutional prohibition in 1880 put an end to official encouragement of winegrowing, of course, though it does not seem to have shut down such wineries as already existed. The state of things in Kansas by the end of the century is exhibited by a curious volume published by the State Horticultural Society in 1901 called The Grape in Kansas . On the title page stands this remarkable declaration about "the grape":
The oldest cultivated fruit. The finest of all table fruits. A fruit too good to be made a chief source of the degradation of the race as an alluring (yet intoxicating) principle. To the glory of Kansas, 99½ per cent. of this luscious fruit which grows freely all over the state is used without fermentation.
In its treatment of the grape, the book gives recipes for canned grapes, grape jam, grape jelly, grape marmalade, grape pie, pickled grapes, spiced grapes, and grape syrup, but not a hint about wine. The entire discussion of fermentation is confined to this succinct assertion: "Ferment is decay, decomposition, rot. Alcohol is only produced by decay, decomposition, rot." And that remained the official view of things in Kansas for the next fifty years. It is no wonder that grape growing gradually withered away in a state that its hopeful pioneers had declared—not altogether fancifully—to be "the home of the vine." There are now beginning to be heard in Kansas prophecies of new beginnings in winemaking. If they should be fulfilled, one may hope that the new winemakers of the state will hold the pioneers of the grape in Kansas in pious memory. They have long been lost in the oblivion thrust upon them by the state's history of prohibition.
About a hundred miles north of the early Kansas vineyards, in the same Missouri River country, at least one winegrower was active in Nebraska. Peter Pitz, who had been a winemaker on the Rhine before settling near Plattsmouth, Nebraska, had about twelve acres of vines and a cellar sunk thirty feet deep in the ground against summer heat and winter blasts. Pitz made three kinds of wine from his grapes—white, red, and yellow (!)—and he claimed to do so entirely without the assistance of added sugar or water. A report on his operations in 1896 noted that Pitz's success had stimulated "a number of German capitalists" to investigate the chances of winegrowing in Nebraska. No extensive development followed, but a small industry has persisted in the region, especially on the opposite bank of the Missouri, in Iowa, around Council Bluffs. One may note, too, that back in the days of the grape boom of the sixties, when hybridizing was all the rage, Nebraska made its contribution: two varieties, at least, were introduced by R. O. Thompson, of Nursery Hill, Nebraska, and though neither had any success, they are good evi-
dence of the hopefulness of those days. In the same spirit Thompson tested hundreds of varieties of native vines, looking for the elusive one that would yield good wine in the state's unfriendly climate.' Nebraska was later a source of resistant riparia rootstocks for California, shipped out by the carload when that state began to reconstitute its vineyards against the phylloxera in the 1880s.
The communal pattern, which we have seen on both the East and the West Coasts, appeared in the Midwest too, though only in a flickering way. The Icarians of Cloverdale, California, were the remnant of a community of idealistic Frenchmen, inspired by utopian notions, who had settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1849, not long after the Mormons who had founded and built the town had abandoned it for their migration to Utah. The Icarians did not pioneer grape growing at Nauvoo, but when others began it they joined in; not, however, without taking a backward step. They planted European vines, and so had to watch them fail first before finding their way with native vines. Emil Baxter, an Englishman who had joined the Icarians, founded a winery at Nauvoo in 1857 that is still in operation. Meanwhile, a series of bitter schisms among the Icarians, culminating in the exile and death of their leader, Etienne Cabet, had left the Nauvoo community weak and disorganized. In the hope of making a new start, some Icarians migrated to the southwestern corner of Iowa in 1860, not far from that stretch of the Missouri River where the borders of Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri approach one another between Omaha and Kansas City. Here they established a small vineyard of Concord vines expressly for winemaking and succeeded in maintaining it for many years. Even after another schism had sent the last expedition of Icarians out to California, the Icarians who remained in Iowa kept their vineyard going. The example had some effect, for as early as 1870 nearby Des Moines County had 250 acres in vines and was producing 30,000 gallons of wine from standard American varieties. It was reported in 1898 that the example of the Icarians had made grape growing a success in southwestern Iowa.
Another communal experiment, also utopian rather than religious, is worth noting just because it repeats so many of the motifs that we have heard from the beginning of American colonization. Ernest Valeton de Boissiere, a wealthy and philanthropic Frenchman inspired by the communitarian theories of his countryman Charles Fourier, in 1868 bought 3,500 prairie acres in Franklin County, Kansas, a region then in rapid development immediately following the Civil War. There de Boissiere intended to make cheese, silk, and wine through the cooperative labors of a community living in a Fourierist phalanstery. Cheese making is a new note, but the combination of wine and silk takes us back to the dreams of Hakluyt and the first days of the Virginia colony. There were 1,000 vines planted by 1871, and ten years later a visitor noted the "acres of grapes then worked into wine." The community also succeeded in producing silk, a display of which was an object of interest at the Centennial Exhibition of 1876. But then Silkville, as the community was called, was abandoned in 1892, after twenty years of struggle. The long double avenue of mulberry trees planted to supply the silkworms and the large, austere
communal building of native sandstone long remained to remind the farmers on that windswept prairie of an exotic episode in the history of their county.
As for winemaking in religious communities, that, too, was represented in the Midwest, at least in a token way, in the Amana Colonies in southeastern Iowa, still flourishing 130 years after their founding by the German Community of True Inspiration in 1854. On 25,000 acres of splendid Iowa soil, the Inspirationists quietly developed a prosperous economy based on farming, cabinetmaking, meat smoking, and winemaking, carried out in seven small villages scattered over an area of some twenty square miles. Like the houses of the Rappites in Economy, Pennsylvania, those in the Amanas, often brick-built, had their walls covered in trellises for the growing of grapes. Winemaking was largely for local consumption; in the communal scheme of distribution, the average ration was about a gallon a month for adult men, half as much for women. As though to underline the connection between wine and the spirit, the colonists used the basement of their meeting house (they did not use the term "church") as their wine cellar.
The obstacles that middle western winegrowing had to face were both natural—acts of God, as the insurance companies say—and cultural—acts of man. The obstacles that nature laid in the way were those already long familiar in the shape of weather, pests, and diseases. The special agent of the census bureau assigned to report on viticulture in the United States in 1890 declared gloomily that in Missouri and Kansas in the past ten years there had been "but little progress." The vineyards in Missouri, he affirmed, "have been devastated or ruined," and in Kansas the industry was stagnant (he does not refer to the circumstance that the state was constitutionally Dry). This was too alarming a view, but it at least testified to widespread uneasiness and discouragement. The introduction of the fungicide called bordeaux mixture at about this time gave reason for new confidence, yet production did continue to decline, in the next decade, in Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri. Even more daunting than the struggle with diseases was the intensifying struggle with prohibitionists, enemies to winegrowing who were in fact to prove far more devastating than even the lethal black rot. The rising trend to oppose, obstruct, and forbid the sale of alcoholic drink in any and all forms had to be a severe inhibitor of the wish to plant vineyards and to make wine, not just in Kansas but in any state where organized "temperance" opposition was growing—and that was just about everywhere. The movement was not, perhaps, stronger in the Midwest than in other parts of the country, but the relative feebleness of the winegrowing industry there meant that it had little means of standing up to it.