Skip to main content
University of California Berkeley
University of California Bancroft Library/Berkeley
Regional Oral History Office
Horace 0, Lanza
GALIFOENIA GRAPE PHODUCTS AND OTHEB WINE ENTERPRISES
With Introductions by
Maynard A. Amerine
Interviews Conducted by
1971 by The Regents of The University of California
TABLE 0? CONTENTS ~ CALIFOKNIA GRAPE PRODUCTS AND OTHER
PART I - HORACE 0. IANZA
INTRODUCTION BY MAYNARD A. AMERINE ill
INTERVIEW HISTORY v
EARLY EXPERIENCES 1
THE WINE INDUSTRY IN THE PROHIBITION PERIOD 5
IN AND OUT OF FRUIT INDUSTRIES 12
CALIFORNIA GRAPE PRODUCTS COMPANY 16
ITALIAN VINEYARD COMPANY 21
DISPOSING OF PROPERTIES 28
GRAPE VARIETIES AND REGIONS 31
I.V.C. AND SECONDO GUASTI 37
CENTRAL CALIFORNIA WINERIES, INC. AND THE PRORATE 41
JOSEPH DI GIORGIO 44
GLAUS SCHILLING ^9
GRAPE, BLENDS AND PROCESSES 58
EUROPEANS AND AMERICANS 64
FURTHER PROHIBITION PERIOD RECOLLECTIONS 70.
MEN AND CHARACTER TRAITS 75
PART II - HARRY BACCIGALUPPI
INTRODUCTION BY MAYNARD A. AMERINE 77A
INTERVIEW HISTORY 77C
FIRST EXPERIENCES IN THE WINE TRADE 78
THE WINE MARKET DURING PROHIBITION 83
PROHIBITION PERIOD PROBLEMS 88
PRODUCTS FOR HOME WINE MAKING 92
POST-REPEAL CONDITIONS 96
PRICE FLUCTUATIONS AND STABILIZATION PIANS 100
RECENT MARKETING ORDERS 104
ITALIAN VINEYARD COMPANY EVENTS 108
THE WINE INSTITUTE AND GENERAL DEANE 118
CALIFORNIA GRAPE PRODUCTS COMPANY AND ITS SUCCESSORS 122
GRAPE VARIETIES AND REGIONS 129
CHANGING TASTES IK WINES
"What Has Become of the Family Life Today?"
by Horace 0. Lanza
Horace 0. Lanza letter of November 18, 1969
(For Wines and Grapes see page
University of California Bancroft Library/Berkeley
Regional Oral History Office
Horace 0. Lanza
CALIFORNIA GRAPE PRODUCTS AND OTHER WINE ENTERPRISES: PART I
With an Introduction by
Maynard A. Amerine
An Interview Conducted by
1971 by The Regents of The University of California
Horace 0. Lanza photographed while being interviewed at his home.
February 13, 1969. Photographs by Ruth Teiser
All uses of this manuscript are covered by a
legal agreement between the Regents of the University
of California and Horace 0. Lanza, dated 2? November,
1970, The manuscript is thereby made available for
research purposes. All literary rights in the manuscript,
including the right to publish, are reserved to the
Bancroft Library of the University of California at
Berkeley. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for
publication without the written permission of the
Director of The Bancroft Library of the University of
California at Berkeley-
Requests for permission to quote for publication
should be addressed to the Regional Oral History Office,
J4-86 Library, and should Include identification of the
specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the
passages, and identification of the user. The legal
agreement with Horace 0. Lanza requires that he be
notified of the request and allowed thirty days in which
The California Wine Industry Oral History Series, a
project of the Regional Oral History Office, was initiated
in 1969 f the year noted as the bicentenary of continuous
wine making in this state. It was undertaken through the
action and with the financing of the Wine Advisory Board,
and under the direction of University of California faculty
and staff advisors at Berkeley and Davis.
The purpose of the series is to record and preserve
information on California grape growing and wine making that
has existed only in the memories of wine men. In some cases
their recollections go back to the early years of this
century, before Prohibition. These recollections are of
particular value because the Prohibition period saw the
disruption of not only the industry itself but also the
orderly recording and preservation of records of its
activities. Little has been written about the industry from
late in the last century until Repeal. There is a real
paucity of information on the Prohibition years (1920-1933),
although some wine making did continue under supervision of
the Prohibition Department. The material in this series on
that period, as well as the discussion of the remarkable
development of the wine industry in subsequent years (as
yet treated analytically in few writings) will be of aid to
historians. Of particular value is the fact that frequently
several individuals have discussed the same subjects and
events or expressed opinions on the same ideas, each from
his own point of view.
Research underlying the Interviews has been conducted
principally in the University libraries at Berkeley and
Davis, the California State Library, and in the library of
the Wine Institute, which has made its collection of in
many cases unique materials readily available for the
Three master indices for the entire series are being
prepared, one of general subjects, one of wines, one of
grapes by variety. These will be available to researchers
at the conclusion of the series in the Regional Oral History
Office and at the library of the Wine Institute.
The Regional Oral History Office was established to
tape record autobiographical interviews with persons who
have contributed significantly to recent California history.
The office is headed by Willa K. Baton and is under the
administrative supervision of James D, Hart, the Director
of The Bancroft Library,
California Wine Industry
Oral History Series
1 March 1971
Regional Oral History Office
^86 The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Horace 0. Lanza was born In Sicily in 1881 (or, as he
explains, possibly in 1880). At the age of 10 (or 11) he
came with his parents to a farm at Fredonia, New York. In
1901 he obtained his law degree at the University of Buffalo
and successfully practiced law there until about 1915-
His interest in wine dates from about 189^ or 1895 when
he worked in his brother s small winery in Fredonia. In 1915
he and a friend took over this winery. About 1920 he moved
to California where he has since lived. All of his subsequent
career was in the wine and grape industry. Most of this oral
history concerns his wine career with numerous fascinating
details of his operations and reminiscences of his friends
At least three themes run through his story: wine and
grape operations during Prohibition, his keen interest in
grape growing in California, and his philosophical interest
in people and education.
The Prohibition operations are particularly interesting.
The large scale of legal operations are not widely known or
appreciated. His early and successful production and sale of
grape concentrate should be noted. The numerous intra-lndustry
maneuvers during Prohibition are especially noteworthy
particularly his recollections of how they came about.
He has been associated with grape growing In many areas
of California: Ukiah, Saint Helena, Cordelia (in Solano
County), Elk Grove (in Sacramento County), and finally, and
most importantly, near Delano. In all of these operations he
was keenly interested in grape varieties and in factors
influencing the quality of the wines which they produced.
Finally, there is his long and loyal friendship with his
customers, associates and friends. In these relationships
he reveals himself as a kindly man with a high and rare degree
of consideration for his fellow human beings.
His memory slips very seldom. One such slip is his
confusion of Paso Robles as a vineyard area with the Paicines
area 90 miles to the north in an entirely different climatic
zone (p. 3^- et seq.).
Altogether, it is a remarkable Horatio Alger success
Maynard A. Amerine
Professor, Viticulture and Enology
101 Wickson Hall
University of California at Davis
The interview with Horace 0. Lanza was conducted in four
sessions on January 30, February 5 February 11, and February
13, 1969. The first two were held at the offices of Calgrape
Wineries, Inc., in the Sharon Building, San Francisco. In
those sessions Mr. Lanza s younger associate of many years,
Marry 3accigaluppi, participated. (He, like the other men
who have worked with Mr. Lanza, call him "Boss" in direct
address.) At that time, although Mr. Lanza had ceased formal
duties with the firm, he continued to go to the offices
The third and fourth sessions were held in the library of
Mr. Lanza s home in Piedmont, a well appointed and comfortable
room where Mr. Lanza continued writing philosophical essays in
the same vein as his book, Thought and Conduct (a copy of which
he has deposited in the Bancroft Library) and the essay on
family life appended to this interview.
Mr. Lanza has also from time to time contributed articles
to the trade press, giving informed and outspoken opinions on
various aspects of the wine industry. (For example, "Light
Svreet Wine" and "Vintners and Vineyardists, Partners or
Competitors?", Wines and Vines, December 19*4-5 and September
1952.) Views expressed earlier at a pre-Hepeal Congressional
hearing in which several leading California wine men participated
are reported in: U.S. Congress, House Ways and Means Committee.
Prohibition, Modification of Volstead Act. Hearings, ?2nd
Congress, 2nd Session; Dec. 7, 1932.
Mr. Lanza spoke with deliberation, clarity and grace, and
often with pleasure at recalling almost forgotten incidents.
His style of speaking is reminiscent of his legal training and
career early in this century. The initial transcript of the
interview was sent to him in September 19&9* Both he and Mr.
Baccigaluppi read it. Few changes were made beyond occasional
corrections and clarifications in wording and brief additions,
some at the request of the interviewer. Folloi-xing the return
of the transcript to the interviewer for final editing, he gave
some additional general comments in a letter of November 18,
1969. A copy of it also is appended to this interview.
30 January 1971
**86 The Bancroft Library
University of California at Berkeley
(Interview with Horace 0. Lanza with Comments
by Harry Baccigaluppl. San Francisco,
January 30, 1969)
Teiser: When did you begin your career in wine making?
Lanza: I began to work in wine making (I won t say a
winery) in about 1894, 93 or 9^, in Predonia, New
York. That s in Chautauqua County, the Chautauqua
district, near Lake Erie. I had a brother, an older
brother, Peter Lanza, who was fired from a job he had
in the canning factory. It seems that he was working
in the summertime when it was hot in those days the
factories didn t have all the conveniences they have
nowadays, and they worked sort of half -naked. Somebody
threw a pail of water over an old German who was
working near my brother and other youngsters, and he
Immediately turned around and asked my brother, "Who
did it? Who did it?" Of course all the boys were
laughing and my brother didn t say who did it. He
concluded from that that he must have thrown the pail
of water over him, and the old man hit the young man
about twenty years of age, you see, and he hit back.
Just then the foreman came by and fired both of them.
And I remember well, when he came home he was
crestfallen at the loss of his job, because he had a Job
that he was sort of an expert in sealing cans. In
those days the tin cans that they used had an opening
in the center of one end through which they would fill
it up and then the hole would be soldered. So he was
making good wages. My mother was a very religious
woman but when she got excited she could swear like no
Lanza: trooper I ever heard. [Laughter] So when Peter told
the fact, she said, "By Jingo," or something like that,
"I never wanted you to work anyway. I want you to get
in business for yourself." So she went to the trunk,
got $80, and gave it to him and said, "Now you go over
to old man Smith s," who used to make a little wine,
"and buy all the wine that you can. And then go to
the city and sell it, at a profit."
Sure enough, he took the $80, went to old man
Smith, bought ten barrels of wine, or such a liquid
that was called wine in those days. He went to the
city and sold it for $200 $20 a barrel. He bought it
at 8, sold it at $20. So he made $120 that easy.
Why, he had never seen so much money in his life!
Teiser: What city was it he went to?
Lanza: Buffalo. Buffalo, New York, which is about ^-3 miles
from Predonia. The following fall then he thought he
would get into the business. And he bought a lot of
fresh, empty whiskey barrels, as many as he could
place in the basement of the house we were living in,
improvised a little platform to crush grapes, and
hired one of those burly Italians, barefooted, and so
he proceeded to crush the grapes on this level plat
form. And from that, they would gather the juice and
fill up the barrels. That was the first year. As I
say, it was about 189*4-. In 95 he built a little plant
there, a little wine cellar, near the railroad. And
from that time on the thing started going up, and he
was very successful.
I remember when he married. He was 2? years old.
He owned a vineyard, 30 acres. He owned this little
wine cellar along the railway track, the railroad. He
had $15,000 cash. That was a lot of money. In that
winery, [when] I was a schoolboy, I would go there
and help pile the boxes or sweep the floor or move,
you know, the empty kegs such work as a boy would do.
I didn t realize at the time that I was learning the
wine business, you see, by observing.
Anyway some time later I went then to the city,
to the university to study law. My brother in 1911
was ailing and the doctor said he had to have a change
of climate. So he came to California in 1911 and he
closed the winery. In 191^ when the war broke out he
wrote to me. I was then a young man. And he said,
"Why don t you make some money for yourself? Open my
Lanza: winery. You can hire the help, flake some wine,
because no wine is coming from Europe. And there s a
good market for the home-made product." So I went to
Fredonia to look it over, about 1915- When I got down
there I met on the street a Supreme Court Judge that I
had known. He said, "What are you doing here in town?"
I told him. I said, "I came down to look over the
winery of my brother. He thinks that I should open it
"He s right! Let f s go into it." [Laughter]
So I couldn t refuse to take the judge as a
partner, [laughter] so we started the business, the
Teiser: What was his name?
Lanza: Lambert, John S. Lambert. So we made the wine all
right, but we weren t making money. It required
attention, you see, and the attention I would give to
it would be say, once a week, once or so, to go over
there from the city to look it over. So it wasn t going
so well. I had saved by the time I went into this
business $14,000 cash. That was the capital I had. And
I had invested all of it in this wine venture. So I
talked to a brother-in-law of mine who was in the wine
business himself on a small scale. I said, "If you
take it over, at whatever price you think is right, as
you sell you may pay what figure that I have coming."
I ve forgotten what it was, but he gave me $1,000 down.
In a few months he came to me. He said, "Here are the
keys of your wine cellar. To hell with you and your
wine." [Laughter] I said, "What happened?"
He said, "Too much work, too much trouble, and
nothing in it." [Laughter] So I said, "Well, why
don t you get somebody?"
He said, "Nothing doing. But I ll tell you, if
you ll stay in there with me, as part owner, I ll
"Why," I said, "listen,
is in with me."
I can t do it. The judge
"Well," he said, "we ll take him in also."
"All right. Let s go." There was nothing else
I could do. And he ran the business. Then we got
into the war, and in 1918.,.
Can I interrupt you and ask you what his name was?
A. William Russo, H-u-s-s-o.
And did you have a name for the winery at that time?
The Colonial Wine Company.
Correct that s the name that I gave to it.
When you and the Judge went in?
Yes. I thought the word colonial in those days,
when the people were coming from Europe, you know, the
Anyway, in 1918 there was the threat of Prohibition,
And I could see it coming. And I had been reading.
When I got in the wine business I started to read all
the pamphlets or books that I could lay my hands on,
which were not many. At least people that I knew didn t
know of many such publications. And I read a lot about
the French, the French people, that in off-years they
would go to Greece or Turkey and buy raisins and buy
grapes, and then bring them to France and they would
make wine. And as they were talking about Prohibition,
I thought, well, if the French could make wine from
dried grapes, when we have Prohibition here, the
houseowner can probably make wine from concentrate.
And I worked on that theory.
So I came to California and I made a contract to
buy some concentrate, through Mr [A.R.] Morrow of the
California Wine Association, made an agreement with
the Woodbridge winery in Lodi to make I ve forgotten,
it seems to me like 20,000 gallons of concentrate.
That was a bigger order for concentrate than they ever
had. And they didn t quite understand what I had in
Anyway, they made it, and when they were making
it their equipment to make concentrate was limited.
They would take concentrate, so much grape juice, and
put it in a tank. The next day some more grape Juice
and put it over the concentrate made the day before.
And the next day, and the next day, with the result
Lanza: that this tank had the concentrate made, say, in two
or three weeks, with the result that the concentrate
would be warm and hot every day and would heat the
whole mess and made it brown as brown could be.
[Laughter] Well, anyway, they finally put it in
barrels and I move ditto Predonia.
It was this winery that I f m talking about. And
we piled it on the floor there, not realizing or
understanding that the floor of the homemade building
[laughter] there couldn t hold the weight of, I ve
forgot, 300 or *K>0 barrels. So the floor [laughter]
caved in over the tanks underneath, because there in
Predonia the wine cellars were underground to protect
the winery from the winter conditions. Well, that was
THE WINE INDUSTRY IN THE PROHIBITION PERIOD
Lanza: The result of our experiment with concentrate was
not so encouraging, but I still was thinking of the
effect of Prohibition, so I came here the next fall
and I bought 1,300,000 gallons of wine. That is, I
contracted it, principally with the California Wine
Association, the firm of Federspiel Wine Company, and
the Gait winery. This to be shipped as I would order
it, but it had to be taken before the following vintage.
Sure enough the Prohibition took place, and there
were, say, two kinds of Prohibition. One: that you
could not use during the duration of the war any food
product in the manufacture of alcoholic beverages.
Therefore you could not use any grapes, you see. And
that was temporary, while the war lasted.* (The second
was the following January. ) This law went into effect
the first of July, I think 1918 or 1919, while we were
still in the war, the last year of the war.
I had figured that when Prohibition would come
that everybody would sort of hoard beverages, wine
*The so-called Wartime Prohibition Act, which took
effect July 1, 1919. The Eighteenth Amendment took
effect January 16, 1920.
Lanza: included, because they couldn t get it any more. And
that is why I had bought heavily here, in anticipation
of that rush. And sure enough when the first
Prohibition came, on July 1st, all my competitors
stopped shipping wine because the department, I ve
forgotten what they called it in those days, the
department affecting alcoholic beverages in Washington. . .
Bacci: The Prohibition Department.
Lanza: ...the Prohibition Department [administrator] issued
an order specifying that all beverages containing 2-1/2$
of alcohol were prohibited. So you could sell anything
less than 2-1/2%, but not over 2-1/2. I figured that
he had no such authority, that his business was an
administrative business but not a law-making. The act
simply condemned intoxicating liquor, so the question
of intoxicating liquor would become a question of fact.
But when I called that to the attention of the
department in Washington, they wrote back and practically
told me "mind your business or else." So I paid no
attention to it.
But on July 1st, when this Prohibition was
supposed to take effect, the first Prohibition, all my
competitors stopped. I continued. The railroad
immediately sent orders to their local men not to accept
any more shipments. So I went to court and proctrred an
order to show cause why they shouldn t take my shipments.
And I went to the railroad station to serve a copy of
that order upon the railroad agent. The minute he saw
me he said, "Oh, Mr. Lanza, I was coming over to tell
you. I just got a wire from New York to accept your
shipments." So I didn t show him the order I had in
my pocket and didn t serve it. And I started to sell
All my competitors couldn t understand how and why
I went on selling wine. But their customers who had
come to me and offered to buy wine, and I would refuse
to deal with them. I wanted to take care of just my
own customers. But they would importune me, and they
would offer me, say, 2-1/2 cents per gallon higher.
Well, then I would soften up a little and let them have
a car or two. But some other competitors, they would
come and try to buy some, but I was not willing.
"Look, I ll give you 2-1/2 cents higher."
Lanza: They were raising the market themselves, not me.
The wine started at *K> cents a gallon. I had paid
for it 28 cents a gallon. The last of the wines I
sold I think was about 85 cents a gallon. So that
year I made $251*000 net, which was more money than
I had ever seen in my life. [Laughter] And then I
became interested in following the wine business.
With regard to the law, about November 1st of the
same year that the Prohibition had gone into effect
the Supreme Court of the United States rendered a
decision in the case of the United States against
Peigenspan I still remember the name, Peigenspan
Brewing Company of Jersey City in which they held as
I had contended that the administrator in Washington
could not determine the percentage of alcohol that was
intoxicating. And therefore he could not specify
2-1/2$. Immediately Congress met and I think in a
matter of four or five days they passed the Volstead
Act, which specified that anything above 1/2$ was
intoxicating. By that time I had finished selling
all my wine. Ky competitors started to sell, but the
law was passed and they were stuck in the end. Well,
anyway, that was the first incentive that I had to go
into the business on a larger scale.
I came to California with my brother and we
bought the winery at Elk Grove that was owned by
[Edward L. ] daRoza, the daHoza winery at Elk Grove.
And we called it the Lanza Winery. My brother put his
name, the Lanza Winery. We started to plan a big
production, when suddenly my brother passed away. Mr.
[Sophus] Federspiel of the Federspiel Wine Company
came to the funeral. It was in Sacramento. And he
told me after the funeral, he said, "Who s going to
represent you now?" I said, "I don t know." "Well,"
he said, "I d like to represent you. You have the
choice. We could go either in a joint account, a
partnership, or a corporation or any way that you wish."
Well, I had dealt with Pederspiel and I liked the way
that he carried on. In the same manner he liked the
way I had dealt with him and he wanted to form a
partnership. So I said, "Mo, no partnership. But I
am agreeable to form a corporation, incorporate the
So we incorporated the Colonial Grape Products
Company, which was the same name of my little winery
in Fredonla. And Pedersplel, Mr. [William] Leichter,
the son-in-law of Glaus Schilling they took 50#; and
I and Judge Lambert, and my brother-in-law took the
other 50$. Mr. Schilling, the father-in-law of Mr.
Leichter, he would be at the office frequently and
sort of be an advisor or counselor. But he could not
be in the company because he had sold out his interests
some time before to the California Wine Association,
and he had agreed that he would not get into the wine
business, as one of the conditions of sale, either
directly or indirectly. But as he told me one time,
he says, "I didn t agree not to loan any money to
Willie being his son-in-law.
So we went on and we carried that on until 1935 > I
When did you tie in with Vic [Repetto]? In about 1932,
didn t you?
Yes. I ll tell you exactly. It was 1933* a ^d how I
remember is that we made the agreement with the
California Grape Products Corporation, February 29th.
It was a leap year. And four days later, in 33,
Roosevelt closed all the banks. You remember, when he
was elected one of the first things...
That would make it, Boss, let s see...
33, because the election was 28, 32, 36, *K>.
Let me ask this question of you. Can you draw on your
memory to this extent: Did Repeal come in the same
year in which Roosevelt closed the banks?
If it did, it was at the tail end, because...
It came on December the 5th, 1933* That s why I m
trying to tie the dates in, you see.
Lanza: Yes, that s right. 33 then.
*See also p
Baccl.: So it was the year before then that he closed the banks.
Lanza: He closed the banks four days after he took office. He
was elected November, 32.
Bacci.: That s right, okay. Just wanted to get the chronology
right, that s all.
Teiser: Was that the end then of the Colonial Grape Products
Lanza: Yes, that was the end.
Bacci.: That was the end so far as you were concerned.
Lanza: So far as I was concerned, because this was the
condition: during Prohibition the first two or three
years when nobody understood or knew the effect of
real Prohibition, we made a lot of money. After three
or four years it began to go the other way.
Teiser: What did you sell during Prohibition?
Lanza: We sold wines for sacramental purposes...
Bacci.: And to non-beverage houses.
Lanza: And non-beverage. And we had quite a trade.
Teiser: May I ask you a question? I came across in the Wine
Institute s library two little pamphlets. One was for
Caligrapo concentrate* and the other was Grap-0-Ney.**
Grap-0-Ney was for baking.
Bacci.: Grap-0-Ney, I believe, Boss, was something that old
man [Mario P.] Tribune had developed from a white
concentrate for sale to the baking trade where they
were going to use concentrate in place of Invert sugar.
Do you remember that?
Lanza: Yes, I remember that.
Teiser: Was Caligrapo yours?
*Caligrapo, The Pride of California, 1927-
**Bakinp: Better and Healthier Products With Grap-0-Mey,
Bacci.: It became that after. There is one little break in
this that had to do with the severance of his relation
ship with the Colonial Grape Products Company, his
selling his interests. And the acquisition shortly
after that of California Grape Products Company, Ltd.
Lanza: That s right.
Teiser: I see. I was trying to get back to Prohibition uses
Lanza: Yes. There was considerable business with manufacturing
concerns, like for instance I recall one of the best
customers we had was the Campbell Soup Company. They
used some sherry wines, you know, for seasoning in
their soups. Perfectly legitimate. We enjoyed quite a
nice business. There was another firm in Philadelphia,
the Bayuk Cigar Company, that used wines in the
seasoning or curing of their leaves, their tobacco
leaves. And we had considerable business with them.
But the greater part of business was the
sacramental. The sacramental was, if I remember
correctly, in the Jewish faith. They were using wines
in their services. So a man, say a rabbi, that wanted
to buy some wine, he would go to the Prohibition
Department and say, "I need 20 barrels of wine for my
congregation." And they would say to him, "All right.
What kind of wine do you want to buy?" "Well, port."
"From whom?" "Prom the Colonial Grape Products
Company." "Very well." They would send us an order,
the government would send us an order in quadruple in
which they would say, "You may deliver to Babbi so-and-
so 20 barrels of port." When we would receive this
communication from the government, we had to send it
back by registered mail and say, "We have received the
enclosed papers. Are they genuine? Were they issued
by you?" The government would return it to us again
and say yes. Then we would have to file one copy of
that order and the envelope in which it arrived, and
keep it for record. We would deliver the 20 barrels
and send one copy, one of the four, to the government,
sayCing], "Order fulfilled;" one copy to the rabbi,
"Order fulfilled;" and one copy to the transportation
company in case they were stopped [by authorities] on
the way to delivery, say[ing], "How come you ve got
this liquor, or wine?"
So when we would get the order we weren t required
to be concerned what became of the wine after it left
Lanza: our premises, and there was considerable business.
But later, eventually, it was going less and less.
As the enforcement of Prohibition was becoming more
experienced and so on, the business was going down, so
we were not making money.
Teiser: There was a family allowance, was there not, so that
people could make wine at home? Did you supply them?
Lanza: Yes, but that was, you could sell grapes and they, the
ordinary householder, he had to be a householder,
Bacci.: To make wine. But he couldn t buy wine.
Lanza: He could make up to 200 gallons.
Teiser: But he had to crush the grapes himself?
Lanza: Not necessarily crush them, but he had to make it, he
Teiser: Then could you supply him grape Juice?
Lanza: Exactly. You supply him grape Juice or concentrate,
which he could dilute, and start a fermentation that
would be on his premises and only for his own use,
that is, of his family.
Teiser: Did you have a large business in that?
Lanza: Well, the business that we had was the selling of
grapes and then every grape grower was a competitor.
Teiser: What kind of grapes were you growing then?
Lanza: All kinds of grapes. We had vineyards, all kinds of
wine grapes as I recall.
Teiser: Were you making sweet wines only or some dry wines?
Lanza: We were making all kinds of sweet wines. We were also
making brandy. There were only two permits for brandy.
One was held by the California Wine Association, and
one by the Colonial Grape Products Company. Those
were the only two.
Bacci.: Didn t that come toward the tail end of Prohibition?
Lanza : Exactly .
Bacci.: It was in anticipation of the law s changing.
IN AND OUT OF FRUIT INDUSTRIES
Lanza: Well, as I say, business, as Prohibition was coming
along, was getting lower and lower, and we were all
in bad straits. On comes a politician from Washington.
I don t recall...
Bacci.: Donald D. Conn.
Lanza: Yes, Donald D. Conn. And he got us in the industry to
believe that he was representing Hoover, who was then
President of the United States, and his mission was
that Hoover wanted all of these wineries that were
active to combine so as to have only one unit to
regulate and one unit to watch. And if we didn t get
together he was going to suppress us out of business
altogether. He would make statements of that sort and
use certain words, which we noticed more than once
that Hoover in making his speeches would use the exact
words that this fellow was using with us. So we
believed his message, do you see, and we combined.
And there were I think 11 firms, or rather nine firms
I think nine firms. There were nine wineries, the
leading wineries in the state, and we formed the Fruit
Indtistries. In the participation, however, two members,
two of the nine, had 51# control. And of the two, one
was a very strong figure, the other one was very weak.
Teiser: What were they?
Bacci.: One was Paul Garrett.
Lanza: Yes, we ll put it that way. [Laughter] One was Paul
Garrett, the other...
Bacci.: And the other was Secondo Guasti, Jr.
[Interruption while tape is turned]
We were at the formation of the Fruit Industries.
...speaking of Paul Garrett and Secondo Guasti, Jr.
The rest of us, I don t remember all of the names, but
seven of us formed the minority. The elder of the two
Lanza: was a strong-willed person and he controlled the younger
man s conduct. The result was that we formed into two
groups. The majority wanted to eat up the minority,
and the minority wanted to tear up [laughter] the
majority. Every time we had a meeting of the board of
directors, in which the nine companies were all
represented, there would be a row between the majority
and the minority. I happened to become the leader of
the minority, and whenever we would have meetings there
would be a row, because the others didn f t make any
bones about taking advantage of us, and we in the same
manner didn t use any gloves with them. That would
be some noisy meeting. One time we were holding a
meeting and some matter with regard to a loan from the
government came up on which we were all agreed in one
way or another. But Krs. Willebrandt, who was from
the Attorney General s office in Washington, came...
Bacci.: Mabel Walker Willebrandt.
Lanza: ...and questioned and wanted to hear from every member
of the group how they felt about it. This was the only
meeting where we were all in agreement, to get a loan
from the government of four million dollars. Each
person stood up at the meeting to express his opinion.
There was one member who always sat next to me; that
was Prank Giannlni of Tulare.* And Frank Giannini of
Tulare was about my size but a little stronger, a little
wider and a little stronger, and a little older than I
was, and we were quite friendly. He had a habit of
falling asleep while he was talking to you, if that is
possible. And yet while he was asleep, by golly, he
would wake up and he had heard everything, you know,
and take part in the conversation. It was phenomenal,
and everybody sort of talked about Frank s capacity
to be awake when he was asleep. But this time when
they were taking the opinion of each member, when it
came to me, I got up and expressed my opinion, my
consent. But once in a while I get excited and I talk
loud; that is, I m more emphatic on certain expressions
than others. When I got through someone said, "Now
we ll hear from Mr. Giannlni, 11 who was next to me and
*Frank Giannini, president of the Tulare Winery Company,
became a member of the board of directors of Fruit
Industries as a representative of the "Elba Land Company 11
at some date prior to the end of 1930-
Lanza: was asleep. Apparently the only thing that was ringing
in his ears when he was called was my voice. So he
got up, he says, "I agree with Mr. Lanza. You re all
a pack of thieves and scoundrels. I m going to have
you all put in jail." [Laughter] Everybody sat and
laughed because it was the only time when we were in
agreement, but Prank thought that another row was in
Well, anyway, in connection with that loan of the
government, they wanted the okay from every member.
Then those of the minority thought we had them; that
is, we had the majority in number. When they came to
me, I said, "I will not agree to it. I refuse."
"Well," they said, "that isn t cooperation."
And I said, "Where did you hear of the word
cooperation?" We got into an argument, and they said,
"Weil, what can we do?"
I said, "Well, then get rid of me."
"How can we get rid of you?"
I said, "You give me back my properties and I ll
give you back your certificate of stock."
They said, "But we ve had expenses. We ve incurred
"All right. How much is my share?"
They figured it out and said about $20,000. "All
right, I ll give you $20,000 and give me back my
property." It was agreed.* We were going to get the
*According to the minutes of the August 2?t 1931f meeting
of the board of directors of Fruit Industries, Ltd.,
"The Colonial Grape Products Company of California
requested the privilege of removing plants and equipment
and inventory from Fruit Industries." The request, it
was noted, was made by Mr. Lanza. A resolution was
passed authorizing the corporation s secretary and
general counsel "to negotiate with Mr. H. 0. Lanza to
effect a satisfactory agreement," and laying down certain
terms and conditions.
Lanza: loan, but there was delay, and there was delay, and
there was delay. Finally I served notice on all of
them. I said, n l f m going to Washington and I m goin&
to prefer charges against all of you for graft, every
thing in the code." And by Jove they mentioned a date
and we all went to Washington. You see, this agreement
to let me off on the payment of $20,000 was delayed,
delayed, delayed. That s why I lost my patience. So
we all went to Washington and we went before the Farm
Board. The chairman of the Farm Board was the rnan who
was president of the Harvester International...
Bacci.: Is that McCormick?
Lanza: That company, but the fellow s name was not HcCormick.
Anyway he was the chairman of the Farm Board. By the
way, by that time while I was in Washington I found
that the conditions were worse than what I had expected
about these fellows. Wasting a lot of money through
this politician that I told you came and organized us.
I said then, "If you will give me my property
right now, I ll pay you $4-0,000 instead of $20,000.
But I want it now. " So they told Mrs. Willebrandt,
and Mrs. Willebrandt stated to the chairman of the
Board that they wished an order be made as soon as
possible because Mr. Lanza, one of the members, insists
on having the disposition made. And this gentleman, the
chairman of the Board I can t think of his name, it s
at the tip of my tongue, it may come to me. He said,
"Well, Mr. Lanza should realize that these matters that
come before the Board take a little time. But you may
assure Mr. Lanza that there will be no unnecessary
delay." He didn t know that I was standing in front
After the meeting we went into the office of the
Attorney General of the United States, who was
attending this meeting he was later appointed Supreme
Court justice. I can t think of his name now. Anyway,
he was then the Attorney General, and when we went into
his office he said to me, "Well, Mr. Lanza, this is a
cooperative. Any privilege that we extend to you must
be extended to any other members that wish to avail
I said, "I have no objection to that. My concern
is only that I want to get out." So the thing went
through and I went out. And I continued business.
Lanza: Some time later, about a year later, then this fellow
Garrett, who was the leader of the majortiy, he
wanted to get out. But they didn t know how to get
out. So he sent to me one of his associates, Frank
Hope, who was a heck of a fine fellow, a likeable chap.
And I guess he knew that Hope could ask me for a favor
while he couldn t, see. And Prank Hope came to me
and he said, "Horace, do you mind coning with me to
see a lawyer in Washington and explain to him how you
I said, "Pine. I have no objection." So I go
with Frank Hope into the office of these attorneys for
Garrett, and in the course of the conversation I said,
"Look, when I got out we went into the office of the
Attorney General and this is what transpired. He said,
A privilege we extend to you must be extended to other
members. " He said, "Did he? What was the date?
Because all those things are matters of record. " And
he goes afterwards and finds that, and Garrett gets out
through what I had a year before. [Laughter]*
CALIFORNIA GRAPE PRODUCTS COMPANY**
Lanza: Well, at about this time one of the members of the
seven, who owned the California Grape Products Company,
came to me.
Teiser: Who was he?
Bacci.: Victor Repetto?
Lanza: No. Well, this fellow was at the head of the California
Grape Products Company. He said, "Buy me out. Buy me
out." I said, "What the hell would I buy you out with?"
He says, "You don t have to have any money." I said,
"What do you mean?" He said, "Let me show you that it s
Well, the more he was anxious to sell the more I
was inclined to leave well enough alone. Anyway he
showed me that it was a bargain. He was concerned
he owed $319,000 and he was concerned that if they
*See also p. ^1.
**Por the early history of the California Grape Products
Company, see the interview in this series with Antonio
Lanza: foreclosed on him they vrould take not only his property
but a deficiency judgement, which night affect some of
his properties in New York. He lived in New York,
although his property was here. The vineyards and the
plants were here. So he said, "Look. I will take
250,000, payable $50,000 every two years, over a
period of ten years, without interest."
The offer was very fair, I thought, rather low.
But I had had troubles of my own, which were sub
stantially this: I had been on the board of directors
of a bank in Buffalo. This bank through the crash of
1929, or shortly afterwards, went under and all of the
fellows on the board, we were all stuck. I was stuck
in this manner. I was a very close friend of the
president. He had been a young man in my days when I
was a young man. And he wanted me to take some stock
to buy the stock of the bank and hold up the price.
But when I said, "Look, I haven t got any cash"
I already owned some stock but I didn t have cash to
buy stock to hold up the price he said, "But the bank
will loan you the money." So he would loan me the
money to buy his own stock, and so did the other
members. So we all got stuck, and they came here to
San Francisco and sued me for a deficiency besides
taking what properties I had and stocks and what not,
that they had in their possession. They got a judgement
against me for $128,000, here in the federal court.
So I was in that sort of trouble when this
gentleman was trying to sell me his business. But he
said to me, "Now, look. I ll give you $5.000 cash if
you ll buy me out." He said, "With the 5000 that
I ll give you, you ve got enough money to pay your
expenses for one month your office help, your telephone
bill, blah blah. At the end of the month, if you think
you ve made a good deal, it s yours. If you think
you ve made a bad deal, you walk out. You spend my
money, not yours."
So, gee whiz, could I afford to turn down an
offer like that? The fellow simply had confidence in
me and thought I could make it a go. So I made the
deal, and I went to my partner, Federspiel. He knew
that I had been talking with this party before. I
said, "I made this agreement now. We can take it in
the name of the company, or we can take it in the name
of our own, as partners, or any tay that you please."
Lanza: "Well," he says, "I d like to think it over." I
said, "Certainly. Here s the contract." I gave him
the contract. The next day, and the next day, and the
next day, no answer. So I talked to him. I said, "Mr.
Federspiel, will you make up your mind? I f ve got to do
something here, either get in or stay out."
He said he wanted time. So we called Mr Leichter,
the son-in-law of Mr. Schilling, and we met, and I was
for taking it over in the company s name, but the other
two were not. They said, "Why do you want to get into
more business? Haven t we got a setup by which you
can develop all the business that you want?"
I said, "This is a bargain. This is a bargain and
I m not going to let it pass." "Well," they said, "vie
are not willing to go into it." I said, "Gentlemen,
have I put the cards on the table?" That was the very
expression, I recall.
They said, "Well, there s no question of cards on
the table. You ve always been very fair. But we
simply don t like to extend our business." "Well then,"
I said, "gentlemen, I m going to take it in my own
name." Federspiel said, "What will you do with your
interests here" in this company?" I owned a half interest
at that time. I said, "I ll do what you re doing, Mr.
Leichter. I ll be a silent partner."
Well, that was final, and I went ahead and bought
this all in my own name. Roosevelt then, as the law
changed, the Prohibition law changed, and the following
year overnight, the way I had lost in the crash of 29,
in the same manner overnight, booml I became rich
again. Because all the vineyards there were 1,600
acres of land, two plants, one at Ukiah, one at Delano,
and a warehouse in New York, you see. And that was the
start of the upgrade after that.
Teiser: What was the legislation that Roosevelt approved?
Lanza: The repeal of Prohibition. And wine went up. [Laughter]
Teiser: That s a good note to stop on for today.
(Interview with Horace 0. Lanza with Comments
by Harry Baccigaluppi. San Francisco,
February 5, 1969)
Teiser: When we stopped last time you were telling about your
good fortune right after Repeal, and I thought I
would ask you a question just at the beginning, before
you continue the narrative. Since you were one of the
people most experienced in the wine industry at that
time, you must have had quite definite thoughts about
the way the industry would go and should go in this
new period. What did you think at that time? What
did you feel should be done?
Lanza: I felt that there was a future in the industry. When
I started to become interested in the industry,
knowing that I was not well equipped in the start, I
did considerable reading. And particiilarly I recall
I started with a little treatise on wine making by
Husrnan.* He was one of the first men in the country,
and I think he was from Missouri, and he wrote a
pamphlet about grapes and wine making particularly with
regard to the labrusca type, which were the type of
grapes grown back East. And that, among other things,
explained that in those years when the grapes do not
mature properly and when the sugar is low, you may add
sugar to bring the fermentation to the desired result
you wanted to get, about the alcohol. Well, that
process was called "gallizing", which as I recall was
a Frenchman that devised the scheme: how to improve
the production of wine by adding sugar and the
corresponding amount of water and acid that you
wanted. That got me then interested in French authority.
I could read French, though I couldn t speak, but I
could read French as easily as I could read Italian
or English. And I read a great deal of the authorities,
both Italian and French, on wine making, and they in
turn would be discussing in their treatise German
authorities; that is to say, they would quote the
German authority so-and-so. So I felt that I got a
smattering of wine making from all parts of Europe.
American Grape Growing and Wine
Lanzas I believed that there was a future for the wine
business because the people of Europe that had
populated the Americas, South Africa, Australia,
wherever they went they carried the wine tradition.
And so I thought that wine in this country was going
to develop as it did in other parts of the world. I
went further: I believed that the grape is sort of
a wild bit of nature, of agriculture, that it is
found, as I got from the authorities, in the temperate
zone. You don t find it in the equator, where it s
too hot, nor in the arctic where it s too cold. But
you find it wild, in the wild state, and by the law
of selection yovi have developed the type of grapes
that make the best wines.
Well, if that is correct, I reasoned, then in
the United States one must be able to grow grapes in
any state, because of the wild varieties that have been
found along rivers and streams. Only you could not
grow the same type of grapes. That is to say, the
type of grapes that would thrive in Texas would not
thrive in Montana, or Utah. But there would be other
varieties. So I believed that there was a field that
promised, you see, development. So I had faith and I had
confidence that the business was going to grow, more
wine was going to be used, that the same kind of
people you would find in South Africa and Australia
and Canada would develop the business here. And that
was the thing that gave me sort of hope or confidence
that I could make something out of it.
Teiser: When we last spoke, you were just coming to the
period after Repeal.
Lanza: That s right. At that time when I acquired the
California Grape Products I had one plant at Delano,
a winery at Delano, and one at Ukiah. Shortly after
my taking over the California Grape Products, it came
to pass that I was not satisfied in keeping my interest
in the old Colonial Grape Products Company. So after
some negotiation we effected a liquidation, by which. . .
Teiser: That s the Pederspiel interests?
Lanza: Yes... by which I acquired a plant and vineyard at
Windsor, vineyards and a winery at St. Helena, and a
plant at Napa, a plant at Elk Grove; and I operated
those rather successfully. But the wine business,
when Repeal came, made an upsurge immediately and then
Lanza: It slackened. We weren t making so ouch money for the
investment. Things were rather tough in the late
thirties. Then the war broke out in *4l, and things
iv T ent way up. I think It was during that war that
grapes could not be used for the manufacture of
Bacci.: It was those varieties that were suitable for food,
which meant principally the Thompson and the Muscat,
which represented a large portion of the grapes.
Lanza: That s it exactly. But immediately after we went into
war in 4-1, prices went up and again I was in flush
[laughter] conditions with plenty of money.
ITALIAN VINEYARD COMPANY
Lanza: About 42 or 43 I acquired another winery.
Bacci.: That was 1943.
Lanza: In 1943 the Italian Vineyard Company of Guasti,
California. And that comprised a plant there at
Guasti, near Ontario, and 5000 acres of vineyard.
Teiser: What had been the history of that organization?
Lanza: Well, that was very interesting in its start. One
evening I was entertaining a friend of mine who was
vice-president of the Garrett & Company, Cucamonga.
We were having lunch at the Fior d Italia rather a
dinner an evening at the Pi or d Italia.
Bacci.: In San Francisco.
Lanza: While we were eating, Nick [Nicola] Giulii, the
president of the Italian Vineyard Company was there
in the dining room. He saw us, and he came over to
greet us, shake hands with us. And we stood up, and
then he walked away. This vice-president of Garrett &
Company, Roy Weller, said to me, "You know that they
are for sale," meaning the Italian Vineyard Company.
I said, "The hell you say!" He said, "Yes, they are."
I said, "By God let s buy them!" I said it in a sense
of being facetious, you know, Joking... But we went
on with our dinner and forgot all about it.
anza: About two or three months later I received a
letter from him, from Weller, where he enclosed a lot
of statements. He said, "I don t know whether you
were joking the night we were at the Fior d Italia
and I told you the Italian Vineyard Company was for sale
But whether you were joking or not, here are the
papers, if you are interested. My company has been
considering the purchase of it, but they have finally
decided against it, because of their contract with the
Canada Dry Company, who were distributing their wines."
I read all of the papers, the statement of this
company, and I could hardly believe that the thing was
for sale or that anybody couldn t buy it, because I
could see from the statement that I could buy them
with their own money. So when I got through reading
all these papers it was In the morning on a Friday
morning I called Weller on the telephone. He i-ias in
Los Angeles. And I asked him a lot of questions. I
got through with him, then I called another fellow that
knew the Italian Vineyard Company s affairs, asked him
a lot of questions. I got through with him and I called
Weller again, asked him some more questions. "Well,"
he said, "if you re interested, why in hell don t you
come do\i here? They re going to hold a meeting
tomorrow at 10 o*clock to consider the disposition of
it at any price."
So I agreed. I asked him to call the second man
I had called and meet me at the station the next
morning, on Saturday morning. In those days it was
difficult to get accommodation on the train. But by
luck and anxiety, some fellow was taken off the train.
That is, the ticket was removed because a "government
official" needed that space. [Laughter] I mention
that, how things just happen that ordinarily wouldn t
come to pass, as if just fate wanted it that way. The
next morning these two gentlemen met me. We went to
the meeting, which was held in Los Angeles but I ve
forgotten the name of this building. We went to this
meeting. It opened at 10 o clock, and by 10:30 I had
made an offer to buy them. And they accepted it. And
I signed an agreement, just a temporary agreement, and
deposited $50,000 for the purchase of the whole
organization. And I didn t know at the time whether
I had $50,000 in the bank or not. I thought I did,
but I wasn t so sure. And I didn t mean to kite, but
I mean I was so unprepared that I didn t know, and of
course I felt that if I didn t have exactly $50,000
Lanza: I d telephone one of my boys and say go to the bank,
see Mr. So-and-so and make that account good, and I
thought I could obtain what I needed. So I bought it,
I think for...
Bacci.: 3,4-00 shares at 600 a share. That would be $2, 0^0, 000.
Lanza: But altogether there were certain stockholders who
wouldn t sell. They didn t want to sell. It would
have amounted to about $2,250,000, as I recall. This
is in round numbers. I took it over. Now, the reason
why the property was not valued on the street was
because the management had made a contract with the
Canada Dry Company before the war, before prices went
up, where they tied themselves for 15 years at the
price that was prevailing at that time, let us say
13 a case.
Teiser: Was this the wine that was sold under the IVC label?
Lanza: That s right, under the IVC label by the Canada Dry.
And the vineyard company, as they wanted to sell it,
I learned afterwards that they had offered it to five
or six liquor interests like Schenley. They had
offered it to Seagram, they had offered it to the
Italian Swiss Colony, Di Giorgio, and a number of
firms; and they had all turned it down, because of
this contract of exclusive distribution. I reasoned
that the Canada Dry were a gilt-edged concern, what we
used to call a blue chip, and if I showed them where
they could make $2 when they were making only $1, that
they would be willing to go along with me and divide
that extra dollar. I mean, figuratively speaking,
that if I could show them where they could make more
money than they were making that they would be willing
to divide that profit with me.
Also when I read the contract I could see that
the contract was a tight, absolutely tight contract
written by two sets of lawyers who knew the legal
niceties of a contract but had no sense of the business
at all. The contract was air-tight, but I know that
in any business, from experience, unless there is
cooperation between the production department and the
selling department they are headed for the rocks. That
was not part of the contract. Do you see what I mean?
That consideration was over and beyond the contract.
So I immediately invited the Canada Dry to meet with
me where I d have a plan to show them. And through
Harry [Baccigaluppi], who was then in New York they
Lanza: were located in Philadelphia...
Bacci.: No, they were in New York.
Lanza: ...they made an appointment to send one of their men
to confer with me. An appointment was made to be held
in the offices of the Italian Vineyard Company in
Los Angeles. So I went down there on that day. And I
waited for the appointment at 10 o clock. Eleven
o clock. About 11:30 I asked our man, I said, "Phone
this hotel and see if probably the gentlemen have
started, been in an accident, a taxi or what not, and
let s find out." He called and got this vice-president
and he said, "If Lanza wants to see me he knows the
way to this hotel. It s up to him." When my man
repeated that conversation to me, I took the receiver
away from him and slammed it down. I said, "He ll
live to regret it." Maybe I went a little bit rougher
in my language than that. And sure enough I paid no
And then I wanted to start the war. I didn t want
to wait until the war was started. I wanted to start
the war. Just about then on comes the government.
They had gone over the records of the laboratory of
the Italian Vineyard Company and they had found that
the chemist, in starting a culture for wine making,
had used a pint of apple juice, for the purpose of
getting better fermentation through the malic acid in
the apple. That is to say, his theory was that the
malic acid will excite the little ferments to better
activity and get a better culture from start. Well,
this pint was put into a quart of the liquid, of the
grape Juice. The quart was put into five gallons; the
five gallons into 50; the 50 into 500; finally used
in the winery as the yeast of fermentation.
So the government s point when they came to me was,
this is in violation, because you have used a fruit
other than grape in the process of wine making. Quick
as lightning it came to me: here s some dynamite I
can use. I said, "You re right." I said, "All this
happened before I came here, so I m sorry. What can
we do?" "Well," he says, "it s a violation, flake an
offer and compromise." I said, "All right, what do
you want the penalty to be?" He said, "We want you to
pay 5,000." "Okay." So I immediately paid the
$5*000. This culture and this had gone right through
the winery, do you see? So I took their (Canada Dry s)
leading brand that they were selling the most of, and
I stopped it. I stopped it and they said, "How come?"
And I explained to then that the government had found
that there had been contamination and stopped the sale
because it was not a pure wine. They couidn f t afford
to give them a wine that was condemned, do you see?
So I stopped the leading brand.
What brand was that?
That was the Cucamonga brand.
Whatever it was, I don t remember the details. So
they then wrote and to stop me they ordered, they
wanted all the wine that I had by orders so there
would be an immediate sale. And I wrote back, "Sorry,
I can t let you have all the wine. This company has
developed over the years two types of distribution of
business. One is the bottled goods and one is the
bulk. And one year the bottled goods is in greater
demand, another year it s the bulk. We can t afford
to shut off one or the other. Your contract provides
only for the bottled goods, not for the bulk. So we
can t accept."
So they sent back an order for over a million
cases. I wrote back, "Sorry, can t accept it. Our
equipment is capable of producing only 25,000 cases a
month, and in the period of 12 months the most that we
can accept is 300,000 cases." I didn t say that I
could put three shifts; I didn t say that I could put
more equipment. You see what I mean? Where there is
no cooperation between the production and the sales
department any business is headed for the dumps.
Whoever wrote that contract of 15 years didn t know
that, you see. All they knew was the legal require
ments. So it went on. It went on for about a year.
And nobody coming to see me at the end of a year.
We raised the prices.
I told him that I would raise the prices,
but we were...
We gave notice that we would.
We didn t,
Yes, that we would. So on comes a vice-president of
the Canada Dry, a fellow by the name of Mr. [Bill]
Williams, a young attorney about 45 years of age, and
he was a fine chap, a fine gentleman to talk with and.
OPA wine advisory committee members photographed May
12, 1944, at close of 4 day meeting in Washington,
D.C. Standing, left to right: G. Taylor, consultant;
W. Taylor; J. Vai; H. Wente; B.V. Granfield; L.K.
Marshall; J. Bardenheier, Jr.; W.B. Bridgman; E.W.
Wootton. Seated, left to right: C.Gelman; R. Bingham,
OPA; W.D. Sanderson, OPA; A.G. Fredricks, OPA; H.O.
Lanza; F. Butte. Photograph courtesy of Harry
Lanza: a good businessman too. So he came to see me. Ke had
been a lawyer for the Securities Exchange Commission
before going with them, so you see he was quite a
capable fellow. He came to see me. He was very nice
and I felt that I could see a gentleman the minute
he started to talk and I tried to be just as gentle
manly myself. But while we were talking we were having
a few drinks. There was...vjas it in the house or in
the office building?
Bacci.: That was in the office. You hadn f t taken him over to
the entertainment center yet.
Lanza: There was a nice room there, well furnished and very
Teiser: This is at the winery?
Lanza: At the winery. So he started to talk about this raise
of price. They weren t going to raise the price. By
that time my tongue was rather loose. I said, "Williams.
I m telling you that on the first of April if you don t
agree to pay $1 per case higher than you re paying now,
I m going to stop shipments altogether. And I know
goldarned well you re not going to take it lying down.
Still knowing that, I m telling you that if you don t
agree to pay $1 more on the first of April you re not
going to get any shipments."
"Well, what the hell is the matter with you,
Lanza? That isn t cooperation."
"Where did you hear of the word cooperation ?"
Then I went through the whole rigamarole. "Well," he
said, "is it that damned contract you re worried about?"
He says, "Write your own contract." I said, "I don t
know as I want a different contract. But I ll think
about it." And we left it that way. The next day I
went to this friend of mine of the Garrett Company who
was having dinner with me at the Pior d Italia, who had
sent me all the papers. I said, "How would like to buy
the Italian Vineyard Company?"
He said, "Oh, no, not as long as there is that
contract." "Well," I said, "would you buy if you had
a contract of your own liking?" "Oh, well, we might."
I said, "All right." Then I went on and told him
this conversation with Mr. Williams. I said, "You go
Lanza: down there and say that you represent me. You tell
them the kind of a contract you want and say that s
the kind of contract I will accept if they re going to
change it. Would that be a deal?"
"Oh," he says, "it ll be a delightful..." I said,
"Wait a minute now, wait a minute." I said, "You
should know first about the price." He said, "All
right, what s the price?" I said, "$1,500 a share."
I had paid $600. He said, "Agreeable, providing we
get what we want."
They went to the Canada Dry. They got the
contract and they bought from me at $1,500, which made
it about $^,750,000, made $2.5 million for myself and
my associates. That was the story of the... but,
Garret t & Company made money on it. Not only did they
make money in the business, but the value of that
vineyard, you know, with the buildings and what not,
I understand that they made $12,000,000 to $15,000,000
themselves afterwards. But that was conditions, you
Bacci.: That was sometime later, of course.
Teiser: They were producing wine under the Virginia Dare
Lanza: That s right. And finally they sold out, they got out
of it. But that was the story of the... [laughter]
And at that time when I had that Italian Vineyard.
Company and the other plants and vineyards that I got
from California Grape Products and from the Colonial
Grape Products Company, I figured that I had seven
plants, 8,000 acres of vineyards, and I ve forgotten
what else. I think it was about the time that I had
sold no, I really sold after Birdie passed away. I
had a daughter that was the pupil of my eye in the
sense that she had been the baby.
Bacci.: When you say sold, you mean when you had not sold the
Italian Vineyard Company. I think that came later.
DISPOSING OP PROPERTIES
Lanza: Then, as I say, this daughter that had been the pupil
of my eye, she passed away. And my nature changed
immediately. I thought, what the heck is life? Why
are we brought here? Why are we ticking away? Why
are we striving and fighting? I lost heart, and I
began to sell. As I sold the Italian vineyards, I
sold all of my other properties except one unit at
Delano. And the reason for retaining this unit at
Delano was that the war was over or about over, as I
recall. There was shortage. And I thought to myself,
if I sell the last unit these fellows who have helped
me to make money in the past, these fellows who were
really responsible for my success, where will they be?
They ll be out on the street. And I thought, no, I m
going to keep this last unit and I*m going to give it
About that time [Joseph] Di Giorgio and I were
not friendly. We had been very close friends in our
younger days, but through some misunderstanding late
in life we were far from being friendly at all. He
wanted to buy this last unit, and he asked a former
associate of mine, Victor Repetto, to try and get me
to sell to him this last unit. And he would pay
$500,000 over and above the book value. Now he didn t
know what the book value was, but he did know that of
course whatever the book value was because of the
existing conditions, that he would pay 500,000. But
I decided no. I had made plenty of money on my other
So I called six or seven customers of mine to
whom I felt indebted through the business I had
enjoyed with them, and that included Bardenheier of
St. Louis, Heublein of Hartford, D.W. Putnam of
Hammondsport , Pleasant Valley Wine Company of
Hammonds por t , Engels and Krudwig of Sandusky, Ohio,
Lombardo Wine Company of Chicago, and A.VF. Russo of
Predonia. And I called them together and explained
to them my offer. They could have the property at
book value. The inventories, particularly, for
instance, in the book value was something like 4-0 cents
a gallon, but because of the government fixing prices
under the O.P.A. it was $1.40. And I said to the boys
that they could have it at book value, so they got it
at iK) when it was valued at 1^0. But, as I say, that
year when I sold all these properties I sold at the
Lanza: peak of the market [laughter] but I didn t knpw I
was selling at the peak of the market. I was selling
because I wanted to retire. I was disgusted with
everything. But it happened and I sold at the peak.
Some time afterwards everything went down lower, and
of course they came back later.
When these fellows got together one of them said,
"Well, look Boss." (They used to call me "Boss" as a
sort of a nickname.) "You say that we re all darned
nice fellows, and we believe it because you say so.
But we don t know each other. Now if you stay, keep
a little interest, if you stay in and keep us together,
we re ready to go. But unless you get in, we don t
know whether we want to go in." And I thought it
sounded all right. So I said, "All right, I ll keep
20 per cent of mine. You boys can have the 80 per cent."
And that was a mistake as it developed. You can t
watch a car when you re driving on the highway 30 per
cent of the time and go to sleep on the other 20 per
cent. You ll run off the road, get into trouble.
That was a mistake, because conditions, as I say,
started to go down. I had to take back some of these
fellows that came in. And that s how I got into the
business again and had to keep this plant going. I
had vineyards and I planted more vineyards.
Teiser: This was in the later forties?
Lanza: Oh, yes. That was about 46 or 4?.
Bacci.: The organization of this new group caiae about in 46.
Lanza: 46 or 4?. And also when we formed this new company,
because of the value of the vineyards that would have
increased the purchase price so high, the fellows
said, "We can t afford to take the vineyards. We ll
just take the plant and the inventories." So I
retained the vineyards. Later, around 50, I submitted
to the fellows, I said, "Look, I don t want to have
the responsibility of the vineyards. You either take
them or I m going to dispose of them to other people.
If you take them, I ll take stock." Well, they met
and they talked among themselves and they came to the
conclusion they couldn t afford either one or the other.
So I went and tried to sell them, or rather offered it
to my employees. I had 2,300 acres of vineyards
around the plant at Delano. They boys met and they
Lanza.: agreed, all those that were working for me, they
agreed this fellow is going to take this piece, this
fellow the other. While we re negotiating, on comes
Mr. [W.B.] Camp of Bakersfield and one of his
associates, Jeppi. And they offered to buy
some of the vineyards. Well, we finally agreed to
let them have they bought 1,600 acres. The other
700 acres were divided among some of my employees.
They were to have, and they did get, the vineyards
without one cent down. All that I requested of them
was, I wanted to know if they could afford to bring
the crop in with their own labor and money and without
Bacci. : These are the employees you re talking about.
Lanza: The employees. But they all made good and some still
own their land. I remember one of the boys who was
sort of a vineyard superintendent, and a friend of his
who was assistant superintendent; they took 2^0 acres
at $*K)0 an acre, and they still own it. And they own
other vineyards that they got from profits made out
of that 2bO acres. But that 2*1-0 acres is probably
worth $300,000 now, at least $1,500 an acre. And I
was very glad.
But it just went to show that I wanted to get
oxit. I just wanted to get out, retire. When I sold
those vineyards and then this winery had no vineyards
it began to see trouble. They needed more capital and
they needed to pay the going price, not the cost of
production. So I, having taken over the interests of
some of the original fellows who backed out, I again
began to buy land and plant vineyards. I planted 1,200
acres and got again into the business, although I ve
been inactive I ve been interested financially but
Teiser: This was in the fifties that you then planted more
acreage again, is that right?
Lanza: Yes. After selling not only that, but after I sold to
Mr. Camp and Jeppi, there was one year where we bought
the crop and we almost, almost paid them for that crop
what they paid for the purchase price of the 1,600
acres [laughter]. It just shows the ups and downs
of the food business.
GRAPE VARIETIES AMD REGIONS
Telser: I have read that throughout all this period, perhaps
from the thirties right through the fifties, you
were planting unusual grape varieties, varieties that
you had brought from Italy. Is that correct?
Bacci.: You must have seen my [memorandum] pad. [Laughter]
Lanza: Yes. To start with in the past the growing of grapes
throughout the state followed the customs and beliefs
of the various people that grew grapes. That is to
say, the fellows of Spanish extraction favored the
Spanish type of grapes to make the Spanish wine. The
Germans, the German type of grapes to make their white
wine. The Italians, the Italian type of grapes that
made the chianti, you know, like Asti. And so on with,
you know, with the various nationalities. The
Armenians, their type of grapes, like the raisins and
so on. All right.
Bacci.: Thompsons, and Muscats.
Lanza: Now grapes in those days when we had no refrigeration
cars to ship back East (you couldn t ship grapes here
and expect to get grapes back East), they were more
or less a local commodity. You couldn t ship them
anywhere, so that the fellows were growing grapes and
building little wineries as they did in the old
country. The man that had, say, 50 or 100 acres of
grapes, he didn t expect to sell it out in the market,
so he built a little winery, and his little winery
was probably only 10,000 gallons capacity, just enough
for his crop. And so on, all along the state. And
the result of that, in the process of evolution, as
it was, in the South they began to make the port type,
the sherry type of wine. The Italian Vineyard the
usual table wines. (And by the way before we get
through I want to tell you the start of the Italian
Vineyard because it would be interesting.) The Germans,
say, in Napa County, would have white wines; the
Italians at Asti would have red wines, with all little
The wine business finally developed some leaders
in distribution beyond the confines of California.
Lanza: Like Mr. [Claris] Schilling, like Mr. [P.O.] Rossi of
the Italian Swiss vineyards, and like [SecondoJ Guasti
of the Italian Vineyard. And these fellows, besides
sending to market wines of their own production, they
would go around and buy these snail lots of wines,
10,000 or 15,000, 20,000 [gallons], and bring them to
a central point where they do blending and sell from
there. Like Kr. Schilling, for instance, he had a
vineyard and a winery at Evergreen. That s on the
hillsides of San Jose, as I recall.
But he opened a plant here in San Francisco and
he would go around in the various sections of wine
production and buy every year whatever he needed.
And I recall his telling me that he always viaited till
the market was opened by his competitors, like Kr.
Hossi, [Charles] Bundschu, Lachman & Jacobi and so on,
and then he would go out and offer two cents higher.
But he never bought all the wines that the producer
had on hand. He simply tasted and took the cream.
Do you see why he was paying two cents higher? He said
to me, "I would pay two cents higher, but when I would
sell my wine I d get 10 cents higher than my competitor."
And because he would pay that two cents higher, they
always waited for him to come around before they would
sell. That s why he had the opportunity of letting
his competitors go and establish the market, that is
offer, say, eight cents a gallon, but he would pay 10
cents, only take the cream, and then his competitors
would buy the balance at eight cents. That was his
Well, as I say, the development of wine making
followed the customs and the habits and the likes and
dislikes of the people that made them, of the grape
growers. Now, at that time we didn t have the idea
that the only place you could grow and make good wine
would be, say, the Napa Valley or the northern coast.
That is a matter that was developed by the following
generation of wine people because good wine men did
not live in the hot Fresno [area], do you see? They
lived in the cool city near the coast, and there is
where they would develop their vineyards and their
plants. The notion, though, in the last 30 or *K) years
has been that you could grow grapes only, and make good
wine, only in the coast counties. But that is a theory
that I never adhered to. I didn t believe that. This
condition of the section was further aggravated by
the professors of the Department of Agriculture at
Lanza: Davis, all of whom were novices, in the wine business,
because they were young men that came into the wine
business really after the repeal of the Volstead Act.
During the Prohibition period there was no
incentive for young men to go into that business. But
after Repeal there was an influx of young men going
to Davis, and they began to teach and to announce their
opinions, based on what they learned from books or
observations; if they went to Europe where did they go?
To Prance, to Germany, to some parts of Italy or to
Spain, and learn some of the wine ideas from them. And
they came here and they began to speak of methods of
wine making and types of wine making that were being
made in France, and in Germany and in what not. And
they spread this belief that the only place to grow
grapes was in Napa Valley, and to make the best wines
was Hapa Valley and near the coast. That I did not
sort of agree [with] in my own reasoning, because I
had learned from study, as reading and my own observa
tion, what goes to make a successful vineyard and the
First is the climate condition. You can t grow
grapes in the North Pole. You can t grow grapes in
the Amazon. Second is the variety of grapes. You
can t make, say, a nice Riesling from Concord grapes.
You ve got to have the type. Third, it is the soil,
and fourth, it is the cultural attention. Well, with
regard to the soil, I ll explain it this way. I don t
know if I ve stated this already. One time a number
of us farmers were in Sacramento. They were holding
a meeting where the Department of Agriculture wanted
some appropriations made by the state to increase the
facilities, say, at Davis. So on the day of the
convention the head of the department made a welcome
speech, and he made a statement that pleased me
immensely. I had never heard it before, but I agreed
100 per cent, and it was this. He said, "In this state
we have lands that are below the level of the sea. We
have lands that are two miles above the level of the
sea. We ve got lands where it never rains. We have
lands where it s always raining. We have lands where
they never see the sun. We have lands where they
always have the sun. We have lands where it never
snows. We have lands that are always covered with
snow. And we have lands in between those extremes."
He was talking about the problems of the state
when he was making that statement, but to me it meant
Lanza: something else, do you see. We have all kinds of
lands so that we have lands of the type they have in
France, we have lands of the type they have in Germany,
we have climate conditions, you see what I mean? And
from that I was of the conviction that you could grow
anything, anywhere, but only what s appropriate with
that soil, that climate. And so far as the cultural
practices, give our young men two years* study and
they ll be just as good as the best German or the best
Italian or best French grower, you know, the farmer,
that they have. And also that our mean climate is !
better than that of France or Germany.
One time I had in mind that I wanted to buy some
land near the coast, and I thought that is probably
as favorable as the land of France or Italy that is
surrounded by water, you know. And I heard of
Paderewski s vineyard near Paso Robles where he had
planted 6*K) acres. Frost came one spring, killed his
vineyard and he abandoned it. And I thought, well,
that s a good district to have a vineyard. And I went
to the University and I talked to one of the gentlemen
that was at the head at that time. Ke said, "You re
wrong about that district. That s no place to grow
grapes." And he tells me about the frost killing.
Here s the man at the head of the department. He
knows more about vineyards than I do. He s lived here
longer than I have, and I sort of believed it. That
gentleman today is at the head of a vineyard of about
^,000 acres not far from Paso Robles. Do you get it?
So that, as I say, I was of the opinion that we
could grow anything, anywhere. Hence when I started
planting, I began to plant there in Delano, which is
regarded as one of the hot districts of the state,
San Joaquin [Valley]. And I planted Semillon and
Chenin blanc and Ugni blanc and so forth all types
of what I regarded as high-class grapes. And have done
it successfully since. Since then there have been a
lot of other fellows that gradually have come to the
Lanza: Exactly. And others. You d be surprised how many
others are after quality. . .
Teiser: They used to say that high quality grapes couldn t be
grown in the Central Valley because they had to be
Teiser: irrigated, while they didn t have to be in the coastal
Lanza: Well, irrigation, I tell you, is a necessity in any
part of the state.
Bacci.: But it s not practiced everywhere.
Lanza: Absolutely, because when nature doesn t supply what
you need yov ve got to supplement it. That is
absolutely a necessity.
Teiser: Did you bring varieties with you to Delano?
Lanza: I brought three varieties. First I selected some of
the best varieties that we had at St. Helena and Ukiah,
where you see I had had vineyards and I also knew many
of the growers that I could procure stuff from. And
in addition to that I brought three varieties that I
used to hear my father and my brother speak about,
when I was a little fellow there at home, as being of
excellent quality. And I brought those. And I brought
several thousand of each variety, and to my surprise
now, I created a condition that made the Department of
Agriculture change their methods of importing cuttings.
By that I mean when I brought in, oh, 40 to 50,000
cuttings, it seems to me, I had no problem. But
shortly after that the Department of Agriculture would
not permit any to come without their first inspecting
them at the border, you know, and it s troublesome now
to get any.
Teiser: What were the three varieties you brought?
Lanza: One was Catarratto, and that s a white wine of the
type of, like Semlllon or the German Riesling. One
was Inzolia. It used to make good Marsala wine;
that s a type of sweet sherry. And Trebbiano, now
known as Ugni blanc.
Teiser: That s a white?
Lanza : Yes
Teiser: Well, I will not keep you talking longer today.
Bacci.: I Just want to make a memo of this. He wanted to tell
you about the start of the Italian Vineyard Company.
Lanza: Oh, yes.
Bacci.: And in connection with that I think he ought to get
in there somehow one little anecdote that should
explain the great satisfaction he later had in
acquiring the Italian Vineyard Company that came from
his first visit to the Italian Vineyard Company when
he was so royally treated. [Laughter] Remember?
Lanza: Yes. [Laughter] You want that today, now?
Teiser: I ll ask you to start with it next time.
Lanza: Okay, fine. And some of the philosophy of Mr.
Schilling would be of interest.
Teiser: Yes, very much.
(Interview with Horace 0. Lanza, Piedmont,
California, February 11, 1969)
I.V.C. AND SEGONDO GUASTI
When we were talking last time, you said that you
would start with what your buying the Italian
Vineyard Company had to do with an earlier experience
you had with the Italian Vineyard Company.
Oh, Harry called my attention to that. [Laughter]
Well, that was the first time that I came to California,
and that means about 1916, in November. My brother
lived in Los Angeles, so I thought while I was here I
would see some of the wine people and see if I could
buy some of the wines to make it worthwhile. He
suggested that we go and see the Italian Vineyard,
was only about *K) miles or less from Los Angeles.
So we went to Guasti was the name of the place,
the station. It is practically where Cucamonga is
located now. When I got there I asked to see some
wines, if they had any for sale. They showed me some.
The gentleman who was in charge of the selling end of
it, as I supposed, he was secretary of the company,
of the Italian Vineyard Company.* And I recognized him
at once because two or three years before he had been
in Buffalo and was a guest of the Italian consul there.
I used to be attorney for the Italian consulate, so he
invited me to lunch and I met this secretary of the
vineyard company. I reminded him of it; yes, he
remembered now, he recalled. I mention this to show
the effect the following experience had on me.
When I got through tasting some of the wine it
was close to 12 o clock, so I asked him to give me a
quotation on a substantial quantity and asked leave to
go, to leave. He said, "No! Wait. Stay here and
have lunch, and I will talk to Mr. Guasti," who was
then living and he was there.
Teiser: Was that Secondo Guasti senior or Junior?
* James A. Barlotti. See p. 39-
Lanza: Senior. And he said, "We will have the price so
you ll know before you leave." Well, that was agreeable.
I wasn t concerned about staying for lunch at all;
that meant nothing to me. But if I could get the
information that I wanted, you see, then there, I
agreed to stay.
Then he took me to a building that was a sort of
a well, it looked like I should describe it as a
barn. And that was the dining room for all of their
hired help. And I was left there and asked to sit
down. There was a long table for the help there.
Right across from me there was a colored laborer.
Right next to me there was an Indian. And I don t
remember who else. And I sort of felt, you know, a
little bit piqued here. This fellow knew that I was
not an ordinary saloon keeper back East because he had
had lunch with me in the Italian consulate. He asked
me to stay for lunch. I didn t want to stay there for
lunch. My brother was ready to take me and return to
Los Angeles. And then being left like that while they
went to have lunch elsewhere, you know, I presume in
the ranch house I felt a little bit, you know, piqued
about it. They gave me their quotation and I left.
Next day or two days later, I came to San
Francisco and I went to see the California Wine
Association. Mr. Morrow was then manager of the
California Wine Association. And Federspiel was then
his assistant. Federspiel had been manager earlier
of the Italian Swiss Colony, btit he mas Mr. Morrow s
assistant. I asked to see wines. They had some samples
brought up there. When the samples arrived, Mr.
Federspiel said, "Well, it s lunch time. Let s go and
have lunch. By the time we get through with lunch
there ll be more samples here." And he took me to a
nice restaurant and he was very courteous. And that
made an impression with me. Here s a man that didn t
know me at all. And yet he was a good enough businessman
to be courteous and take me out to lunch. There the
other fellow knew [laughter] that I wasn t an ordinary
saloon keeper or what not. It made an impression upon
Twenty-five years later, it must have been about
25 years later, or maybe it was 26 years later, I owned
the Italian Vineyard Company. [Laughter] And this
fellow had sold his interest and he expected to be
treated, you know, much better than anybody else. But
Lanza: he was not treated any better than anybody else.
And that was the irony of it what Harry meant,
yo\\ see. The impression he made upon me as a poor
businessman in the beginning. And I remember the old
gentleman Guasti, and he was not so old he was very
neatly dressed so he didn t look like a man that paid
much attention to farming, but wore gloves. He wore
gloves. Well, he himself the story that was told to
me by some of the fellows that knew him, was this.
He was a cook in a restaurant in Mexico City, in
some city there in Mexico. When they had one of their
usual revolutions, he was afraid for his own life and
he left Mexico and went to Los Angeles. There in Los
Angeles he started as a cook in the rear of a saloon,
where they had the saloon in front and a sort of a
restaurant in the back part. Then he married a
daughter of the saloon keeper, and then it occurred to
him, why not make some wine that he could use in regard
to his restaurant? And he started to make a little
wine for use in that back part of the saloon. And he
started to become interested in the wine business. In
1891 he and a few other Italians started the Italian
Vineyard Company, and they incorporated with a capital
of $50,000. And they set out to buy some land and
plant vineyards. And this fellow that I said was
Teiser: What was his name?
Lanza: James I can t think of his last name just now, but
his first name was James.
Lanza: Yes, The question was where they should plant their
vineyards, and they finally located two spots. One is
where is now the swell part of Los Angeles near Santa
Monica, just this side of Santa Monica. What s the
name of that section where a lot of the actors and
actresses have homes? Bel Air! Where Bel Air is now.
And they finally decided on 5>000 acres there at
Ontario, because at Bel Air there would be a fog some
of the time and they felt that the fog was bad for
the vineyards. But the price was very, very attractive.
You can imagine; their whole capital was $50,000, so
if they could have bought the 5,000 acres there and
Lanza: build, they could have bought it I imagine very cheap.
But they bought the 5000 acres at $5 an acre there
at Ontario, and they decided on that because, as I
say, there was no fear of fog there.
Well, they went on and they became quite
successful. In those days the wine business wasn t
as well established or understood here. It was just
a local affair. They had started the Italian Swiss
Colony up north, you see, so they started the Italian
Vineyard Company down south. And they started to make
wine. The son of Secondo Guasti, the Junior, whom I
came to know very well later in his life, told me this
about his father: that he would hire a man (they
knew how to make the table wines but they didn t know
how to make sweet wines ) , he would hire a man to learn
how this man was making port or sherry; then they d
get rid of him and go on and learn the wine business
in that fashion.
In the 90 f s the best market in the country was
Hew Orleans, not New York; New Orleans because there
were the type of people there that used table wine.
New York wasn t known so well for the wine business in
those days, because most of the immigrants, you know,
would sort of drink the wines from their part of the
country, which they imported very cheap. So that s
how the Italian Vineyard began to grow and make money.
Then when Prohibition came on they made considerable
money. And Guasti lived very well. He became very
wealthy because he had bought a lot of land, a lot of
I was invited at their house one time long before
I bought their vineyard; but in the course of the
business we had met here with regard to industry
matters. And we were forming at that time a company
called the Fruit Industries that I told you about the
other day. Well, Guasti, young Guasti, was the
president of that new combination, and at one time
there was a meeting in Los Angeles and he invited all
of us on the board of directors to his house. It was
an elegant house, very well furnished, and I remember
in the yard at the rear of the house there were a lot
of statuary and more like an Italian villa.
At that dinner, for the first time in my life
and the only time in my life, because I never had a
similar opportunity, I sat at a table where they had
Lanza: gold service. And I had never seen gold service, you.
know. And they had some of the service solid gold,
some was part gold and part silver, and some was solid
silver. So every place had these three types, and I
didn t know when you should use the gold or when you
should \\se the part gold and part silver, nor when to
use the whole silver. But Secondo Guasti sat next to
nie, and we were engaged in conversation. I would
always wait for him to pick the fork or the knife or
what not. But he, a typical refined gentleman, would
wait for me. So I was forced to take; sure enough,
whatever I took was wrong, because he afterwards
[laughter] took the other, and so on for the part
silver and gold and so on for the solid gold. I never
forgot the embarrassment that I was in. It was just
a matter of curiosity with me because I saw no
difference between that type of service and the
ordinary one, you know nickel, that I was used to.
Teiser: Was Mr. Walter E. Taylor involved in the Fruit
Lanza: Yes, he was involved in the industry. He was the
secretary of the Fruit Industries. And he represented
what was part of the old California Wine Association.
He represented some winery in Lodi. But he was on the
side of Garrett and Guasti, who had the control of the
Fruit Industries. And he was the manager practically.
He was a very capable fellow, but he was an unusually
selfish and cold-blooded fellow, I thought. Anyway he
was always on the opposite side of the fence from me.
CENTRAL CALIFORNIA WINERIES, INC. AND THE PRORATE
Some time later when we disbanded from the Fruit
Industries there was a meeting held in San Francisco
where a lot of members of the various wineries attended,
And Mr. Calvin Russell, a lawyer of a large city near
Delano [Tulare], this lawyer at the end of the meeting
said, "Fellows, it behooves all of us to give it some
thought because we re in a heck of a lot of trouble
if we don t find some way to make the business
profitable." Well, I was impressed with that remark
and I thought that the problem could be solved if the
different wineries would become part of a new group
but still retain the majority of stock in their company.
Lanza: That is to say, if there were ten members they could
form a combination and turn over 49 per cent of their
interest, so they are members and yet they have the
independent control of themselves. And I suggested
also that the banks should back a movement of that
kind, so as to give us a boost, a start.
Teiser: Was this during the Depression?
Lanza: Yes, this was during the Depression. Some time in the
30*s I wrote Russell and he turned this letter over
to the Bank of America and they were agreeable. They
thought that was a good way to help the industry.
Well, the bank agreed to put up some money and all of
the various members, oh, 30 or 40 wineries, would
become members. In steps the government, and says
that combination was a sort of a trust contrary to
law, and they threatened to indict everybody. The
fellows who came to examine the records of every
winery I mean the fellows from the government went
through the files of every winery and they came across
that letter of mine which started the whole matter.
And I remember when the government agents came to our
office, three of four of them said to me, "We have
gone through the books of the Taylor organization,
and we have gone through the books of Di Giorgio. If
Di Giorgio knew some of the letters that Taylor wrote
about him, and if Taylor knew some of the letters that
Di Giorgio wrote about him, they would cut each others
throat in no time." [Laughter]
Well, anyway, they summoned all these wineries to
appear before the Grand Jury, and they summoned
everybody but me! And I thought it was strange,
because here it was my plan, in black and white, in
that letter that started the whole business. And yet
they called everybody but me. And I remember they
named a partner of mine but not me.
Teiser: Who was he?
Lanza: Mr. Repetto, who was then in charge of our New York
office. He was summoned. And they had a meeting in
some hall there in the City and I attended, and I
heard a lot of lawyers representing various wineries
making speeches that the government couldn t do this
or couldn t do that and what not. And there was one
fellow that represented Cella from Fresno (I won t
mention his name because he s still among us), and I
Lanza: thought, having been a lawyer myself , that I could
Judge a lawyer. And I thought here s a fellow full
of hot air, the cheapest type of a lawyer. He made
that impression upon me. And then another fellow got
up, a middle-aged young man, I thought: there is a
lawyer, there is a legal mind. This fellow that I
picked out I didn t know either one, you see I picked
out as the legal mind, that was Phleger, who later I
think was asked to go to Washington as attorney for
Eisenhower. Do you see? The other fellow is still a
spellbinder, a fellow that thinks he is a lawyer,
makes a lot of noise in criminal cases and things
like that. And to me it sort of left an impression
that my Judgement was still good about lawyers.
[Laughter] Well, that s neither here nor there, but
I say it coiaes to me and there it is.
Telser: What was the upshot of the government action then?
Lanza: Somehow they quashed it. It didn t go any further.
But the bank and everybody, you know, discontinued
the operation. Nobody was really indicted. They had
all been subpoenaed to appear before the Grand Jury,
but somebody had the influence to settle it out, you
know, by disbanding the group.
Teiser: The group had actually been formed, though?
Teiser: Was that the group that was formed for the prorate?
Lanza: No, that was another group. This was called Central
California Wineries, Inc. It didn t go very far. It
was in the formative stage. But it was because of the
bank getting into it that they were after the bank
more than they were after the wineries. But the thing
was quashed after that meeting.
Teiser: You told me that you were against the prorate.
Lanza: Yes. The first time that they have proposed the
prorate two or three times, you know. The first time
when I was opposed to it, I was the leader of the
opposition. In those days it seems to me we were
divided, that the people from the Central Valley wanted
certain restrictions enforced, while those of us from
what we call the Coast Counties didn t want. So I was
the leader of the gang of the Coast Counties. Setrakian
Lanza: was of the south; Setrakian and others, I don t
remember, fellows from the Central Valley.
Teiser: And they wanted the prorate?
Lanza: Yes. They were the ones that wanted the prorate.
Teiser: Why did you feel it wasn t advisable?
Lanza: I don t remember. But the question was, you see, up
in the Coast Counties they were strictly vineyards for
wine making, whereas in the Central Valley they had
table grapes, they had raisins, they had certain rights
and privileges that, we didn t have, because of the
location and the type of grapes grown. That was the
upshot, as I recall. But exactly what it was...
Teiser: Finally when it went through in 38 I think Mr. Taylor
and Mr. [Burke] Critchfield put it together, didn t
they, for the Bank of America?
Lanza: If there was anything the bank was interested in,
those two would be the ones to do it.
JOSEPH DI GIORGIO
Teiser: You mentioned that you had known Mr. Di Giorgio well
and then fell out with him. What sort of man was he?
Lanza: A very capable man. He was just a born businessman.
He came here when he was about 14 years of age and he
went to work.
Teiser: Was he, like you, from Sicily?
Lanza: Yes. He was from Cefalu, which is about 20 miles north
from where I lived. And as a young man when he landed
in New York he went to work for a commission house
vegetables and fruit and whatnot. And he soon learned
the business of the commission merchant. And when he
was a young man he moved to Baltimore. In those days
we didn t have any refrigerated vessels, you know, to
bring fruit from South America, principally bananas.
Consequently the bananas were brought from Central
America, different parts of Central America, and that
island there southwest of Cuba Jamaica. And it would
Lanza: come to the nearest port to Central America to unload,
and ship the bananas in freight cars, which would
travel faster. And New Orleans and Baltimore were
the two principal ports of entry for bananas, although
they would receive some in New York or Boston. But
the idea was that the fruit would be unloaded, better,
do you see, and shipped right away in freight cars.
When he was a young man about 20 he formed an
importing banana company called the Atlantic Fruit
Company, and he got a number of small merchants from
various cities, say, Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo,
Chicago, to Join him, but he would be at the point of
entry and distribute the bananas from there.
From that he went then to Central America,
different parts, Jamaica principally, and became
acquainted with fellows that were exporting fruit.
He grew, and he developed to be quite a substantial
man in the industry. Finally they bought him out.
They bought him out because they wanted to get his
outfit, you know, away from competition. And they
bought him out on condition that he should not engage
in the importation of bananas any more. He sold to
what was then United Fruit Company.
I remember his telling me, he said, "When a fellow
came in my office with a silk hat and a cane and
wanted to know if there was any stock for sale in my
company, I knew that it was my competitor." So he
said, "He made me an offer." He said, "Our stock"
(that he and his friends had put in) "wasn t worth a
nickel." He said, "When they offered me 100 cents on
the dollar for the stock, and they would retain me as
manager of that branch at $10,000 a year, there was
nothing else that I could do." He sold and accepted,
on that condition. But he put in a clause in there
that if they ever felt like selling that branch, that
unit, he should have the first privilege of buying it
back. And it was at that time when he made that deal
that he came to California. And of course his customers
in the banana business were fruit merchants, so the
California fruit, like the oranges, the lemons, were
in his back yard, as it were. And he got started here
and went through a lot of troubles. I remember his
telling me about it. And he was quite successful. He
told me, he said when he came to California he didn t
have a dollar, and he said to me, "When I say I didn t
have a dollar, I mean I didn t have a dollar."
Teiser: Why not if he had been "bought out so generously?
Lanza: Well, that was either before or later than this, but
when he came here, and he told me there lias a gentleman
from Pittsburgh, a commission merchant but a wealthy
commission merchant from Pittsburgh I can t think of
his name but I have it at the tip of my tongue... a
Mr. Crutchfield. He went around to see different
shippers and organizations of shippers, and he made
an agreement to buy the Sari Fruit Company. And he
went back. When he made the deal to buy the Earl
Fruit Company, it still was the time when he didn t
have any money.
He went back to New York and went to the Erie
Railroad and said to them, "If you will btiild an
auction house on your wharf in New York City there,
in Manhattan, where I can bring fruit from California
and sell it at auction in this terminal, I ll agree to
give you 800 cars of business," which apparently
represented a tremendous income. And the Erie Railroad
agreed. But he wanted $25,000 down from them to get
ready, blah blah. He took that $25,000 and began to
make payments on the deals he had made here. And he
made good. He was a very, very good businessman.
Teiser: He must have been. Let me Just turn this tape over.
Your family then did know the Di Giorgio family?
Lanza: Oh yes.
Teiser: You said you met him when you were 18 and he 26.
Lanza: That s right.
Teiser: And what was he doing then?
Lanza: He was in the fruit business, had come to Buffalo and
was going to Toronto where he had a connection of some
kind, and he asked me to go along with him. So we
became very friendly. And afterwards even when
developments became rather personal, we were very good
friends, very good friends. He thought the world of
me. And I did of him too.
Teiser: When did he then get into the grape and wine business?
Lanza: He got into the grape business with the table grape,
in connection with his fruit business. Then when he
Lanza: acquired the Sari Fruit Company, that was one of the
leading shipping concerns in the state, of fruit, and
he was as good a businessman in that line of business
as there was in the country, I believe, and became
rather influential. Then he had vineyards; he rented
vineyards. He came to the conclusion that he should
have an interest in a winery so that if he had any
fruit that could not be sent to market it would be
salvaged. And I may have had something to do with
that line of thinking.
Teiser: Suggested it to him perhaps?
Lanza: Yes, because for a long time he would send his fruit,
if he had any, to wineries in which I was interested.
But after a while his volume became so large that he
began to build a winery of his own. And that s how
he got into the wine business.
Teiser: I see. So it was more or less as a by-product?
Lanza: Oh, yes. It was a by-product. But he was at one time
interested in the Italian Swiss Colony. He was a
fellow that would sell you a lot of grapes if you cared
to buy them and he was willing to let you have them,
and extend any amount of credit, because he went by
his credit was on the human side of the fellow he was
dealing with, not his financial standing. In other
words, he had been a businessman when he didn t have
dollars himself and he realized that there were other
men that were good businessmen withoxit having the
dollars. So he would extend credit on a large scale.
As I understand it he had extended credit to the
Italian Swiss Colony to a substantial figure, and then
somehow or other they made a deal where he bought an
interest, to liquidate what he had coming. That was
some time ago, I don t remember when.
Teiser: Did he come to be Interested in wines for themselves
or were they always an additional product?
Lanza: No, it was sort of a by-product for him. He was not
interested in wine. By the way, he didn t drink. He
never drank. That s why I say he was an exceptional,
Teiser: You said that you and he fell out later,
to speak of that or not?
Do you want
Lanza: Well, I had rather not. I d rather think and feel
that everything **as as fine as it always was and it
was an unfortunate thing, because when you fall out
in any friendly friendship relation, there must be a
reason for it, either through your own fault or
through the other fellow s fault or through an
unfortunate mistake on one side or the other. And it
doesn t do anybody any good to reminisce about it.
Teiser: As I understand he was a very small man physically?
Lanza: No, oh no.
Teiser: How tall was he?
Lanza: Oh, he I am five-four and he must have been, say,
five-eight. He was one of four brothers.
Teiser: What were their names?
One was Vincent. Vincent was the father of Joseph
Di Giorgio, the one that s still living. Sal, Samuel
or Salvator, was the father of the present Di Giorgio,
you know, who is the head of the Di Giorgio interests
now. And the third I know him very well; I can t
think of his name now.
But they were all in the United States?
Oh yes. The third was the father of Sal Di Giorgio,
the young Sal Di Giorgio. And there s quite a number
of the Di Giorgio family now, of the younger generation.
Did you know the older members of the Italian Swiss
No, except the Rossi boys. I didn t know the father,
but I did know both of the Rossi boys quite well. One
of them [Robert D.] has gone; there s one left.
[Edmund A.] He is younger than I am. Sbarboro, of
course, I met.
What did he look like?
I ve always wondered about
[Alfred E.] Sbarboro is light complexioned. He must
be around 90 now. His father had a grocery store, the
old gentleman [Andrea E.] Sbarboro. Then he started
a little banking biisiness, and finally it became the
Italian-American Bank. And he inherited then from his
Lanza: father the Italian-American Bank. Then they sold about
1930 maybe a little later, to the Bank of America, and
he went with the Bank of America.
Teiser: Earlier you said you would tell something of the
philosophy of Mr. Schilling.
Lanza: Mr. Schilling I think was a very fine businessman.
Teiser: What was his first name?
Lanza: Glaus Schilling. And in his relationship, social
relationship and in his business, he was highly
dignified and serious minded but a gentleman. A
typical German of the higher class. He was the son of
a sea captain, and his grandfather on his mother s side
was also a sea captain, with their home port Bremen,
Germany. Mr. Schilling, Glaus Schilling, when he was
a young man, wanted to carry on the family tradition,
to get into the marine business. But his father would
not let him, and his grandfather would not let him. That
is, that they advised against it, and to spite them he
left home and came to the United States when he was
One of the principal reasons why his father opposed
it was because the method of marine business was
changing. In his earlier days it was customary for a
German ship to load with goods in Germany and go to
England, sell the German goods in England and load
with English goods, sail to South America, sell the
English goods and load with South American goods, go to
the Orient, there sell the South American goods and go
back to the port where they started from. That
ordinarily took one year. So the captain, who attended
to all these transactions, at the end of the year would
go to the home office and make his report.
Among other things, as part of the compensation,
the captain was allowed the cost of a uniform, whether
he bought it or not. In the later years, about the
time when young Mr. Schilling wanted to go into the
navy and his father wouldn t consent to it, Hr. Schilling s
father went to the home office in Bremen. There was a
new young bookkeeper in charge of his matters. And when
Lanza: he got through with the accounts this young man asked
Schilling, "Schilling, did you really buy a suit of
clothes, a uniform? 11 He says, "No." "Well then, you
shouldn t charge It." He says, "Why not? I ve always
done that for these many years." "Well," he said,
"that s only when you buy it, but when you don t buy
it you shouldn t charge it." "Well," he said, "then
all right, all right. Take it off."
He went on the next trip and that was his last
trip. It took him two years instead of one year on
this trip. When he came back he went to the head office
there in Bremen and the same head bookkeeper met him,
went over his books and he said, "Schilling, I notice
you didn t charge for a uniform." He says, "No."
"Well, that means you didn t buy any." He says, "No,
I didn t." He said, "Well, that s the way it should
be done." "Oh, no," he says. "The two uniforms are
there, all right, but only you can t see them."
[Laughter] Do you get it? So with him he was through
with the marine business; he wouldn t consent that his
son should go into business where there were bookkeepers
of that kind.
When he came here he went to work on the docks in
New Orleans, and then there was much talk about gold
in California, the gold mines. So he came to California
in 69 and he got a job in one of the wineries.* The
building still stands in Napa County right by the old
station, the first station beyond Napa proper. I
forgot the name of the place. It s near where there s
an old soldier s home. Yountville. There s a torn
down building, you ll notice, a great building there
near the station. That was the winery he went to work
for. And that s the way he got into the wine business.
But he was the typical thorough German businessman.
Everything had to be just so.
And for quality. But he d make his profit on
quality that would be better then on volume, no matter
what. And among other things he had developed apparently
a keen sense of taste and odor. I never saw a man that
could taste and Judge the quality of wine the way he
did. He told me once that he wouldn t hire a salesman
unless his salesman could taste and recognize his own
wines. And because a man is not supposed to be perfect
*The Groezinger Winery.
Lanza: he would set the trial, he d let the applicant taste
wines in his office, and he would tell him what the
wines were. Then he would take him across the street
where there was a saloon that had his wines and other
wines. And he d say to the applicant, "Now I m going
to ask this gentleman to serve us some wine, and you
taste them all. If you find any that you think are
like mine that I ve shown you, okay; if they re not,
just say they re not mine." He said, "If they got
three out of five correct, I d hire them." But unless
they came three out of five he wouldn t hire them.
And so thorough! If anybody wanted a sample of
his vri.ne he d never send it to them. That is, "by mail
or by delivery. He would send it with one of his men.
And the man could taste the wines and judge them.
When he got through he would take the sample back.
The reason was that if a man tasted his wine and then
put it on his desk and [would] say, "I ll let you know
tomorrow or the next day," and the sample bottle is
partially full, the second or the third or fourth day
another salesman comes in with samples of his wine,
and the prospective buyer would taste them and then he
wants to see how they compare with Mr. Schilling s,
which was opened three-four days before. And the wine
wouldn t show the same. You see the throughness?
Never would leave a sample. Take it back, and if the
man asks why then Mr. Schilling s man would explain,
which was fair enough.
He told me once that they had a display of wines
in the City, and they had committees of wine men to
judge these wines. He displayed some white wine and
he got the first prize, that is, it was accepted as
the best, the first prize. There was also in display
a wine made by a gentleman that lived down the
Peninsula, some wealthy man, who had just a small
private winery of his own for his pleasure. And Mr.
Schilling said, "I tasted that wine and it was better
than mine. The judges had given the flag for the
second prize to this gentleman. So, I took the flag
of first price from my wine and put it on this
gentleman s, and took his flag of second prize and put
it on mine." So I said, "Why did you do that for?" He
said, "Jesus Christ, didn t I show those judges I
knew more about wine than they did?" [Laughter] You
can see the type of a man he was.
Another time he told me that he used to go to some
club here in San Francisco [of] businessmen, and some
Lanza: of the members who were rather well-fixed or wealthy
woiO-d order wines from him. One time one of these
gentlemen stopped and said, "Schilling, that last batch
of wine you sold me is terrible." Mr. Schilling asked,
"Why? 1 * He says, "Well, I just can t drink it. It s
not the same that yon have sent me before." "Well,
something must have happened. Why didn t you say so
before? Now I ll send my man to pick it up right away."
He said, "Well, I wish you would, Schilling. And send
me in its place some other wine, but send me some good
wine as you did before." He said, "Certainly. Why
didn t you say so before?"
He said, "I got my truckman to go and pick them
up, and I told him after he picked them up to go round
the block a few times and then go back and deliver
them as the new lot." So the fellow did that. A
short time afterwards he met this gentleman at the
club again. He says, "Schilling, oh, that s fine wine."
[Laughter] "That s fine wine! And I wish you would
always send me the same." He says, "Why, of course.
Any time that you receive wine that isn t right, you
Just let me know. " [Laughter]
Teiser: He was sure of his wine.
Lanza: Sure of his wine and nobody could tell him they weren t
the right wine.
Teiser: Did he have vineyards as well, or just buy wine?
Lanza: He had a small vineyard, which of course in those
days was a substantial vineyard, at Evergreen near San
Jose.* But he would go out in the country and buy
from variotis small wineries, and he knew from experience
who made good wines and who didn t. And he would always
pay two cents higher, he told me, than the going price.
But he would take Just the cream and then he would sell
it for ten cents higher, and he was very successful.
Teiser: Where were his headquarters? In San Francisco?
Lanza: In San Francisco, corner of 20th and Minnesota Streets,
near the Union Iron Works. Later it became the
California Wine Association plant. They took over his
*The Villa Vista Vineyard.
Lanza: business. And he was a very fair felloe full of the
Dickens, you. know, in turn. He told me one time he
used to buy wines from a German at Cordelia, named
Mangels who owned a winery of the same name. One year
he went to him; he said, "I knew that the price of
wine was going to go up, so I thought I d have some
fun with Mangels," His name was Glaus also, Glaus
I-Iangels. So when he went and saw the wines, they came
down to the price, he said, "All right, Mangels. Now
these past years I have always told you what I would
pay you. This year I m going to let you fix the
price." "Well," he says, "you know, last year you
paid me eight cents a gallon. I think I ought to get
eight cents a gallon again this year." "All right,
all right. That s fair enough. If that s what you
say, it will be eight cents a gallon."
He got through with him, went up the road and he
stopped at another winery owned by a gentleman, a
Mr. [John VJ.] Wheeler [near St. Helena]. He had been
coinmissioner of agriculture for the state or something
like that in the Agricultural Department.* And he
went through the winery, tasted the wines, and then he
said, "I m going to let you fix your price this year."
He says, "What are you paying?" He says, "Well, I m
not going to make any price but I ll tell you, I just
left the winery of Mangels and I bought that at eight
cents." "Well," he says, "You paid eight cents to
Mangels. I xant the same." "Okay, okay, if you re
satisfied." He said, "I knew the price was too low.
So after the market broke, and the price went up two
or three cents, I waited to see how they would take it.
Mangels was the first to complain. So I said, What
the hell are you talking about? Didn t I leave it to
you to make the price? Are you sore at yourself? Why
do you blame me? "
Well, he went away and he was rather dissatisfied.
The following year he went again to Mangels and he said,
"Now listen, the price this year is going to be ten
cents, but I m going to pay you 12," to make up to
him. He went to Wheeler. Wheeler was going to build
a house. And he showed the plans to Mr. Schilling,
just a friendly gesture, and Schilling said, "You don t
*He was secretary of the State Board of Viticultural
Commissioners and chief executive of the State
Viticultural Commission for many years.
Lanza: want to build a cheap house like this. Why don t you
build a real house?" Well, no, he couldn t do it.
He didn t want to put in much more than so much for
it. He said, "All right, what kind of a house do you
want to build?" He says, "You re going to Europe,
aren t you?" He says, "Yes, I want to go to Europe."
He says, "I ll have the house built for you while
you re in Europe. You. tell me the kind of a house
you want and what you want to spend for it." And let
us say that the price was 3fOOO, whatever it was,
$5000. Wheeler went to Europe and Mr. Schilling
built a real house. It was the house in Napa County
there for many, many years. I don t know Whether it s
still standing or not. And he gave, he paid the extra.
Wheeler was going to pay, say, $6,000,, and if the
house cost $10,000 he paid the other ^4,000. In other
words, he made up [laughter], but he had the fun though
to sort of shame them afterwards that he tricked them
into making their own price. He was that type of a
gentleman. I thought the world of him.
Teiser: Did he continue during Prohibition?
Lanza: No, because he had sold out before.
COLONIAL GRAPE PRODUCTS AND ITALIAN SWISS COLONY
Lanza: The California Wine Association, as I recall, was
formed in 1892.* The bankers in the City financed
the formation of the California Wine Association, but
each member, like Mr. Schilling, Italian Swiss Colony,
Lachman & Jacob!, Bundschu and many others, they formed
this California Wine Association. But the money was
principally from the bankers. Mr. Schilling finally
sold out to the California Wine Association, but he
continued to be on the board of directors. Then
Prohibition came, and then these bankers got scared
that they were in an illegitimate business, see. They
wanted to get out, and they wanted to get rid of it,
sell it. Well, when I came here some time after they
had been doing business, I thought we should buy them
*The actual organization date was I89*f.
Teiser: "We" at that time was what?
Lanza: Colonial Grape Prodiicts Company. It was about the
first or second year after we formed the Colonial
Grape Products Company. Mr. Schilling said, "Very
well, I ll see if they want to sell it and at how
much." My partner Pederspiel knew that I proposed the
Durchase of it and he was agreeable. Mr. Schilling
saw I-Jr. [Evan S.] Pillsbury, of the firm of Pillsbury
and someone else in the law business,* but he was also
at the time I think president of the Pacific Telephone
Company. Anyway he was a very wealthy man. And they
agreed to sell all their assets on the basis of the
wine price only, which meant you would be buying the
wine /and with the wine you would get their vineyards
and their plants throughout the country gratis. hey
we re so anxious to get out. But it took about three
million dollars to buy the wine.
Well, I thought I could raise the money, so I
went back and saw my friend Di Giorgio, and he and I
talked it over. It would be a good thing to buy, so
he said, "I m going to call up Dantoni," who was at
the head of Vaccaro Brothers in New Orleans, and they
were importers of bananas and had many interests in
Central America. Supposed to be the richest firm
south of the Mason-Dixon line. So he phoned Dantoni.
He same to New York and we talked about it. Dantoni
said, "Why do they want to sell it if it is as good, a
buy as you say?" And I explained to him that they
were principally bankers; they didn t want to be in
the business; they vjere afraid they might get into
trouble. "Well," he said, "I ll think it over." In
the morning he says, "Gentlemen, a million dollars is
too much." They wanted a million down. "This is too
much money even for Vaccaro Brothers." He said, "We
can t advance it." He had made up his mind that if
the bankers of San Francisco are afraid, why should
the bankers of New Orleans step in?
So I came back and told Mr. Schilling. I said I
thought I could raise the million dollars but I found
it s impossible. So Mr. Schilling goes back to
Pillsbury and tells what happened. Pillsbury said,
"Do the boys object to showing me their statement?"
*Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro.
Lanza: He said, "I don t know." So Mr. Schilling comes and
reports to us. I said, "By all means. Let him see
And he saw the statement. We had put in the
Colonial Grape Products Company $4-00,000 $200,000
myself and my associates from back East, $200,000 Mr.
Federspiel and his associates, which meant Mr. Schilling
and others. He saw the statement and he saw that we
could make a payment of $50*000 from the liquid assets
that we had. So he said, "Will the "boys be willing to
buy, at the same price, by paying $50,000, and to retain
Mr. Morrow as manager so that when the inventories are
liquidated and the monies collected Mr. Morrow is there
representing us, and that s got to be applied to us
first, not to you." "Pair enough. Okay." So we
agreed to purchase it that way.
And I leave to go home. I was living back East
then. A day or two later Federspiel came to Buffalo
to see me. He got there about seven or eight o clock
in the evening. We had dinner and we sat up (I had
a sort of a den on the third floor of my house. It
Tas like a little clubhouse for myself and my friends,
a fireplace.). We sat there in front of that fire
place until two o clock in the morning, and he talked
me out of it. "Why do we want to take on this big
responsibility? We can make all the wines that you
can sell. So why...?"
So I thought, well, he s a Calif ornian. He knows
more about the wine business than I do. He got me to
back down. Two or three years later the same property
was sold to a firm, a beer business of Santa Rosa.
They are brothers Grace Brothers. They bought it.
Same terms, same figures, and they made a fortune out
Well, that was one of the things that made ne lose
confidence in my associates, here the local associates.
And it wasn t that alone. It was other deals. Because
I was young; that is, I felt I was young. I was
traveling. I could feel the pulse of the business
throughout the country because I did the traveling
myself and had connections. I could see the business
was coming. And it was losing one opportunity after
the other. Hence when I got that other property where
the man gave me $5000 to buy him out, I took it alone
because I thought to myself, "No more."
Teiser: Ah, now I see the background.
Lanza: Absolutely. That was the reason. No more. Then after
I took it alone and began to show progress, then I began
to see that there were some private interests, some
bankers behind my associate. Do you see?
Teiser: I see. So he was not acting alone?
Lanza: He was not acting alone, and they were the ones that
apparently had got him to back down. Well, for me it
was a fortunate thing that I went on alone.
(Interview with Horace 0. Lanza, Piedmont,
California, February 13, 1969)
GRAPES, BLENDS AND PROCESSES
Teiser: You were going to tell me some interesting things
about some stray vines.
Lanza: Oh yes. As I mentioned, in the cuttings that we got
from Italy shortly after Repeal, there were three vines
that were stray vines, and. they came to the attention
of the [University of California at] Davis department
of agriculture in connection with their visiting this
farm and that farm and making suggestions and hearing
reports. They observed these three vines. And they
called it the Italia Muscat. It s a table grape. Now
it s one of the leading table grapes in the San Joaquin
Valley. That is to say, there are hundreds of acres of
Teiser: This was a variety that you yourself imported?
Lanza: We didn t intend to. We found it among a stray, because
the ones I Imported were meant to be wine grapes. That s
what I had in mind. And that s how that Italia was
started in this state.
They tell me also that the grape that is known as
Tokay was a stray vine found in the vineyard of Wheeler
there at Yountville. They had planted a vineyard there
for wine grapes, and here was this vine which was a
table varietal, and finally they called it Tokay when
somebody suggested it was like the type of grapes grown
on the Tokay mountains east of Austria, in Hungary
The other one where there was one stray vine was
the one of Thompson Seedless. That again I understand
was where Mr. Thompson ordered and got some cuttings
from a nursery in Rochester, New York, and when they
planted it and they found that this variety had no seed,
they began to spread it, and it was developed first in
Sacramento Valley. Then they planted it further south
and they found that it paid better on account of the
seasons or maybe the culture, what not. That is one of
Lanza: the principal grapes now that we re growing. It goes
to show how the varietals are developed. And they re
constantly developing new varietals.
You must remember that the nature of the grape
is a wild plant. And it is found as different varietals
most all over the temperate zone, as I understand. And
from the thousands of varietals somebody develops a
certain type that will do for wine making. Like you
take the Catawba, which was made famous by Longfellow
in the poem that he wrote about the wine made from the
Catawba grape; the Concord, which was found in Concord,
New Hampshire, gets its name from the locality it was
wild. And some others. And there is no telling how
many more varietals there are and how important they
will come to be.
In starting out young men that wanted to work with
me in my business of grape growing and wine making, I
always tried to impress upon the young people to try
any varietal, but not with the idea of developing one
varietal to make a type of wine that is good in itself,
but to make a type of wine that is excellent when
blended with a different type of grape. And I called
this to their attention. I say, "Now, you know we have
a vegetable called garlic. I don t know of anybody that
I ve ever met who said that he ate garlic straight,
direct. But I do know that if you take a piece of
garlic and just rub the bowl before you make a salad,
rub the bowl and throw that piece away, that rubbing
leaves enough flavor that makes the salad delicious.
And people say, What did you put in this? " And I
mention that as an illustration of what you can do.
And I always wanted a report of anything that was unusual
in our vineyards.
I remember of an occasion when one year there at
Delano the men in the plant called to my attention
that the deposit in the tank where they had racked
the wine after the new wine is made and allowed to
stand it creates a certain deposit that it was rubbery.
And they would take a piece of this deposit and stretch
it, just like a piece of rubber, and the thing would
go back to its normal shape. And I asked for some
sample of it, and I saw it myself.
I gave orders to my men now to hold that tank, but
to tell me what grapes, what wine and from what grapes
was that tank filled, and what did they do, how did they
Lanza: ferment it, when did they put in, what was the
temperature. They couldn t tell me, and I was madder
than a hatter because I had been trying to impress
upon them to keep a record of every tank. And if
there is a tank that is exceptionally good, now try
and reason why, why is that so good? Or if there is
a tank that is terrible, try and reason why, what
happened. In order to make them capable, you know,
and really workmen worthwhile.
Teiser: Your mention of blending wines I believe I read an
article of yours ona subject of standardization. In
Wines and Vines of January, 19*4-0 [p. ?]. Does this go
Lanza: It s along that line. Now for instance, I am of the
opinion that the blending of a California wine, and I
mean a table wine, with, say, the Concord wine, makes
a better wine than either of the two.
Teiser: Who does that now?
Lanza: I don t know who does it.
Teiser: Did Garrett & Company do it at one time?
Lanza: They may have. I was the first to observe it, because
when we started (my brother was in the wine business
and I started in Predonia) that s all that we had, the
Concord wine made from the grapes of the Concord type.
Then as the business developed we were buying wines
from California, and bringing them there. And in those
days we didn t sell wine by the gallons or in bottles,
so far as the winemaker was concerned. We sold the
wine by the barrel. When you were asked a quotation,
say, "What s the price of your wine?" you d say, "Eight
dollars a barrel, ten dollars a barrel."
Teiser: What size barrel was that?
Lanza: The 50-gallon barrel. Now I found that the fellows who
were used to the Concord wine, if by mistake one of
our men shipped him a barrel of California wine, we
would get a complaint: "You thief! You scoundrel! I
trusted you as I wotild trust my father! I ordered this,
you made me pay in advance." You see? And vice versa.
The fellow that was used to the California wine, if he
got a barrel of wine made from the Concord wine by
mistake (you know in the winery the men sometimes are
careless), we would get the same sort of complaint.
Lanza: Very well. Then there was another type that wanted a
certain color, and the minute we began to blend the
two wines for the sake of color we found that the
fellows would regard that as a superior wine, superior
even to the imported that is, it was their extravagant
manner of showing how much they liked this wine.
Whether it was or was not I didn t know in those days,
I wasn t competent enough. But as I say, I observed
from that experience that the blending pleased certain
people, and then I did it on a larger scale and found
that it improved.
Teiser: Did you ever do it in California? Blend Concord...
Lanza: No, but we did back East. We would have people that
made Concord wine and I would suggest, and they would
make [blend] it.
Teiser: I m told that there is what they call a "foxy" is that
the term. . . ?
Lanza: Yes, the foxy flavor. That s what they call it.
Teiser: And people on the West Coast don t like it and people
there think it s fine?
Lanza: Exactly. Another thing that I learned from experience,
and only by accident, was this, that when I took over
the California Grape Products Corporation the people
before me had made wine in Ukiah for the growers, for
the farmers, on a sort of partnership basis in this
way: a farmer would bring in a ton of grapes and they
agreed to make wine and sell it for them and give them
the proceeds of 100 gallons. That is, if from a ton of
grapes they got, say, 160 gallons, then the company
would get 60 gallons for manufacturing and selling that
wine, and the grower would get 100 gallons. Well, that
was before I took over the California Grape Products
Company. Prohibition came, some years before I took
over the company, and there was a lot of wine there in
the winery belonging to the growers. Prohibition
remained for, say, 14-15 years. This wine had turned
into a wonderful type of vinegar, not exactly a vinegar
but near wlnegar wine. But it belonged to the growers.
Then Prohibition was repealed and the growers
stepped forward and said, "Give us our wine." At that
time I was the owner. I hadn t made the wine but I
inherited this wine. So I said, "Here it is. It s
vinegar." They said, "But in your contract with your
Lanza: company you agreed to make trine that was sound and sell
it. We want some i-rine." And they sued me, that is,
the company. But I reasoned with the lawyers and I
said, "Look. V/e didn t do that intentionally or
through carelessness. We were compelled by the law to
keep it. We couldn t sell it. And nature spoiled it;
we didn t." Well, finally we settled. Wine was
selling at the start of Repeal, you know, around one
dollar a gallon. We settled; I paid them I think four
cents a gallon for this as vinegar. So I settled
more to, you know, make the best out of a bad job.
That following fall I thought, this is not vinegar
and this is not wine either. So I said, "Let s
referment it," because there was a process of refermenting
wines in the books, you know. So we tried it, and from
the resulting wine, the minute we sent the first car to
New York, the New York people came here and bought all
that I had. And later I found out, they claimed that
that was better than much of the wine they were importing.
And I began to reason, how come? How could that be?
And I tasted it and really found that they were right,
that is, it was a good drinkable wine. Finally I came
to this conclusion: what turns grape juice into wine
is the operation of these little ferments. They are
not animals but they are vegetable, say, like little
mushrooms. All right. They feed on something. How
come that this acid that is in this wine after the
refermentation is gone? So that they must feed on that
acid, do you see. Acid does have an effect on the
operation of the ferment in fact. There is a certain
acid that we call the malic acid that is natural in the
Juices that is helpful in the fermentation. So I
thought that these little ferments like this kind of
acid, whatever it was. And the result was the creation
of a fine wine which retained the characteristic of
the old wine, see, but replenished it with, say, with
the blend of the young wine. So I have always suggested
to my men that if they wanted to improve any type of
wine they should referment it. That is, ferment it one
year and ferment it again a second time. And we get
Now that was as I say by accident, by circumstances,
but it is a fact that I think is valuable to the industry.
Telser: Do many others do that now?
Lanza: I don t know whether they do or not, but it is kept more
or less as a firm secret. You know what I mean, not a
Lanza: secret but a practice that you like to profit while
your competitor doesn t know anything about it.
Teiser: Do I remember that there is now a law that when a wine
company markets wine as vinegar, something has to be
added to it? Is that to prevent this refermentation?
Lanza: No. If the wine is turned into vinegar or for vinegar
purposes then, you see, you pay no taxes. So the law
requires a certain amount of acid before you can say
it s not fit as wine. And I think they say it s 1.5
-if I remember correctly.
Teiser: I make my own vinegar.
Lanza: So do I, so do I. And I use good wine. I use good
wine not because I should but I have some wine that
is so old that I think I can describe it as being
decrepit. It hasn t got the flavor, you know, the
combination of the fruit. And I have pretty good
that is, I think I have pretty good wine. You know,
like all other food products, it changes with age.
This used to be the rule, for instance, that I
learned from Mr. Schilling. That is, he was the first
one to tell me about it. Ordinarily a dry wine, you
make it and it starts to improve. It reaches its peak
when it s about fotir years old. Then it stays put
until it s about six, and then it starts to go down.
A sweet wine reaches its peak when it s 12 years old,
and stays put until it is about 20 years old. Then it
starts to go down. I have seen wine that xas so old
that all you had was just water and acids and alcohol,
there was no combination.
The sweet wines I said 12 to 20. Brandy, 20 to
years old. It reaches its peak when it s 20, I
mean peak of quality, and retains it until it is ^0
and then it starts to go down. So that for instance
when you hear of the Napoleonic brandy, from the times
of Napoleon, and you pay high prices for it, you pay
high prices for it because you re deceived. And I
don t mean viciously deceived. But you think one thing
when the fact is different. I mean, you re deceived
because you re not up to snuff or don t understand
EUROPEANS AND AMERICANS
Lanza; In Prance, for instance, you start a tank of wine
today. You age it, let us say, for three or four
years. After that you remove 50 per cent of it and
you add 50 per cent of the new wine.
Teisen This is dry wine?
Lanza: Any wine. And next year you take out 50 per cent and
again replenish it with 50 per cent new the next year.
So if you started that tank, let us say, in 1800, you
can still claim that this product was made in 1800.
In our laws you can t do that. It s got to be 100
per cent of one year; otherwise you cannot claim any
age statement at all. The youngest of the wine in
that tank is the age of that wine. But you see where
the ordinary person would buy a bottle of the so-called
Napoleon brandy and he thinks he has something worth
serving you, you know, when as a matter of fact
[laughter] he just follows there are things that one
needs to knot* when we speak of foreign standards.
Take, for instance, we speak of our acidity, and
we say it s five parts per 1,000 or ten parts per 1,000.
Well now, the French will speak of acidity and he says,
two parts per 1,000, or four or what not, because his
scale is different. It s one-half of ours. Because
they use a different acid. You speak of an acid in wine.
The authorities claim that there s 15 different kinds of
acid. The same as you speak about brandy. Well, brandy
begins to raise, let us say, some of the alcohol in it
reaches I think 67. I don t remember for sure. At
6? degrees there s one thing that lifts; at 75 a different
one; at 83 different, and so on, until you go up to 212.
You see what I mean? Or even higher.
But the professional knews those things. But the
common ordinary public [laughter] are apt to be misled.
Teiser: I think you and Mr. Baccigaluppi mentioned the other
day a variety that you had worked with called Ugni
blanc. It has another name too, does it?
Lanza: Yes, the Italian is Trebbiano.
Teiser: And that s one you imported?
Lanza: Yes. I brought it in as Trebbiano, but it s the same
as the Ugni blanc. And another name for it is, I
can t think of it not*. It has a third name. But it s
the same grape.
Lanza : Yes .
Teiser: When you first came to California of course, it was
during Prohibition but did the relationship between
the grower and the winemaker change over the period
that you observed it?
Lanza: Well, it has changed in a manner, in the development
of the commercial side of it. In the old days every
ranch, every grape grower, had his little winery.
Hence why, for instance, in Napa Valley I think at one
time there were 150 wineries. Well, as we speak of
wineries today they weren t wineries. It was that
every farmer had his own establishment, the same as
they did in the old country. When Repeal came I asked
one of my Italian friends if I could get a chemist, a
wine chemist, and he was an official of some kind.
I ve forgotten what kind. And he said to me, "Look,
the wineries in Italy they re all small wineries.
Nobody s got a chemist. They can t afford to have a
So the books I had been reading had been [by] the
chemists in the colleges of agriculture, not the chemists
as we know them here.
Teiser: What did you do? Did you find one?
Lanza: I got one, and he proved not satisfactory.
Teiser: Where did you get him, from a college?
Lanza: From college. I got him from the college at Conegliano
[in Italy]. It s viticultural, like the one at Asti
[in Italy]. And this young gentleman came, and he came
from a family that was apparently well established
because he had an uncle who was a cardinal in the church,
and from that I conclude. But he had learned the art
of wine making and he came here, and I, knowing the
foreigner of those days he thought he knew everything
and here in America we knew nothing. And how conceited
and proud they were!
Lanza: The very first day that I took him out to lunch
when he arrived here, we talked and talked and finally
I came to this point. I said, "Now, look. I m going
to take you to Ukiah where we have a plant up there.
And they re nice people. The foremen or the men at
the head of the plant, they re all nice." There was
a young chemist there (who by the way is now at the
head of the Roma production, Hoy Mineau). Well, he
was the young chemist up there. I said, "Now, look.
You will want to learn what they know, and they may be
asking you what yon know. Now if you have any secrets
please do not make use of them," knowing, you know,
that every Italian has 5000 recipes for this or that.
He said, "Do you mean to tell me that I ve got to let
them know what I know?" I said, "No. I m telling you
just the reverse of that. Don t make use of any
secrets, secret methods that you may have, because if
you do they re going to ask you what you did and the
minute you won t tell them they are not going to tell
you anything that you should know." So, I said, "I m
not asking you to make use of your secrets, in the
sense of participating. But I m telling you that if
you show that you want, without giving, they re going
to do the same thing with you."
Sure enough he goes up there. Before the end of
the month that s what had happened. So it was a case
where he was useless. I had to get rid of him. And
he went away.
Teiser: Did your young chemist come from this area?
Lanza : No , he came I think from Oregon.
Teiser: The other chemists whom you employed at various times
in the operation have they been mostly Americans then?
Lanza: Oh, yes. Or they are of Italian descent, but they are
Americanized, you know, like the rest of us. There is
no more of the old class of the Italian. I look at,
you know, in my own case. I have of course a high
respect for my forefathers, because I was brought up
^ that way. So I have a certain respect for my native
land. But the way Italy was my native land, so is
America. The native land of my own children. My father
and mother, who were born there, they are buried here.
My brother, my sisters who were born there, are buried
here. And now my family is so spread that the close
and the distant have graduates from different colleges.
Lanza: I have a grandson, for instance, [pointing to
photograph] this lower one he is a Yale man and, by
the way, he is one of the writers of the Captain
Kangaroo show. And he mtist be getting good wages
because of the way he talks and what he does. The
other one is a graduate of Oregon. And I have a
distant relative who is teaching at Bryn Mawr. I just
happened to think of her. I have had children graduate
[University of] California. Relatives graduate of
Cornell. Different colleges. So this is America, and
I m one of the Americans, because that s the way that
we have built America.
I remember, for instance, when we came here to
this country in 1891 the population was only 62 million.
Now it s 200 million. So I ve been here when we built
the country three times as much. I have contributed.
So to me America, they say that the fatherland fine.
I have respect for the fatherland because of my fore
fathers. But I have equally an interest, if not
greater, because the present is always better than the
past, here in America. And that is true for all of us.
I sometimes evaluate, you know, the American life
with life in other parts of the country, and I can only
evaluate it according to my own experience. I came
here when I was ten years old.
Teiser: What was your birth date?
Lanza: My birthday was June 5th, either i860 or 1881. I used
to think it was 1881 because I had a cousin, Horace
Lograsso, a distant cousin, about the same age as I
was, and I always thought I was six months older than
he was. And I reasoned that I was six months older
because I was born in June and he was born in December.
But he became a young doctor and then he had to get his
birth certificate. And some years later he told me that
he was born in i860. So if he was born in 1880 and I
was six months older, then it was 1880. But if I was
born in 1881, then he was six months older than I was.
But we were of different year. And in Italy, at least
in those days, we didn t speak of birthdays. We would
refer to age as the Indians, say, did in this country
so many summers.
For instance, my father was born in 184-3, but he
didn t know when, what month. My mother was born in
1852 but she didn t know vjhen. I didn .t know that
Lanza: birthdays were to be celebrated until I was about
years old. Just customs.
Well, very well. We came in 1891. Ten years
later I graduated from the University of Buffalo in
Teiser: How did you manage to so to the University? That must
have been very expensive for a young fellow.
Lanza: No, not in those days. We lived in Predonia, New
York, which happened to have a normal school it didn f t
have a high school, but a normal school. And this
young cousin of mine and myself, we went to school
there, in the elementary schools, and then we went into
the normal school and then we graduated from that. I
went to study law and he went to study medicine.
We would work in the summer at the canning
factory starting in the month of May when strawberries
would start to come in, until November when apples,
which was the last fruit to be canned at the canning
factory. Then we would go to school between November
and the following June. And we went to school because
we had nothing else to do. We had to. But we worked
whenever we could.
When I went to the University then the fee, as I
recall, was about $150 a year. And the first year it
cost me about $400 and the second year $500. And in
those days that was the legal course, just two years.
So as I say I arrived here in 1891. In 1901 I
graduated from the University of Buffalo. In 1911
we ll make it ten years I was already established in
the practice of law, and I believe that I had the
biggest law office and law practice in the city of
Buffalo for a youngster of my age, when I was 30. And
I had had the good fortune to have a good practice and
had good opportunity to develop, because I represented
a laboring class. That s all I could get for clients.
But a laboring class.
If a man worked on the railroad and he got killed,
then I would sue the railroad company. If the man had
insurance and had trouble, then I would sue the
insurance company. You see, I was pitted against
lawyers of ability and distinction, because those
corporations had such lawyers, and I, realizing that
Lanza: I was a youngster that didn t know anything, I would
work on my cases and study until midnight and get up
the next morning at 5 o clock to study some more to
prepare that case. I was learning without knowing
that I was learning. And so I felt that in 1931 I had
the biggest practice and a fairly good reputation in
the profession, I believe.
In 19^1 I go from ten years to ten years I had
gone into the wine business and made a small fortune.
In 1951 was that 1951? I lost... no, the crash was in
29, so my ten years I ve got to go back. At 20 I
was already in the profession; at 30 I had become
prominent in the profession; at 40 years of age I had
gone into business and made a fortune; at 50 years of
age I lost every cent that I had, as I told you the
other day, and I lost not only all I had but they came
and got a deficiency judgement against me of $128,000.
When I was 60 I had already made another fortune even
bigger than the one when I was 40. And at ?0, and so
on. So you can imagine how I should feel about this
country, what it means to me. There is no place on
earth where I could have done that. Do you see what I
So it just goes to show the America that we have
today, the Americans that we have today of course we
have a bigger family of Americans or of nationalities.
I, for instance, married a Scotch lassie, who by the
way, was born in Scotland and her mother and two of her
sisters and two brothers arrived in New York the same
day that I arrived in New York, in 1891. Isn t that
Teiser: What was her maiden name?
Lanza: Allen, Selina Allen. She was born in Monifieth,
Scotland. That s near Dundee. We went when we were
married to see her place.
As I say, then my children married, you know, half
German, half English, and so on. That s the American
of today. Excuse me, there s the telephone.
FURTHER PROHIBITION PERIOD RECOLLECTIONS
Teiser: Looking over your career, I can see logic in everything
except why anyone would go into the wine business
Lanza: Well, I was in the wine business before.
Teiser: Yes, but why would you have gone further into it in
Lanza: I saw nothing but success.
Teiser: You saw Repeal coming, did you?
Lanza: Yes, I saw it coming and I profited by it, as I told
you, I think, by buying a lot of wine that I sold at
a good profit. And then I thought that people would
make their wine at home, because it s easy to make
Teiser: Do you think that they would do that just into the
Lanza: Oh, yes. They were doing it before Prohibition. They
were doing it before Prohibition because the ordinary
Italian, for instance in the old country, he made his
wine. He didn t buy wine.
Teiser: My neighbors in San Francisco did when I first lived
there in the forties.
Lanza: Exactly. So I had faith that grapes would sell for
wine making and there would be a big demand for it,
and also grape products, which is the concentrate to
make the home wine. So I believed in that, and I was
a pioneer in that field. And then we also sold a lot
of fresh grapes in the markets back East.
Teiser: For people to make wine out of?
Lanza: That s it exactly. And there was a certain amount of
legitimate business which only a few people could
afford to make. In other words there wasn t enough
for every riffraff to make wine, but the few that were
in it could make wine. As I say during Prohibition we
enjoyed the patronage of the Campbell Soup Company,
of the tobacco people in Philadelphia.
Teiser: Who were your main competitors during Prohibition?
Lanza: California Wine Association. Some in Lodi, I don t
remember the name. Then there were the Beaulieu
people for sacramental wines. There was also a winery
in Fresno, and I think it was operated by the raisin
growers* association as a sort of a by-product. The
Italian Vineyard Company in Los Angeles, Garrett and
Company of Cucarionga, and there in New York state in
the Finger Lake District.
Teiser: Was Italian Swiss in it too during Prohibition?
Lanza: No, it was out. No, I beg your pardon. Yes, it was,
but they didn t make wine. They just specialized in
the by-products like concentrate. The sons of the
founder, the Rossi boys, they went into it, and they
did go into the wines eventually when they found that
there was a field for it much later. But they started
only with the concentrate then.
Teiser: Then there were quite a few competitors.
Lanza: Oh, yes. There were quite a number of competitors.
But it always had an attraction for me. And the faith,
like I have faith in it now, even now. And I see what
I believe not many other fellows see, and that is this:
The amount of labor required on an acre of grapes is
greater than the amount of labor required in any other
product of agriculture. That is to say, that the amount
of annual labor in one acres of grapes is greater than
an acre of lettuce, an acre of tomatoes, an acre of
cucumbers, or of cabbage, or of corn, or what not.
Therefore in agriculture, because we can grow
grapes in this country in every state, I maintain, and
in every climate in this country, only a different type
of grapes there are going to be more people engaged
in producing wines, producing grapes and producing wines,
How come? When the farmer in Wisconsin, let us say,
realizes that he can make a profit in growing grapes,
he d Just as soon grow grapes as raise cattle, or to
raise hogs, or what not. With him it s a case of making
a living. And if Wisconsin discovers that it can
produce grapes and wine, they are not going to come to
California to buy their wine. They are going to make
[it]. The local fellow will always have the inside
Lanza: But the local fellow may not make as good wine as
they make in California. But if he buys some iiine or
grape product in California, brings it to Wisconsin
and blends it with his own, he is going to use production
of California, but he s going to develop a market in
Wisconsin which is not there today.
Now following that thought do you see what I
mean? here in this country there is a potential. The
grape growing is going to be greater, and the consumption
of the grape products is greater. Only the other day I
saw in some report here from the University of California
that a few years ago let us say 15 or 20 years ago, I
don t remember just exactly when we were producing 90
per cent of the grapes and grape products in the
country. Now it s 72 per cent. And yet we were selling
^4-5 million gallons of wine when Prohibition started,
and now we re selling 160 million gallons. Do you see
what I mean? Pour times as much, and yet our percentage
[is lower]. Why? Because other states have picked up
a little. Have they finished? Not at all. That s
going to go on.
So you can see from the enthusiasm that I have
about it, if I were a young man I would be attracted to
it. I don t say that s the only thing that would attract
me. But I believe it would be one of the things that 1
would consider seriously. And am I the only fellow
that can be convinced? Hence I have great faith there
is going to be greater production and greater consumption,
because finally it s the only beverage which offers you
the fruit, that is, all the beneficial part of the fruit,
plus alcohol which it generates by its own sugar or
production or what not. And when we become a people of
sober habits, when we Just settle down, we re going to
accept it like bread and butter, without getting stuffed
with bread and butter [laughter]. Just for our own
I notice it with myself here at my age. Say I m
88 or 89- I take one glass of wine with my lunch. If
I take any at all it s just a glass of wine. And one
with my dinner. I do take a little highball in the
evening before dinner because of sort of habit. But
only one. What s the consequence? I am alone but I
have a housekeeper; she is Italian from near Venice
there. She drinks half a glass of wine at lunch and
one glass of wine in the evening. We consume two bottles
every three days. And here I am; I ve showed I m in
Lanza: good health for a nan of my age. I enjoy life.
So the use of that wine I don t say that s why I
feel well, but as I do with coffee, in the morning:
I ll take one or two cups of coffee but no more in the
day. I can t touch it. If I had coffee at noon I d
get heartburn and I wouldn t be able to sleep that
night. So why? There s a certain time and a certain
place that I need it. And so as I say there is going
to be a lot of people that are going to form those
habits that I have. And I can t stand beer. I used
to like beer when on the hot days I d be driving, and
I d find that the minu.te I took a glass of beer or a
bottle of beer, when I was thirsty, then I would be
thirsty for water, water, water, which was not the fact
if I left the beer alone.
Well, it s just an illustration, and I believe
there is a future for grape growing and grape products.
And we haven t seen the end yet.
I m going to interview next Mr. Baccigaluppi. You ve
known him since 1922, did he say? I thought you might
be* able to tell me a little about him. How did you
happen to meet him?
He was 21 when I met him.
I ll tell you how it came
When Prohibition came, it came in 1918. But it
was in effect from November, 1918, until the following
year, what we called wartime Prohibition. And then it
was the real Volstead Act that started the following
The Colonial Grape Products Company that we had
here was shipping wines to New York to a firm that
was engaged in importation of goods from Italy cheese,
sauces , tomato saiice and wines and so forth. And
Harry was an office boy vxho worked there. The man at
the head of that firm, which was then called Cella
not this Cella, the wine business here, but the same
name Cella on West Broadway, New York, he began to get
jittery. His name was [Louis] Profumo, the gentleman
that managed Cella Brothers. He began to worry. We
were selling wine to the Jewish trade, through
government channels, mind you. And the report on the
street was that sometimes these Jewish rabbis took the
wine they bought it for sacramental purposes but before
Lanza: it got to the church the truck would break down
somewhere along the line, do you see? And he began
Well, I was one that didn t believe in Prohibition
anyway. And I didn t do anything to get in trouble
with the government, but if I saw that you bov.ght for
sacramental purposes but went around the corner and
drank it yourself, I didn t care a darn. My conscience
wasn t hurt. But this gentleman, as I say, feared that
the fact that some of the rabbis were buying more than
they could serve in the synagogue, that he might get
into trouble. So he proposed to my associate, Mr.
Pederspiel. He said, "Look, there s a young fellow
here in the office. He s a bright boy and he s a good
boy. I suggest to you that you appoint him as your
agent. But I ll back him, I ll direct him and I ll
counsel him right along." So Harry starts to work for
the Colonial Grape Products Company. I am the vice-
president and general manager of the Colonial Grape
Products Company. So he comes under my Jurisdiction,
do you see.
When we formed the Colonial Grape Products
Company, Pederspiel was very nice. He said, "Now what
would you like to be in the corporation?" I said, "It
doesn t matter what I will be, as long as I ll have the
distribution in the East." I said, "I suggest Mr.
Schilling [as president]." He says, "No, Mr. Schilling
can t take the position," because he had sold out and
signed [a contract that] he couldn t become interested
[in any wine company].* "Well, then," I said, "how
about you yourself?" So we made him president, Pederspiel.
That s how he came to be president. And I was placed to
be vice-president, but general manager.
So he [Harry Baccigaluppi] came to work for me, as
I say, that early, and it must have been in 1922 I would
say. He was born in 1901, so he was 21 years old.
Telser: He must have liked the Job, since he seems to have
stayed with you.
Lanza: Yes, indeed. He came up, and he has had ability, and I
also was glad when I made that killing in Los Angeles
*See pp. 7-8.
Lanza: that I told you about, I gave $350,000 through the
representation of stock that they had subscribed to,
to Harry. And you can see how much I thought of him
and other fellows.
MEN AND CHARACTER THAITS
I don t mean to mention it with pride, but I do
get satisfaction from the fact that I feel I ve made
about a dozen men rich. And most of them have proven
themselves worthy. But then four or five that have
disappointed me, bitterly. But that s life.
Teiser: I think that s a pretty good average.
Lanza: Yes, indeed thank God, yes, indeed. And that s the
way that Harry thinks the world of me. And I think
the world of him.
Teiser: I understand that the whole industry thinks very
highly of him.
Lanza: Oh indeed. [Laughter] Well, I won t take the credit
for all of that, but some of it. But his father was
a great man. His mother was a wonderful woman of the
old style. And Harry himself, I think some of us are
born, you know, to be attracted to the nicer ways of
life, to nicer things. When we say a great artist, a
great singer, a great manager, I think that the native
traits have something to do with it. Not all, but
something to do with that. When you re born, as I say,
if your inclination is on the noble side, you enjoy the
credit. I feel very fortunate.
Now, look, strange as you may think, I ve got an
inferiority complex. I think I have always had. And
yet when I lost my temper I didn t know any man that
was my equal in the sense of competition or of fight.
I felt as big as the biggest there ever was, which is
inconsistent. But I think I learned that inferiority
complex because of the wonderful mother that I had.
She was a great disciplinarian so far as the family
was concerned. She loved us as any mother could love.
But discipline was discipline, and we shouldn t talk
when elders are talking, we shouldn t do anything that
wasn t right and all that.
Lanza: And my father, very much the same. His favorite
word or advice to us was always, "Don t." Don t do
this or don t do that, for fear you might offend or
intrude. My mother s was the opposite. It was "Get
out of here! Get out of here! " She wouldn t have
us around the house, that is the boys. One of her
familiar expressions was, for instance, if we would
hang around the kitchen, she would shoo us out and she
was very religious, but when she lost her temper she
could swear like any trooper that I have ever seen.
And she d say, "Get out of here! Get out of here!"
She d say, "By jingo, even if I am dead and gone and
I hear that you re going to wear dresses and let
some poor woman s daughter do the man s work, I ll get
up from my grave and raise hell with you." And she
meant it. [Laughter]
So, as I say, I grew up to be careful not to do
this, not to do that. That has followed me throughout
life. If I ve ever done anything that I ve been
ashamed of, it has been due to that inferiority
complex, such as being invited by dignified people,
accepting when I had to accept and then failed to show
up. Silly stuff like that. Because I ll tell you
of the first party that I went to, just to illustrate.
I had the misfortune of losing my mother when I
was 14- years of age. So we grew up in the family,
you know, with a lot of kind friends and kind neighbors.
When I went to school, besides being a foreigner against
whom there was prejudice in those days (the Italians
were regarded, let us say, as we regard the Mexicans:
you know, a little bit inferior) okay. I never, I
went to school with boys and girls in the town and the
neighborhood, never went inside of their houses. I
was never asked, never brought inside of anybody s
house other than the Italian boys. So in the graduating
class of the normal school, which means I was then 18
years of age, the French teacher had a party for her
students. Well, I had taken languages a good deal
because they were easy for me. That is, at least I
thought so. So I had taken three years of Latin, two
years of French, one year of Greek, and in this
graduating year just before graduation the French
teacher invited the class to a party, at her house.
So I went, and a dear old lady that used to talk
to me at times and give me advice, said to me, "Whan
you finish with the party you thank the teacher for the
Lanza: nice time yon had." So I went in there with that
admonition. I was going to say thank you. While we
are holding the party there is a girl who is the
daughter of a banker, in a banking family. And she was
a little bit on the dumb side in class. We had little
jokes, in French, and she, thinking that I was a wizard
in French, she would be consulting me to make the
translations for her. So she was with me more or less
all the evening in this room. About 20 of us youngsters
were there. Finally it came time for refreshments, and
they were passing the trays, and when they came to ne I
took a tray. The minute I took that tray I saw I made
a mistake, because the other boys hadn t taken any.
You see? It wasn t right for me to take it. And I
was so nervous, I shake and the thing falls to the
floor. And what was bad enough I made worse with that
mess, because I had never been in a party before.
Going out, I m waiting to say good night to the
teacher, you know, and I had a good time, as this
dear old lady had told me. And there is the banker s
daughter talking to her and there is the daughter of
a minister with her brother, that were also in the
class. And I m waiting for them to get through.
They re talking and I m waiting, they re talking and
finally they get through and the three youngsters walked
out. So I walked up to the teacher, said my little
speech, and went home. The next morning when we go
back to class this minister s son, he said, "What the
hell did Bessie do that you didn t ask her to take her
home?" He said, "By God, we were waiting there." They
were talking to the teacher waiting for me to ask the
banker s daughter if I could take her home. I saw I
had made another mistake. [Laughter]
And then of course the next time there was a party
the first thing I asked the banker s daughter if I could
take her home. Just to illustrate how an environment
of that kind instilled that inferiority complex, which
as I said has been mortifying to me on a number of
occasions, but not out of viciousness. Of stupidity.
University of California Bancroft Library/Berkeley
Regional Oral History Office
CALIFORNIA GRAPE PRODUCTS AND OTHER WINE ENTERPRISES: PART II
With an Introduction by
Maynard A. Amerlne
An Interview Conducted by
1971 by The Regents of The University of California
Harry Baccigaluppi discussing the interview, 1970,
Photograph by Catherine Harroun.
All uses of this manuscript are covered by a
legal agreement between the Regents of the University
of California and Harry Baccigaluppi , dated 25 November,
1970. 1*i e manuscript is thereby made available for
research purposes. All literary rights in the manuscript,
including the right to publish, are reserved to the
Bancroft Library of the University of California at
Berkeley. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for
publication without the written permission of the Director
of The Bancroft Library of the University of California
Requests for permission to quote for publication
should be addressed to the Regional Oral History Office,
486 Library, and should include identification of the
specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the
passages, and identification of the user. Bie legal
agreement with Harry Baccigaluppi requires that he be
notified of the request and allowed thirty days in which
The interview with Harry Bacclgaluppi was held in two
sessions, on February 26 and 27 19^9 in his office at
Galgrape Wineries, Inc., San Francisco, It is in part a
continuation of Mr. Lanza s interview and in part an account of
his own activities. There is continuity between the two careers
in both individual winery affairs and general industry affairs,
Mr. Lanza, a founder of the Wine Institute, was earlier an
active participant in industry committees, as Mr. Baccigaluppi
has been more recently and to this date.
The initia.1 transcript of the interview was sent to Mr.
Baccigaluppi at the same time Mr. Lanza s went to him, in
September 19&9- ^h e interviewer had taken one passage out of
its original sequence and placed it in chronological order.
Mr. Baccigaluppi rewrote one passage, adding detail. Beyond
those changes, the editing consisted of Mr. Baccigaluppi s
word corrections and brief additions for clarification.
Mr. Baccigaluppi spoke easily, sometimes recalling without
effort, at other times searching his memory carefully, always
with obvious regard for accuracy and fairness.
In addition to giving this interview, Mr. Baccigaluppi
has generously searched both his files and his memory for
answers to many questions asked during the research underlying
the entire wine industry series. His broad experience and
close knowledge of the industry during the Prohibition and
early Repeal years, a period of few records, have been of
6 The Bancroft Library
University of California at Berkeley
Harry Baccigaluppl was born in New York in 1901, of
Italian-born parents. He went to school there and by going
to night school while working obtained a degree in civil
engineering in 1923.
From 1916 until 1922 he worked for a general grocery
and wine firm in New York. Since 1922 he has been associated
with the wine business of Horace 0. Lanza, since 19^3 in
His recollections cover a wide range of information but
the main events that stand out are Prohibition operations
in New York, the sale of wines in bulk, and his work to achieve
financial stability for the California wine industry.
During Prohibition his firm did mainly sacramental wine
business Jewish and Catholic. They also sold wine to
tobacco and soup companies. The legal and other problems of
doing a legitimate business during this period are well covered.
He also gives useful information on how the California concentrate
was distributed and used in the eastern United States.
The sale of wine in bulk was the principal business of
his firm for many years. Here the picture is one of his firm
supplying good quality wines to appreciative customers for
many years to one, at least, for 33 years.
Finally, as he explains, because bulk wine prices were
particularly subject to rapid fluctuations in prices, he
became one of the chief architects of California stabilization
plans. Setting up these plans required a great deal of patient
negotiation. Baccigaluppi was a master of this, and it was
thanks to his quiet persuasion that some of them ever got going.
His services as president of the Wine Institute may also be
cited as one of his many efforts to help stabilize the
California wine industry. What does not appear in this Oral
History is Baccigaluppi s service over the years on so many
Wine Institute and Wine Advisory Board committees: executive,
medical research, trade relations, etc., etc. Whether as
presiding officer or committee member, all recall his unfailing
courtesy, patience, humor and clear thinking.
As a footnote, since he and Ernest Wente refer to the
history of the variety St. Emilion (Ugnl blanc, Trebbiano)
in California, it might be worthwhile to record that Eugene
Waldemar Hilgard tested the variety in California in 1884,
188?, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1892 1893 and 1894- from Pulsom,
Cupertino, Natoina, Tulare and Paso Robles.*
Maynard A. Amerine
101 Wickson Hall
University of California at Davis
*The university of California. Report of the viticulture work
during the seasons 1887-1893, with data regarding the vintages
of 189^-1895- Sacramento. A.J. Johnston, Superintendent
State Printing, 1896 (see pp. 23^-236).
(Interview with Harry Baccigaluppi , San Francisco,
February 26, 1969)
FIfiST EXPERIENCES IN THE WINE TRADE
Teiser: May we start with the beginning of your life?
Bacci.: All right, we can start with the beginning. Now that,
so far as any active participation in any kind of work,
goes back to 1916.
Teiser: Let me ask you when you were born and where.
Bacci.: I was born in New York on August the 2nd, 1901. In
1916, I was a high school boy, and my dad was one of
those men who believed that while play was good that
work was even more important. And that spending too
much time after school playing was not the way to
develop your life. And with that he had made arrange
ments through an old friend of his whom he had been
instrumental in getting started in the wholesale
grocery and wine business some years before. As a
matter of fact he had even been a salesman for him,
one time traveling throughout the country. So I found
myself going to high school and then getting through
around one o clock, and then having a quick bite and
immediately went to G. Cella & Brother, where I did
the usual chores an office boy would do. I had no
qualifications for anything except a willingness to
It was quite an interesting experience, and I say
it had a great deal to do with molding my interests
in life, among other things. Although I came from a
family (both my mother and father were born in Italy)
Bacci . :
Bacci. : with an Italian background, I dare say that the
opportunity to actually cultivate a speaking knowledge
of the language would have been lost in great part if
it hadn t been for the fact that I was thrown into
this wholesale grocery business.
"Was this G. Cella & Brother?
This was G. Cella & Brother, right.
There was no connection with the California Cella
No, there was no connection at all. As a matter of
fact they at that time were also doing business in
New York, and they were then known as the Cella Wine
Company. I remember they were somewhere up on Second
Avenue. Their business consisted substantially, as I
recall it, of receiving wine in barrels from California
(they may have had some imports too; I don t know) and
then breaking those down into five -gallon demijohns
and then of cotirse finally delivering them to families
in the immediate area. And I think it was Lori
[Lorenzo] Cella, one of the two brothers, who drove a
horse and wagon, or stayed in the office I don t
remember which. But old J.B. Cella was the man who
would deliver these five-gallon Jugs on his back and
he d walk up tenement houses [carrying them], you know.
Their business was largely that. On the other hand,
G. Cella & Brother was a more diversified kind of an
operation. It was largely groceries and largely Italian
groceries. And by Italian I mean actually imports,
most of everything, and for a long time it was imports.
And I think, as I remember it now, they began to
diversify later on and began to bring in some American
products as well.
So there we were. They were buying wines in
barrels from California.
Teiser: What size barrels were they?
Bacci.: Fifty-gallon barrels. And many of the families bought
50-gallon barrels. They did a whale of a business, for
instance, shipping into the mining towns of Pennsylvania,
where even the miner himself would buy a 50-gallon
barrel for his family, or some little boarding house
would buy it and dispense it to its boarders. And that
was a sizable business. As a matter of fact I also
Baccl.: have a hazy recollection of not too close a record
being kept, but most of this stuff that went into
Pennsylvania to the individuals went on a C.O.D. basis.
And I have recollection that a close record wasn t even
kept of whether or not these people paid or not. So
long as they had gone out, and nobody could take
delivery unless they had paid for it, assuming of
course that the express company would make payment
after receiving payment themselves. You d think that
the record of the American Express Company [would have
been sufficient]. Then they became Railway Express
Agency, as against what it is today, an entirely
different agency. It f s on the downgrade considerably.
It s a very unreliable means of transportation today.
It s a pity that they ve sunken so low because, they ve
just become absolutely undependable. That isn t my
judgement; it s the judgement of anybody who has had
to use them.
So here we are then, working there as a boy. And,
mind you, no arrangements had been made for salary or
anything. As a matter of fact I think my dad must
have put it on the basis that he wanted to keep his son
occupied. In those days you didn t pay your help by
check. You were paid by cash; you paid in cash. I
shall always remember the end of that first week.
Incidentally, this job consisted of working from 1 to
6, 6:30 and all day on Saturday. And I remember this
first Saturday afternoon, it must have been around 5
o clock, we were getting close to the time when we d be
closing up, and close to that time the boss, Mr. Cella,
would go around distributing the envelopes to those
who had worked.
I remember his coming over to me and saying he
didn t want me to work for nothing. He went on to
suggest that perhaps that was the arrangement but he
wanted me to have an envelope like everybody else.
And I remember taking this envelope home and giving it
to my mother. And she said, "No, it s yours. 11 I said,
"No, half of it is yours." I didn t know what was in
it at all. She opened up the envelope, and there was
a dollar in it. [Laughter] There was a dollar in it.
So when people talk to me about having started from
the bottom, when they talk about $4 a week or $5 a
week or $10 a week, I say to myself, brother, no matter
how low you started, you couldn t have started any
lower than I did. [Laughter]
3acci.: Well, this went along. I think that was In the
month of April and then of course the school vacations
came along. And at that point it was all day long,
from 8 o clock in the morning until 6 o clock at night
and all day on Saturday and then I remember my salary
was raised, to $4 a week. [Laughter]
It proved to be a very, very interesting experience,
and truthfully I would say that the position I occupy
today is Just a continuation of that employment, because
due to company changes and corporate changes one seemed
to sort of glide into another without any interruption
at all. So I can truthfully say that from 1916 to the
present I wasn t out of work one day of my life. No
break in there of any kind.
Now G. Cella & Brother later merged with a competing
outfit, a larger one, known as Cella Brothers. And that
was Cella Brothers Incorporated. And this outfit then
became "Cella Brothers -G. Cella & Brother." Well, that
came about as the result of Cella Brothers having been
bought by one of the outstanding Italian import houses
of its day, L. Gandolfi & Company. And they then merged
these three companies together. And then by virtue of
having had some experience I acquired new responsibilities
in this new Cella Brothers-G. Cella & Brother. Cella
Brothers hyphen G. Cella & Brother.
Teiser: What did your responsibilities become then?
Baccl.: Oh, I would say that I was a sort of a billing clerk
and junior bookkeeper, without having really any
knowledge of bookkeeping. I should tell you also that
in 1918 when I graduated from high school I then decided
I was going to go into engineering. And the family
economy not being too strong, I of course had to seek
some means of getting an education that wouldn t cost
the family anything. So while I had been offered a
scholarship to Cornell, I selected instead Cooper
Union in the city of New York. It had been founded by
Peter Cooper way back in the 1860 s, and was designed
for Just such boys as were in my economic circumstances.
Then even there, although there was no tuition involved,
I elected to take the night course so I could continue
earning money during the day.
And that went on for five years for five nights a
week, and in 1923 I then graduated with a degree in
Bacol.: Now in the Interim of course Prohibition had come
about, and it was in 1922 that Mr. Lanza had come on
a trip to New York, because the law then provided that
if you had a winery, let*s say in California at this
time he was a partner in the Colonial Grape Products
Company if you had a wine producing company, you could
also have a bonded storeroom elsewhere for the sale
and distribution of your wines. He thought of New
York of course as being the logical market. In those
days New York was the one great market in the country
that you looked to as a possible source of distribution
of anything. And he came there and apparently came
there on instructions from his not instructions, but
after discussion with his associate, Mr. Sophus
Federsplel, who had one good friend in New York.
This one good friend was a man by the name of
Louis Profumo. Louis Profumo was then the manager of
Cella Brothers -G. Cella & Brother, having been the
prior manager of Cella Brothers. He was then the
manager of Cella Brothers-G. Cella & Brother, and had
been, before his association with Cella Brothers, the
New York manager of the old Italian Swiss Colony under
Mr. Pederspiel, who was the general manager of the
Italian Swiss Colony. And Mr. Lanza came in to see
him to find out if he could take care of this operation
that consisted of operating the branch bonded storeroom.
Profumo was unwilling to take it on because of his
other duties and responsibilities. But he said to him,
"Look, I f ve got a young man in the organization here
whom I think might have some possibilities and he may
be able to fit in."
Well, the next thing you know this little office
operated by the Colonial Grape Products Company was
operated under the general supervision of Cella Brothers-
G. Cella & Brother. But it was a separate entity.
Nothing that we did entered into the books of Cella
Brothers-G. Cella & Brother, but the Cella Brothers
received a commission of some kind for this supervision.
So I started from there, as a kid.
IHE WINE MARKET DURING PROHIBITION
Teiser: You were in charge of that office?
Bacci.: I was in charge of that office, yes. It was a very
small office; it was a very small operation.
Teiser: What was its address?
Bacci.: The address at that time was ^-2? West Broadway. We
had an office there, and we had a warehouse. The
warehouse, for the warehousing of these wines these
wines had to be kept in bond. At the start, I remember,
these wines were stored in the P.C. Linde warehouse,
which was a public warehouse, and that created all
kinds of problems. We didn t even have at the time an
employee working in the warehouse. For instance, If
we had to draw a sample, I would call this man who
was then taken into our employ on a sort of a part-time
basis. He was the former cellar man for Italian Swiss
Colony in New York, but with Prohibition he had gone
into the contracting business. One of the most capable
individuals I have ever met in my life. His name was
Dick Bongiorno. I have never met in all of my life a
more dedicated, a more conscientious workman than this
fellow, or a more competent one. When I look around me
today and see the kind of people who are drawing down
heavy pay for mediocre work, and I think of poor Dick.
I am often tempted, on trips to New York, to try and
establish some kind of contact with his family. I d
like to go out to Calvary Cemetery or wherever he may
be buried, and put a wreath on his grave. And that s
how I felt about the fellow.
Later we decided that this operation at the P.C.
Linde warehouse, when we became a little more active,
was not a practical way of operating we then rented
space in a warehouse that was owned by the New York
Central Railroad. It wasn t a warehouse; actually it
was a loft building, and we had taken a floor in that
for the storage of these wines. And Dick then came in
on a full-time basis.
I remember one Christmas eve when I went over
there (it was customary to give our employees, I think
it was either two weeks or a month s salary, I forget
what it was) this particular Christmas eve happened
to coincide with a payday, so that I went over to him
Baccl.: with two envelopes. We were still paying in cash. I
went up with two envelopes and I said, "Dick, this is
your regular pay and this is a little bonus from the
company in appreciation of your work throughout the
year." His answer was "This I f ll take, but that I
won t take." He said, "We didn t do enough business
this year for that." This is a workman mind you,
this is a workman. Now I ll ask you, go scouring the
countryside and you find another one like him. The
man was just a tremendous worker. I remember a period
there when business was so active, that every week
four carloads of wine would come in from California.
That was approximately 400 barrels. And 400 barrels
would be going out. And he handled all of it by
himself. Every bit of it by himself, which would
actually mean not only bringing it in but stacking it
up two or three high. If he had to go into the third
tier he might call the elevator man and tell him to
give him a little lift. Then he would filter every
barrel of wine. Mind you, this wasn t in tanks. This
was filtering from one barrel into another barrel.
Bacci.: Because you have to make certain that none of the
sometimes a little piece of wood from the cooperage
might be floating around, so you always went through
the process of filtering these wines. In those days,
among other things, remember, that this was before
the industry had recognized the necessity of refrigerating
wines in order to preserve their clarity. In those
days nobody filtered. If a wine had a little sediment
in it, so a wine had a little sediment in it. It was
an accepted thing. Today you can t give it away if it
has a little sediment in it.
I remember my father used to buy this is prior to
Prohibition would buy wine in five-gallon demijohns
for our family use. I remember that sometimes he d
start pouring and it would be a little cloudy. And
he d say, "Well, I ve got to go down and tell this
fellow that he d better give the bottom of the barrel
to somebody else occasionally, 11 you see. But it wasn t
a major complaint. Everybody would like to get the
prime cut of beef, you see. But it was Just an accepted
It Just about started during the Prohibition period
when clarity began to be so important. And you know it
wasn t until after Repeal that the industry generally
Bacci.: and It was some time after Repeal before the industry
generally recognized the necessity of subjecting wines
to what we now call a cold holding process, where you
bring these wines down to low temperatures for the
purpose of precipitating the bitartrates. And it s
these bitartrates, if they re in suspension, that
represent your sediment largely. But it was sometime
after Prohibition that the industry as a matter of
fact, one of our prime (I don t want to mention his
name today) premium wine operators today, a man of
national, even international reputation, went along
for a few years denying that this was the way to make
wine. But he finally had to succumb too, because
marketing needs had changed.
Teiser: What size containers did your wine go out in?
Bacci.: In 50-gallon barrels, yes. Oh, there would be an
occasional one who wanted some 15-gallon kegs, or half-
barrels, what we called half -barrels, the 25-gallon
barrel. But they were most [50-gallon] barrels.
Teiser: Who vxere your customers?
Bacci.: Now we re talking about this Prohibition period? Our
customers represented principally sacramental wine
users. They were your principal customers. But then
you had a sizable clientele, if not in the same volume
as the sacramental wine, that was represented by those
houses who had obtained permission from the Prohibition
Department to use wine in the manufacture of some non-
beverage product or in the processing of some product.
And these were houses for instance, a soup manufacturer
was one of them, a tobacco manufacturer was another,
who would treat his leaf tobacco. They would dip this
leaf Into a blend of certain wines and shake the excess
moisture off and then put it in what they called a
curing room. This was then put on racks and this
tobacco in the course of this curing (it was a temperature
controlled room and I suppose htnnidity controlled too)
would then improve the flavor of the tobacco. They
felt it gave their cigars a certain distinction.
In that period there were some who, for that same
purpose, were using cider to cure. And there was one
that was using something else that I thought was
strange. Now it doesn t come to me. Oh yes, vinegar
was the other one. Of course this vinegar would be
diluted. The principle there perhaps was Just about
Bacci.: the same as the principle used by the other cigar
manufacturers, who were using wine, The "basic
principle would be that of imparting flavor. Oh, some
of them used rum in some form too.
So the great problem in that period was actually
finding who an eligible purchaser might be. Because
you found if these were called, now it comes to me,
these were called "H permits." That s right, "H permits."
That was a designation that had been given to it by the
Prohibition Department. Now if you asked for a list
of the H permittees, then you found you got a list with
maybe 10,000 names on it and you had to sort of read
between the lines and see if anybody in there might be
using something other than alcohol for laboratory
purposes. I remember among other names on this list
was the IRT, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company,
which was the subway and elevated line in the city of
So the job of finding who your eligible buyers
might be was a tedious one. One of the ways of doing
it would be to go past a delicatessen window or a
drugstore and if you saw beef, iron and wine, which
was a very common tonic in those days I suppose it
took the place of our present Geritol beef, iron and
wine, and then you d take a look to see who the
manufacturer was and then try to make contact with him
and see if you could reach some basis for making a sale.
Or in delicatessens you might go looking for wine jelly
manufacturers or some non-beverage delicacy prepared
with wine. As I say, the large bulk of it went the
Teiser: What types of wines were you handling at that time?
Bacci.: They were all types of wines. Basically I remember in
the dry wines, basically in the dry wines it was
burgundy, claret, Zinfandel, chablis, sauterne and
Riesling. They were basically the dry wines, the table
wines. In the dessert wines we ran the whole gamut.
It was port, sherry, muscatel, tokay, angelica angelica
was quite a popular type.
Teiser: What was angelica used for?
Bacci.: Well, it was just another sweet wine. I would say that
the angelica perhaps later became our white port. But
it was a different type of product entirely. It had the
Bacci.: same basic ingredients, same amount of alcohol and
about the same sugar percentage. White port was
actually an angelica that had been treated to remove
some of the color. Angelica had a sort of an amber
color, very much like a sherry. But a white port, of
course, had gotten to the point where they were
looking for it almost colorless. But I don t remember
any white port during the Prohibition period at all.
Teiser: What was the proportion of sweet wines to table wines?
Bacci.: During the Prohibition period? Oh, the proportion of
sweet wines was far, far, far above the table wine.
The table wine represented a very, very small part of
it. Even for sacramental purposes, in the Jewish faith,
they were used to sweet wines. In the Catholic church
they used practically an angelica, so everything was
in that direction. And insofar as manufacturing
purposes were concerned, only a very limited amount of
table wines went into any type of manufacture, you see.
So that s what it represented largely, and we really
went into the Repeal period in pretty much those same
proportions. It was pretty much that.
This is one of the things that I remember in the
pre-Prohibition period. Now they, G. Cella & Brother
would buy wines from, I remember some of the names now.
The R. Martini Wine Company was one of them. Another
one was Samuele Sebastian! . That was another one.
Another one was the Scatena Wine Company. There was
another one there, now it escapes me. But I remember
Teiser: R. Martini had nothing to do with Louis Martini?
Bacci.: No. R. Martini had nothing to do with Louis Martini.
Teiser: Was it a California wine company?
Bacci.: Yes. To give you an idea, even in the pre-Prohibitlon
period now this of course might have been an exception,
having in mind that this was a house catering
principally to Italians they would buy wines in
barrels in thousands of barrel lots from any one of
these three or a combination of the three I have
mentioned here, and there may have been one or two
others that are not clearly in mind at the moment. They
would buy thousands of barrels, and yet to take care of
their dessert wine trade, they would buy from the
California Wine Association, who had a warehouse in New
Bacci.: York City, five barrels of port or five barrels of
sherry. And that would last for an awful long time.
So it was a ratio of thousands of barrels to ten
barrels. That was Just about the ratio of sales at
that particular time. It was that wide. Dessert
wine was something that actually nobody even thought
That may have accounted for the fact that when I
received this assignment to supervise, as a kid, this
Colonial Grape Products branch operation, I didn t
know the difference between a sherry and a muscatel.
And I remember I used to send over to the warehouse
and call my friend Dick and ask him he had no labels
over there of any kind, we would attach the labels in
our little office and I d ask him to make sure to
mark the corks. So the cork would be marked P for a
port and S for a sherry and M for a muscatel. And then
I began to taste the two and began to find the
difference for myself so that in time I could pick
them out without [laughter] having the corks marked.
Well, actually I had been put into the Job with
no special qualifications except that of a custodian,
I suppose. You weren t asked to pass a test where you
could prove your knowledge or show your ignorance of
wines. There was no such thing as that, just "This
is it, Harry." So that s the way the thing started.
PROHIBITION PERIOD PROBLEMS
Teiser: Did you have a pilferage problem?
Bacci.: We didn t have any pilferage in the warehouse. The
temptation was always there, of course. But so far as
pilferage in the warehouse was concerned, I would say
it was absolutely negligible. You had pilferage on the
way to the warehouse. That was an old custom. People
Teiser: Did you Just figure it out in your whole operation on
Bacci.: Well, it was part of the operation. It was always a
very difficult thing too. And the way [laughter] the
pilfering was done was interesting. One of the ways
Bacci.z in which it was done was to remove a hoop mind you,
remove a hoop and put a little gimlet hole into the
space on the barrel occupied by the hoop, and take
the wine out through that little gimlet hole and then
plug the hole, and then put the hoop back again, you
see, so there were no outward signs of pilferage at
all. But although the barrel showed no outward signs
of leakage it wasn t full, you see. [Laughter] We
would run into that occasionally, but not too
frequently. Actually I dare say we ran into it more
frequently before Prohibition than we did during
Prohibition. There was a certain wariness of being
caught handling this forbidden commodity, you see, so
it sort of went down the line. So actually I don t
remember any real pilferage problem.
Telser: No hijacking either, I suppose.
Bacci.: No. We never experienced any, and it s my recollection
that whatever hijacking took place during that period,
it was beer trucks that were hijacked for some reason
or other, and trucks carrying alcohol or spirits
because even those, you see, could be sold legally to
permittees with a very strict control kept over the
operation. To give you an idea how strict the control
was, I remember one little outfit that we had there,
sort of a subsidiary of Cella Brothers-G. Cella &
Brother, a little outfit called the E.G. Lyons Company.
Their roots were in California; they started here.
Well, you ve seen these syrups called Lyons-Magnus or
something? Well, he was a brother of this Lyons.
This one back there was Roger Lyons. I forget the
name of this one.
Anyway, in the course of their operation they
started to make a product that they were licensed to
make by an Italian concern. It was called zabagllone.
And in the course of making this they felt they had
need for rum, and they bought rum, as a little
flavoring, you see. They could go a little farther
with rum than they could with Marsala. So the operation
bought a case of 2*f pints of this rum. One pint was
used in this operation and later was found to be either
unnecessary or unsatisfactory. So monthy, for a number
of years, we were required to file a report of our
Inventory and use, and would show these 23 pints on
hand, 23 pints on hand, 23 pints on hand. And it
finally got to the point where we decided there was
nothing we could do with it: let s file an application
to dump it. You see, you couldn t sell it.
Bacci.: We filed the application, and it was granted, and
this inspector came down I don t know whether I should
mention names here. His name was Harriman, and I
believe he was a member of the Harriman family, the
Averell Harriman family. I don t know how closely
related he was, but I remember the story being at the
time that he was part of an old railroad family and
somehow had gone off in the direction of being a
government gauger or government inspector.
So he came down there to this loft where we
conducted this little E.G. Lyons operation, checked
all the records and then wanted to see the commodities.
And I had my man bring out this case. The 23 pints
were in there, and he said, "Well, where do we dump
it?" So we went over to the sink. And then we set
this little box on a drain board, let us say, and he
proceeded to take these bottles and started to pour
the rum down the sink. My man was standing there with
his tongue hanging out, and I m there with my tongue
hanging out not because I particularly liked rum,
but again you see it was that forbidden fruit. And I
think he dumped about 15 bottles or something, and I
said to him, "Do we really have to dump all of it?"
And he said, "Well, that s what we re supposed to do!"
"Don t we accomplish the same thing? Now you ve
dumped most of it. Now suppose you take two bottles,
I ll take two bottles, and we ll give Otto here two
bottles . " And that s the way the rest of the dumping
was done. [Laughter]
Teiser: So somebody had a heart.
Bacci.: Well, he was set on dumping all of it until a way out
was shown him, see. He wasn t going to take it himself;
it wasn t he and I who were going to take it. But so
long as I suppose there were three of us who were
accomplices of this crime, we were all safe. [Laughter]
Well, that gives you an idea, Miss Teiser, of the
kind of supervision that was exercised over this
There was one period there when actually the
supervisory authorities had been rather liberal in the
way of issuing the perimits for the purchase of
sacramental wines, until there a change was made. I
think the change took place in Chicago. There must
Baccl.: have been some abuses In Chicago some place, and the
first thing you know they stepped up supervision,
and the tightening of issuance of permits extended to
New York. Well then the business practically came to
a dead stop. And they did it in this way: they asked
the rabbi to give a list of all the members of his
congregation who received wine and on what date and in
what quantity. And at that point the thing became a
little bit sticky, I suppose. And all of a sudden the
business practically came to a stop. The synagogues
were just as great for religious purposes as they had
been before, but for some reason or other it wasn t
quite necessary to have wine. That s the way the thing
developed. All of a sudden.
Teiser: What about the Catholic church?
Baoci.: The Catholics? Well, the Catholic church was more
stringent, In that the permit had to be issued by the
bishop of the diocese, you see. It had to receive his
approval first. It didn t have to go through the
Prohibition Department; it was the bishop who placed
his approvel on the priest s application. And the
difference I think was due to the difference in the
church structure. The one was a hierarchical form of
church organization and the other was a very free and
loose and easy thing. As a matter of fact, I remember
some people who claimed to be rabbis and in later
years their own fellow rabbis, would dissociate them
selves from them. I remember one in particular. Here
I won t mention the name.
This rabbi whom we served during the Prohibition
period later went into the wine business after Repeal,
and he wanted to buy kosher wine from us, which meant
wine that had to be produced under the supervision of
a rabbi, at the producing winery. And he wanted to
make certain a certain rabbi was there. No, let s see,
it was the supervising rabbi who had refused to give
his approval, his kosher approval, unless a certain
rabbi at the other end the receiving end would
supervise the operation. Well, I called his attention
to the fact that the owner of the receiving winery was
a rabbi. I said, "Now why do you need another rabbi?
Why add to the cost of the operation? 11 He said, "You
call him a rabbi? He s a chicken killer." [Laughter]
You see, apparently they had various degrees of rabbis,
and he was one of those who was known as a chicken
PRODUCTS FOR HOME WINE MAKING
Teiser: I wanted to ask you about the concentrates and the
grape juice shipped during Prohibition. Did you have
experience with them?
Bacci.: Yes, yes. Now there was very little grape Juice,
actually straight grape juice as such, shipped during
the period. Whatever grape juice was shipped was
actually reconstituted concentrate. The grape juice
would have to be shipped under refrigeration to prevent
its fermenting, and you know that under the law (I
think we covered that before) it was possible to make
wine in the home providing it was not intoxicating in
fact. That was one of the restricing elements there.
So quite a business developed in the way of shipping.
Actually our predecessor company, the California Grape
Products Company Ltd. in New York, had actually kept
alive all during the Prohibition period by packaging
concentrates for the consumer.
Teiser: What sort of packaging was that?
Bacci.: It was a Number 10 can, for the most part. We also
put out five-gallon cans. But it was a sealed Number
10 can, and the instructions told you to take this
can of concentrate and add three cans of water. It
just about reconstituted it to the original juice form,
pretty much the same as your orange concentrates today.
That s pretty much the form of it today. You know,
you buy orange concentrate and you add three containers
to the one container of concentrate.
Teiser: Has the technology of making concentrate changed from
that day to this?
Bacci.: I wouldn t say to any great extent. I think the methods
used are pretty much the same. There are some variations,
however. There are some who have added a refinement
in the way of retrieving the essences that first come
Teiser: That s the same kind of add-back that they do with
Bacci.: That s right, that s right. That s done and while it s
done to some extent here in California it s done
principally with the Concord concentrate. That first
essence that comes off, of course, is a very powerful
Bacci.: part of the flavoring components of the juice itself.
Teiser: So in that particular period it was even marketed in
Baccl.: Yes, and the principal marketer was the California
Grape Products Company Ltd. under a brand they called
Caligrapo, meaning California Grape Products, you see.
And it would be available in all types. As a matter
of fact, I think some might even have been marketed
as "Chateau d Yquem" or [laughter] any kind of a
fanciful name at all. And the home wine user would
then take a can of concentrate, put it in a crock, add
three cans of water, bring it up to a warm room, and
wait for it to ferment. And after that he had a wine.
And some of the results obtained were Just
absolutely phenomenal. I can give you one example of
it, and this one I have mentioned any number of times.
To me it illustrates the point. This man Profumo whom
I mentioned earlier, who was the manager of the Cella
Brothers-G. Cella & Brother, was a very straight-laced
individual. Extremely honest, a very devout church
goer, fearful of doing anything that might blemish his
name, and while he had lent his supervision to this
Colonial Grape Products Company operation, I can say
it was never with any great amount of enthusiasm, you
see, because he was always fearful that something
would happen that would then reflect on him. With the
number of regulations that you had to contend with, it
wasn t unlikely at all that something could happen.
How serious it would be to disclaim any knowledge of
it or disclaim any responsibility for it or be able
to prove that it was not a willful violation is a moot
question. But he was always fearful.
When this little operation went into the idea of
handling concentrates, I remember making a little wine
In a quart bottle. I put eight ounces of concentrate
into this quart bottle and 2b ounces of water, just
ordinary sink water, put a piece of cotton in the neck
and just waited. We had a little safe in the office,
a little old Hosier safe, those little black iron
things and I set this bottle there to ferment. And
sure enough in the course of time I found the bubbling
had stopped and the wine began to clear and there was
still enough gas in it to prevent it from turning sour.
I took that and I decanted it into the usual type of
sample bottle. The samples we gave out were called in
Bacci.: those days "olive oil sample bottles," if I m not
mistaken. It was a little four-once bottle, and it
was the usual thing. We used no other bottle for
giving samples to people. So I put a little bit of
that in it one day and tasted it and I thought, "This
tastes awfully good. Let me see if Mr. Profumo thinks
So I went in to Mr. Profumo with a glass and I
poured a little bit into this glass. I said, "Mr.
Profumo, I d like to get your opinion of this." He
went through the motions of smelling it and tasting it
and he said, "That s good, very good wine, Harry."
I said, "How old is it? How old would you say it is,
Mr. Profumo?" He said, "Well, it s not old, it s not
old. It s not young either." I said, "Well, how old
would you say it is?" "Well, I d say anywhere between
three and four years." And I looked at him and said,
"Would it surprise you to know it s three weeks old?"
Now all the results of course weren t that
dramatic. There were people who would misuse the
product. Their room temperatures were wrong. It
would get too cold, the fermentation would get stuck
all kinds of things would happen. But it apparently
filled the gap for an awful lot of people for a long
period of time.
Now that was one type of operation, selling the
concentrate itself. Another type of operation was
that of taking the concentrate, reconstituting it in
the keg, and shipping it to the home consumer. And
that was sold at very fancy prices. Not the price
that we realized; we received only a very nominal
price. But these were generally sold to a distributor,
who had some fanciful name "Sunshine Vineyards of
California," some such thing as that and we would
then make shipments in his name to his own customers.
He would pay us the base price.
Well, to give you an idea, the lowest price that
I can remember for a five-gallon keg not what we
received but what they sold it for a five-gallon keg
of diluted concentrate, reconstituted grape juice a
five-gallon keg would sell for about $15 delivered,
$3 a gallon. There were no taxes, nothing in between.
These kegs were equipped with what they called
a fermentation bung. It was a little wooden bung, a
Bacci.: little wooden stopper, and it was placed in the head.
A hole would be drilled into the head of the keg, and
this thing was inserted in it up to a point where a
rubber band let me see if I can give you a description
of it; you can t draw a picture in your interview
it actually was a little cylindrical bung. Down from
the top of it a little ridge had been cut around the
circumference, over which ridge a rubber band was
placed. Now through the length of the cylinder a hole
was partially drilled, and this met holes that were
around this little ridge. So when the product would
ferment the gas would be given off and expand the
rubber band, and as the gases subsided then of course
the rubber band would form a closure, you see. And
that was a very common thing. Ihe only trouble with
it was this: that sometimes these little holes they
were very small holes, might have been l/l6th of an
inch in diameter some of these little holes would
become plugged up with the grape juice, in which case
if the room was good and warm the keg would explode.
But there was a tremendous amount of business of
that kind done, and that type of operation, that type
of sale of reconstituted grape juice was for the most
part done with the first families of the nation. And
actually you 1 11 find that these distributors would go
looking for doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers,
stock brokers that s the kind of people they sold
this product to. And so far as the department was
concerned, the Prohibition Department was concerned,
so long as the end product was not intoxicating in
fact, which is a rather difficult thing to prove, it
was apparently all right.
Where some of these fellows would get themselves
into trouble would be when they would claim, for
instance, in their enthusiasm to make a sale, they
would tell the fellow how high he could get, for
instance, if he waited for it to ferment out, you know.
I know of one instance where the fellow making the sale
made the sale to a Prohibition agent. The fellow
making the sale was a few sheets to the wind when he
made the sale, and when the agent asked him, "Will this
develop a kick?" he said, "Well, look at me." [Laughter]
Well, that was a great period. It was a great
period certainly in the history of the wine industry of
the country, and it was certainly a great period In the
Bacci.: history of the country because I can t think of anything
being more idiotic than that attempt at what was
described by President Hoover as a "noble experiment. n
It was Just unbelievable, the things that were done
and the attempts that were made to protect the public
from this horrible alcoholic beverage. It was just
unbelievable. As I look back sometimes I still shake
my head in disbelief. I can t get myself to believe
that I lived through that kind of a period. I get the
same feeling, for instance, Miss Teiser, when I watch
TV and watch the things that have to do with the rise
of Hitler and the atrocities that he committed, and I
cannot get myself to believe that as an adult I lived
through that period and didn t have the same sense of
revulsion that I have now. But it s true. It was
there, but I don t remember having sensed it at the
time, you see.
Teiser: At the time of Repeal, what happened? How did that
change your occupational problems?
Bacci.: Well, at the time of Repeal the first thing that
happened was that the laws that were written in the
various states were at complete variance with our
idea as to how wines should be sold and distributed.
To begin with, we had not experienced that kind of
individual state control, and no two states having the
same rules and regulations, and state monopolies and
the restriction in many states, including the state of
New York where we were situated, of not being able to
sell to the consumer in anything larger than a 15-gallon
container. That 15 gallons was written in there as a
compromise with those who were advocating going
entirely in bottles. They, of course, were aided and
abetted by the control authorities themselves who felt
that the free and easy distribution of wine to the
consumer in bulk containers would make control much
more difficult than it would be in a small container.
And you had certain members of the industry who, for
reasons of their own, felt that that was the way to
go, too. So all of a sudden we found ourselves having
to face an entirely new type of operation.
We attempted on a small scale to do a little
bottling for distribution principally to wholesalers.
Baccl.: But our business continued to be that principally of
distributing in bulk. In the state of New York you
couldn t sell even a so-called wholesaler anything
larger than a 15-gallon container. And of course that
would make it impossible for him to bottle. No dealer
would buy a 15-gallon container to bottle from.
The sale of wine in 50-gallon containers was
limited to winery licensees in the state of New York
to which they, for some reason or other, had given the
classification of "DW. " It was supposed to stand for
"distillers of wine," mind you. They had no distilling
operations at all. They had merely little places where
most of them intended to bottle. Later, by some
interpretation given to the law, they were not permitted
to bottle. They were told that in order to bottle
they had to produce. And that was a long fight I found
myself involved in in 1935, when we finally succeeded
in getting an Attorney General s ruling which still
has the full force and effect of law in the state of
New York, and in which he decided that the act of
blending wines also constituted manufacture and that
you didn t have to actually crush grapes. My argument
at the time and I was in the forefront of it, and I
had gone to the Attorney General. As a matter of fact
I remember doing it against the wishes of a group with
which I was associated. This was a group of representa
tives of California wine producers who seemed to find
it to their interest to restrict the number of people
who could bottle. They felt that they wanted the
bottling operation limited to themselves. So when I
got that feeling from them, I told them, "Well, if
we re not going to do it together, I m going to do it
on my own. And I will tell you that I m going to do
it, and I m going to do everything I can to get this
I then found it possible to become affiliated
with an organization of wholesalers who had an interest
in doing bottling, called the New York Institute of
Wine and Spirits Distributors, I think it was called.
And it was through them that we prepared a sort of a
brief and circulated it amongst members of the industry
and had them sign. And that became the opening wedge
to obtain the ruling. And, incidentally, the ruling
was over the "dead body" of the Commissioner of
Alcoholic Beverage Control of New York State, who was
a former police commissioner, and before that a police
sergeant in his youth a man by the name of Edward P.
Bacci.: Mulrooney, who was I believe the very first New York
State Commissioner of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
We contended in the brief that if I take the wines
of producer B and I blend these two wines, that the
resulting product is neither the product of manufacture
of producer A, nor the product of manufacture of
producer B, but it is my product at this point. Now
then you ve started to play around with words. And
by the time we got through they bought the whole thing,
the whole package. And to this day, whatever bottling
is done in the state of New York by other than wine
producers, that is those who crush and ferment wine,
is done as the result of that ruling. And I don t know
how many times in the course of my being there when
we were operating both a bottling plant and selling
wine in bulk, and wines all came from California from
our parent plant some inspector would come along and
he d say, "Well, where are your crushing facilities?"
And we d say, "Well, we don t crush here." "What
do you mean you don t crush?" he would say. "You can t
have a license then." And I d say, "Well, why not?"
"Well, because you don t crush. You have to produce
wine." I d ask, "Well, are you familiar with the
Attorney General s ruling?" "No." And I always had
it in a very handy place and out would come the ruling
and I d show it to him and he d read it and say, "Well,
why don t they tell us this?" "I don t know. Don t
tell me; you d better go up and ask them."
So it was one of those things that for some reason
or other was always kept in a hidden drawer in the
Alcoholic Beverage Control Department where even the
members of the enforcement personnel were not given the
opportunity of familiarizing themselves with it and
would go out making asses of themselves making requests
of people that were contrary to the law itself, by
reason of the Attorney General s interpretation of it.
Teiser: Did this have implications with regard to the sale of
California wines in New York particularly then?
Bacci.: Oh, yes! Oh, yes, because California wines were the
ones that were basically affected by it, you see. And
mind you, in that period the distribution of California
wines in bottles was not as widespread as it is today.
Now this ruling took place in 1935- Now you take the
great Gallo organization. They didn t go the bottle
route until about 19^-1 six years later. Up to that
Bacci.: time we were engaged in the sale of wines in bulk, and
to whom? To the very people who would then bottle it
themselves if they were permitted to bottle it, you see.
Had they been stopped from bottling it, there wouldn t
have been anything to take its place at the time. The
industry since then, of course, has developed to the
point where most of the major organizations market
almost entirely in bottle rather than in bulk.
Teiser: How did your organization happen to stay all these
years in bulk for the most part?
Bacci.: Well, I suppose because of the type of bulk operation
we conducted over the years. To begin with, we had
the good fortune of affiliating ourselves with some
of the top wine houses in the country, with people who
appreciated quality and with people who appreciated
reliability and dependability. When the great shortage
came along in 1944 and 19^5 [they] found that
California Grape Products continued to supply its
customers when others found it more convenient to take
whatever they had in the way of inventory and put it
in bottles. And of course other competitors have
developed since of a different kind.
But I think the answer to your question, Miss
Teiser, would be: actually I think it s due in large
part to the type of trade that we established for
ourselves. When I tell you that we have on our books
today people whom we ve been serving for 33 years,
people whom we ve been serving for 20 and 25 years.
And with some of those, we represent their sole source
of California wine supply. Now there must be some
reason for it. Perhaps the answer to the question
might better be given by the customer rather than by
Teiser: Does a large percentage of your wine go East now?
Teiser: To be bottled, in the East?
Bacci.: It s either bottled or blended. It s used to blend
the wines produced in other areas, to get a flavor
reaction that meets the needs of their trade.
PRICE FLUCTUATIONS AND STABILIZATION PLANS
Baccl.: The bulk end has not always been the most profitable
end of the wine business. At times it s been a rather
difficult one, because you have in bulk wine a
peculiar sort of commodity in that it fluctuates
wildly in sales value. I guess the best way to
illustrate it is 19^6. In 1946, at vintage time in
the fall, wines were being sold at $1.40 a gallon. By
June of 1947 those same wines were being sold at 40 cents
a gallon six months later.
Now the man who had developed brand identity didn t
suffer that change to quite the same extent as did the
man who was supplying wines in bulk, you see. We went
over this 1946 period when, due to the restrictions
placed upon the use of anything that might be used in
foodstuffs for the manufacture of alcohol, grapes were
bid to fantastically high prices. In February of 4?
I went out on what I ve always looked upon as one of
my first speaking engagements in behalf of the industry.
I was asked if I would go to New Orleans where the Wines
and Spirits Wholesalers of America were meeting. And
I went there to make a pitch for wines as part of a
panel. And there I met some of our customers, and there
I met one who tried to grab me by the lapel. Up to
that time people grabbed me by the lapel to make
certain they would get some supply from me, but I ran
into an entirely new set of conditions here.
I was still at the convention when one came over
to me and said, "Did you hear that so-and-so is offering
wines at $1.25?" From $1.40 to $1.25. Now bulk wine
doesn t permit that kind of a margin. There s no room
in there for it. I said, "No, I haven t. It can t be."
Well, before I left New Orleans I found the price was
$1.15 this was after three days, mind you. I went
from there to Chicago, and in Chicago I was told that
the price had dropped to $1. This in Just a matter of
days $1. And I then went off to Buffalo, I remember,
and there I found that the price was 75 cents. And by
the time June 30th, 19*4-7, came around, we found it
necessary to mark down our tremendous inventory to what
was then the going price, and I don t think we had the
courage to go all the way because of the effect it
would have on our statement. But as I recall it went
down to somewhere around 50 cents. This was Just in a
matter of a very, very short period of time.
Bacci.: All of this was due largely to an oversupply
having been created at fantastically high grape prices,
due to errors in Judgement that were made as to what
the demand for this product would be on the market.
And that was the history of 19^7. It was Just a
disastrous year for anybody who had any inventory of
wines at all. And the unfortunate part of it is that
the errors in Judgement that dragged the rest of us along
with them were made in pretty high places. They were
not made by little nobodies. These were people who
had almost unlimited resources, unlimited money to
make purchases with, and they Just bid the price of
grapes up to a point where, I remember I had stopped
buying at $100 a ton. I said, "We ve got enough now
at $100 a ton. We re not going to gamble any more
than that." And that then went, as I remember it, to
as high as $125 a ton. And, mind you, at $125 a ton
what they were buying were the lowliest type of grapes
that might have been suitable only for distilling
material, and yet they were bidding them up to &125 a
Teiser: So then it was the growers...
Bacci . : Well , no , not the growers . Actually it was the
purchaser of the growers grapes, because the grower
had gotten his $125 and he went home to sleep. The
fellow who bought it from him then had to sweat it out
for Just as long as he had any of that inventory on
hand, you see.
Teiser: So it was the buyer s decision that made it go so
Bacci.: That s right.
Teiser: And the growers got what they could.
Bacci.: That s right.
Teiser: Was this the Rosenstiel maneuver? Others have discussed
Teiser: The whole problem of price stabilization in the
industry has been...
Bacci.: It s been a very difficult one, because of the diversified
nature of the industry. You see, you have engaged in
Baccl.: the wine Industry people who own vineyards, who grow
their own grapes; people who don t grow any grapes;
people who grow part of their grapes. You have
cooperatives in it, where the cooperative itself, of
course, doesn t grow any grapes but its members do.
So you have this complex kind of a situation, and the
development of any kind of a stabilization plan, it s
been proved over the years (and I ve been involved in
many of them) , will last just as long as the immediate
emergency seems to have been settled, and at that
point they want to revert to this great theory and
philosophy of rugged Individualism. And then get
themselves into another mess and then go looking for
another program to dig them out of the hole again.
And that program will last again for Just so
long as people begin to feel Just a little bit more
comfortable; then at that point you find that again
they want to revert to the old, and they begin
bickering over the extent to which one member of the
industry may be benefitted to a greater extent than
another by this particular program. And human nature
comes into play. And that s been the history of it
right from the very beginning.
That grape crush program that we established, I
think it was 1961 or 62, somewhere in there...
Teiser: That was called the set-aside program?
Bacci. : That was the set-aside program. That program came into
being largely as the result of tremendous wine
Inventories and fear that these wine inventories would
Just crush everybody and that unless they were disposed
of in some orderly way, that unless some limitations
were placed upon these inventories, everybody would go
down the drain with everyone else. And that program
came into being in 1961, and while there was a certain
amount of opposition to it, it came into being with a
feeling that it was going to work. And it did work.
It did work, at least to the extent these inventories
actually increased in value and everybody holding
Inventory benefited from them. The growers themselves
benefited to the extent that their grapes, in the
subsequent season, were sold at a much more favorable
price than they otherwise would have been.
But then people began to think in terms of what
the cost of the program was. It was $12 a ton they
were paying for the processing of the set-aside, and
Bacci. : the grower was supposed to pay that. He looked upon
that as being an Imposition, and I kept trying to
tell them, "This $12 a tone is the insurance premium
you are paying to make certain that you get $KJ per
ton net. And without the payment of some kind of an
insurance you re not going to be able to get the $*K)
a ton." Well, sure enough, they allowed the program
to die and no sooner dead than bingo I they went right
back to where they were before.
And, as a matter of fact, we found that people
who had supported the program when it first came into
being felt unduly restricted. And they became opponents
at that point. The campaign for the renewal of that
marketing order became a very bitter one, and it wound
up in the program not receiving the necessary number of
assents, and died.
Telser: Vfhat year did it die in?
Bacci.: I think it died in 1963. And as I remember the 63
season, it was the very kind of a year that the program
would have helped an awful lot of people who suffered
a lot of hardship. Now no one looks upon any kind of
regimentation, under any kind of a program or under any
kind of control or restriction, with any great amount
of enthusiasm. But when it becomes the choice, as
seems so apparent so frequently when it becomes the
choice between not being regimented and starving, and
being regimented and eking out an existence, I don t
have too much difficulty in coming to a conclusion
as to which direction I should go as a businessman.
But some people look upon these things differently.
Teiser: Haven t there been other similar programs?
Bacoi.: The cling peach growers, of course, are in a program,
and the pear growers. They ve had successful programs.
The Raisin Bargaining Association came into being to
provide a means for raisin growers to bargain with the
processors for the price of their commodity. It has
had two successful years, and there is under discussion
at the present time, in Just its most initial stages,
a program for growers of the grapes that go to the
wineries to give some thought to the formation of a
bargaining association, rather than to leave each
grower to his own mercy and his own ability to negotiate
a favorable deal with a purchaser of grapes. And it is
coming. I feel confident that it s coming.
Bacci.: Now how long lasting it will be is a question that
I always have in the back of my mind, and it has to do
with almost any program, based upon past experience.
Oh, there were some other programs. There was one
called a grape stabilization marketing order; I don t
remember the name of that one. That was one that
didn t provide set-aside but you were practically given
quotas as to how much of your inventory you could sell.
That had a successful year or two, and under that we
were paying assessments. They were not spent; they
were supposed to go into a stabilization fund of some
kind that would then be used for the purchase of
surpluses. They went into the fund, under the custody
of the state. But when that fund began to build up
to sizable proportions, the very people who contributed
toward the fund thought they could make better use of
the money, so they discontinued the program in order
that they could receive refunds of the contributions
they had made.
Teiser: When was that? 50 s?
Bacci.: That was in the 50 s someplace.
RECENT MABKETING ORDERS
Baoci.: Then most recently, another program, a State Marketing
Order program. This is the one that was known as the
"Grape Products Marketing Order. 11 That was one under
which a prima facie cost was established under the
program, as a result of a survey made by the state,
and you were not permitted to sell your bulk wines for
less than that price. Well, of course, it wasn t long
before you began to find that those who were buying
had no enthusiasm for a program that caused them to
purchase their wines at a higher price. So they became
vigorous opponents. And then you had the usual
Jealousies and suspicions amongst industry members.
If they weren t doing too much business, they were
certain that somebody else was stealing all of the
business at a price less than the prima facie price
that had been fixed.
Then we had a change in politics in the state.
The program had come into being under one Director of
Agriculture, and he was succeeded by another of the
Bacci.: opposing political faith whose own basic convictions
were opposed apparently to these kinds of programs
and he never showed too great enthusiasm for it. And
the next thing you know the National Association of
Wine Bottlers, who were the principal buyers of wines
outside of the state not in the state they contested
the order. In fact it went to the Court of Appeals.
Anyway between one argument and the other, last April
when it came up for assent it failed to receive the
necessary amount of assents, by a very, very small
percentage, but it was enough to defeat the order.
And so we re back to each of us doing business
individually, perfectly free to sell at a low price
if we want to, so long as we don t do it "for the
purpose of injuring a competitor. M Now how are you
going to sell below cost without that being your
purpose? [Laughter] That s your story of these
Teiser: It s surprising the industry survived.
Bacci. : Yes, right. Well, you see, an industry that finds
itself in difficulties any industry, I assume, perhaps
it is more true of agricultural Industries where they
feel they have greater liberties under the federal law
to engage in certain types of cooperative activities
it s perfectly natural for them, in moments of distress,
to reach out and seek out some kind of help somewhere
along the line, and it s always some kind of an
authority that you have to look to, whether it be
state or federal, because these programs, if they were
left entirely on a voluntary basis, would fail
A program that we have today, take the Wine
Advisory Board program as an example. If people were
to contribute voluntarily to a fund to accomplish all
the things the Wine Advisory Board has accomplished,
that program would have died years ago, because it gets
to the point where people resent being singled out to
make contributions when the guy next door isn t holding
up his share. That s one of the reasons why this program
in this country, and in California, has been so eminently
successful, whereas similar programs, patterned somewhat
after that in England, for instance, have either failed
or are in the process of failing, because of having
been on a voluntary basis.
(Interview with Harry Baccigaluppi , San Francisco,
February 27, 1969)
Bacci.: In April of 196l, the National Association of Wine
Bottlers held its convention in San Francisco.
Although not a member, I had arranged to attend the
luncheon on the first day of that meeting.
Arriving early, their business session was still
in progress and I heard their President Mr. Al Furman
of Richmond, Virginia, tell his members that he, too,
had heard the rumors with respect to there being under
discussion a Federal Marketing Order.
He added that the National Association of Wine
Bottlers had not been consulted but he had been assured
that the wine bottlers would not be affected by the
At the luncheon which followed I was asked to say
a few words. Having long enjoyed the patronage and
friendship of many members of this group, I felt that
I owed it to them to present the picture exactly as I
After greeting and bidding them welcome, I
remember having said something to them substantially
"This morning I heard your president report to you
that the rumors of a new Marketing Order being under
discussion are true. He went on to tell you that he
was uninformed as to the details of what such an order
might contain, but that he had been given assurances
that wine bottlers would not be affected by it.
"Having no knowledge whatsoever of what has been
under discussion, I cannot say to you that in my
opinion you will or will not be affected by it. All
that I can assure you of is that Marketing Orders come
into being only when those who are directly involved
are dissatisfied with conditions as they are and with
the returns they are receiving. Stated differently,
this means that there is no point in going through the
agonizing efforts of developing a Marketing Order unless
it gives assurances of bringing better returns and that
means higher prices.
Bacci.: "While I have the opportunity, I want to tell you
how vulnerable I believe you to be as individuals and
as an organized group. You are vulnerable first
because the prices at which you have been buying are
leaving you little or no room for profit and; secondly,
you are vulnerable in that the price at which you are
buying brings no profit to the man who is selling it
to you, so that your source is also vulnerable. For
the life of me I don t know how anybody can be any more
vulnerable under this double set of conditions."
They all sat there sort of stunned from having
somebody give it to them so straight from the shoulder.
When the luncheon was over, one of the group came
over to me and he said, "You ve joined the other group."
I said, "What group, Tony?" "Well, the other
group the other group."
I said, "Well, there is no other group, Tony. We
are all in this pool together and it s either sink or
swim. All I was trying to do was to call your attention
to a condition which if you had not realized it before,
you had better realize soon. You re buying a commodity
at less than the fellow who is selling it to you can
afford to sell it to you for and you, in turn, are
selling it to your trade for a price that you can t
afford to sell it at."
In August of that year 196l the Grape Crush
Marketing Order became a reality. Almost overnight
all dessert wines which had been selling at ^7-1/2 cents
and below went to 75 cents.
Mr. A. Setrakian was made chairman of the governing
groups under that order and I served as vice-chairman
throughout its life.
In July, 1963, another referendum was held under
the Order and after a very bitter fight failed to
obtain the necessary number of assents. It officially
terminated on June 30
I don t think I made any friends at all on that
day of the Wine Bottlers Convention. Yet if the same
group were to meet under the same set of circumstances
and I felt inclined to be as honest with them now as I
did then, I wouldn t have anything else to say to them
than that. And it s true, it s true. There s no
Loading grapes into gondolas at the Italian Vineyard Company, Guasti, in the 1930 s.
Photograph courtesy of Harry BacciRaluppi .
Bacci.: question about it.
And that s one of the things that you have to
contend with on all these marketing orders or
Stabilization orders of any kind. There s only one
basic objective, regardless of the route that is taken
to reach that objective. And the one objective is that
of increasing the returns. They begin to discuss
marketing orders only when conditions become distressed.
They never do at times when they re prospering. What
they re trying to do is get themselves out of a hole.
And when that happens somebody has to be affected in
the way of paying higher prices, and that s the thing
that you re caught with all the time because the fellow
who has to pay higher prices raises objections to
paying any higher prices than he would have to pay in
a freer economy without giving any thought to the fact
that the fellow who is being forced to sell at less
than profitable prices, his day on earth is limited.
He is not going to be around for long, because he just
can t afford to continue engaging in a business where
there are no profit possibilities where he s constantly
ITALIAN VINEYARD COMPANY EVENTS
Telser: You came to California in
Bacci.: 19^3 yes.
Teiser: What was the immediate cause?
Bacci.: Well, the reason for it was this. Mr. Lanza had
negotiated for the acquisition of the Italian Vineyard
Company. In fact he called me and asked me to come
out in the month of July and take a ride out to Guasti
with him. I met him in LQS Angeles. I really thought
that I was going out there to make an inspection of
these properties, only to find after I got out there
that I was brought into the office and introduced, and
sat there. The first thing you know Mr. Lanza
disappeared, and I assumed that he would be coming
back later and I would have an opportunity to pass
Judgement on this acquisition, only to have him come
back and say, "Harry, all right, ready, let s go."
And I said, "Where are we going?" He said, "Oh, back
Bacci.: to Los Angeles. We re all through here." And I
thought, why did I come out here in the first place?
And I remember asking permission to at least take a
look at this fabulous executive residence I had heard
about, you see, and took a running tour through it and
even got lost in the operation. And then came out and
we went back to Los Angeles.
That was in the month of July, it seems to me.
But by that time his negotiations had progressed and
had been completed and later I came out temporarily,
I think it was about the first of November in ^3.
We were then to take possession. And I was made the
vice-president and the general manager of the operation.
Teiser: Did Mr. Lanza often work ahead of giving out information
on what he was doing?
Bacci.: I don t know that he would be working ahead, but he
always had such a fertile mind and such a dynamic
personality that you found that you were being consulted
but you weren t ever too sure that you were being
listened to, you see. But at least you had the benefit
of having been consulted.
But there was no consultation, I can assure you,
as to whether he should or should not acquire this
Teiser: He Just brought you out to look at it?
Bacci.: To look at it, right. And then I later became the
vice-president and the general manager of it, and we
took off at that point. And I can say honestly that I
look upon my brief period there as perhaps one of the
most challenging periods in my entire career in this
industry, and one of the most gratifying and satisfying.
And I have never felt, in all modesty, that it was due
to any special talent of mine other than to recognize
that things were wrong and ought to be corrected. As
we stepped into that thing we found that actually you
couldn t possibly have found a business that had
operated in a more disorganized fashion.
We found that employee relations were Just about
at the lowest point possible. Customer relations weren t
too bad, because actually you were in the position of
being the supplier of a commodity that was in short
supply, so customers were all very nice. But community
Bacci.: relations were horrible, stockholder relations were
unsatisfactory, and it was just a mess that s the best
way you could describe it.
And in a short time, just by being a human being,
by reacting or thinking of people reacting to certain
sets of facts in the same way you would react yourself,
changes were brought about. And, as I say, it was the
most gratifying thing to see this thing in a period of
a very, very few months just make a complete flopover
and to the point where actually we were the most highly
regarded people in the community. Our relations in
the community couldn t have been better. The relations
with our employees were just magnificent. In fact. the
people in the community just looked at this operation
almost with awe, wondering what could have happened so
fast. But, as I say, when you start with a situation
so bad, you don t have to be a genius to change it.
I remember the first stockholders meeting, which
of course included a lot of the old stockholders of
the old Italian Vineyard Company, you see. I remember
those annual stockholder meetings were always made an
occasion for quite a celebration in the past, and we
continued that tradition, which included having a big
lunch at the executive residence where they had
unlimited facilities. You could seat, in that dining
room, 75 or 80 people, it seems to me, at a great big
Teiseri Did you live in that residence while you were there?
Bacci.: I lived there for a short period of time, for a very
short period of time, and then rented a home in Upland.
I remember that first stockholders meeting. I
remember I was to present the annual report. And I
remember saying to them that I wanted to assure them
in the presentation of this report that I accepted no
particular credit for it because under the existing
marketing conditions any donkey could have done equally
as well. They were all amused at that, but to the
old stockholders this was a completely different kind
of an operation. They were getting dividends in amounts
that were just unheard of before. Our employees...
Teiser: How many stockholders had you then?
Bacci.: I forget exactly how many stockholders we had.
Teiser: Were there closer to 100 or 20?
Bacci.: I d say there were closer to 20 than 100. But, you see,
these old stockholders were all people who were amongst
the original stockholders of the company, who had been
actually partners with Secondo Guasti in the development
of this company but had never reaped the benefits.
They had something there that they pointed to with
pride, but they had never reaped any financial benefits
from it until we came into the picture , and then money
really started to flow, because we had an entirely
different concept of how to run this operation.
I remember, this one has to do with employee
relations that actually shook me emotionally. Now,
let s see. We came in there in late ^3. In 1(4, at
Christmas time, I was just wondering: now what can we
do to show our employees our appreciation for what
they ve done? I found that there were limitations
imposed by the federal government. You see, at that
time there were wage freezes. There were even freezes
on any Christmas gifts that you might give, unless you
had traditionally given them. And there was no record
of ever having given any Christmas gifts. But they did
have one exception.
They said if you didn t have a record of making
gifts, you could give a maximum of $25 > and that didn t
seem to set right with me, until I hit upon the idea
that I was going to give every employee who had been
in the service of the company for at least one year a
$25 war bond, feeling first that it would give them
something they never had before, it would give them a
stake in an effort that was a national effort that
perhaps might encourage them to buy more bonds on their
own. But in addition to that I thought rather than
giving them cash I was giving them something that for
just so long as they held it preserved our company s
Identity. They would remember where it came from.
So Christmas eve came, and I remember that among
other things I wanted to do was to have a celebration.
We were going to have a Christmas party, so to speak.
And I had called in the vineyard superintendent, what
was his name oh, Fred Signorio who was a picture-book
image of what a vineyard superintendent should look
like: tall, handsome, had been around there, practially
born on that vineyard, his father had been one of the
original stockholders there. I talked to Fred and said,
Bacci.: "Fred, this is what I m thinking. We want to give a
Christmas party here , and I want everybody to attend. "
He said, "Oh, we can t do that. We can t handle that."
I said, "Well, why not?" He said, "Because the whites
and the Mexicans Just don t get along." I said, "Why
not?" I couldn t understand this. I couldn t under
stand why people of different ethnic groups couldn t
get along, to the point at least where you couldn t
have a big luncheon or a big party for them.
He said, "Well, they get drunk." I said, "Who?"
He said, "The Mexicans." I said, "Don t the whites?"
He said, "Not quite as fast." I said, "Look, Fred.
If that s the only question, if that s the only reason,
we re going to have a party. And you are going to run
it. We re going to pay all the expenses connected
with it. You arrange it, you set it up, and it s going
to be you and Pat Goodrich," another man who was the
assistant winery superintendent. We had almost 5000
acres of vineyard there. It was known as the world s
Teiser: Was Signorio Mexican?
Bacci. : He was of Italian background.
So we hold this party. And I put Fred and this
other man in a position where I said. to them, "Look,
this party will last for Just as long as you say it
should. Remember, the responsibility for it is yours."
We started about one o clock or 12 o clock, I forget
what it was, but to me the whole thing was emotionally
disturbing to the point where when the thing was all
over I went home and went to bed and stayed in bed all
Christmas day. It was a combination of Joy and tension,
because the thing had worked out so well.
First the men came in from the field. These
Mexicans came in from the field with their long pruning
shears stuck in their pockets or their little holder
they had here. They sat on one side of the room, and
the whites were on the other side of the room. So
again, you see, we were not accomplishing what we wanted.
The women had gone all out in preparing for the
party. We even had a bakery on the premises that had
been established there many years before by the founders
of the Italian Vineyard Company. This was a sort of a
self-contained little community there. And they
barbecued a steer in this little bakery, and the women
Bacci.: had prepared salads and all kinds of things, and we
had wine in just unlimited quantities. They just
went to a table and helped themselves.
Well, the thing just wasn t jelling in the way
that I wanted it to jell, and then I thought, well,
let s get them singing. I ve always been a great
believer in song, in community song as an element for
bringing people together. And my theory has always
been that at least for the period they re singing they
have to be together. They have to be together. They
may not think alike, they may not live alike, they may
not completely like each other. But if they re going
to sing together, during the time it takes to do this
singing they re going to feel as one. So there was a
young lady there who had a good voice, and I asked her
if there was anybody in the Mexican colony who could
sing well, and she said yes. Well, I had the white
girl, who also spoke Mexican, had her sing "Silent
Night, Holy Night" in Mexican. And the Mexican girl,
I had her sing "Silent Night, Holy Night" in English.
And that started the thing going.
And then we also had some of the government gaugers
there, and I found that they were sort of humming along.
They were in constant attendance at this plant, of
course. I found that they were sort of humming along
while this singing was going on, and so I had them form
a quartet, and they started singing. Well, this thing
just blossomed. This thing just blossomed!
And I just watched the operation, greeted every
body. Well, I don t know how long we went. It must
have been until around four o clock when Fred came over
to me and said, "I think this is it." He said, "How
are you going to stop it?" I said, "Leave it to me.
I ll stop it." It couldn t have been two minutes
later when Pat Goodrich came over to me and said, "This
is it, I think. I think we ve gone far enough." They
had begun to see signs of some people getting just a
little bit boisterous and feared it might lead to
trouble, based upon their past experience.
So with that, Miss Teiser, I had taken a waste-
basket that s all I had a wastebasket and there was
a piece of Christinas paper around there, and I put this
Christinas paper over the top of this wastebasket. In
the wastebasket I put all the war bonds, made out to
each of them individually, and had a ribbon tied
around it and just stood on one of the benches. And we
Bacci.: had some music there too. I asked them to play some
kind of a fanfare, and I got up onto the bench and
greeted them and told them how happy I was to have
them all here today and we didn t want to be selfish,
we knew that this was a day of great festivity in
their individual homes, we knew they wanted to get
home to their families, and we were going to let them
go. But not until we ve had a chance to present
something to them that Santa Glaus had Just delivered
So I punched a hole in this paper and started
calling out names. And that was the emotional part of
it, because here were men, especially amongst the
Mexicans, who had never been anything but a number on
the payroll there, and found themselves being called
by name by the boss. They d come up and I d present
the bond and shake hands with them. You don t have
any idea what that did for that colony. You have no
idea what it meant to that colony. It just took that
Mexican colony, that was just a segregated group, and
I remember walking down the street after that and
somebody irould come up to me and say, "Mr. Boss, Signer
Boss, my name Bamiro. Remember? My name Hamiro."
They felt as though they were part of the community.
The end result of it was it was a period when
there was a great amount of proselyting, I suppose
that s what they call it, where farmers were stealing
each other s employees by offering them a higher rate
of pay we suffered none at all. We had Just about the
most loyal group that you could possibly have any place.
And I ve always felt that it must have been one
of the things that contributed greatly to the interest
developed by Garrett in acquiring this facility. It
was a matter of fact that, after they decided to
acquire it, they too began to sense a sort of cleavage
developing in their personnel; they found, for instance,
that the people who had been in the employ of Garrett
and in the employ of the Italian Vineyard Company just
didn t see eye to eye, because when these negotiations
were going on stories started to circulate that the
Garretts don t like Mexicans and the Garretts don t
like Italians. I forget the details.
And I remember they decided to give a dinner one
night after they had acquired it, a dinner for all of
their employees. And they selected as the site for
this dinner a little inn on the property of the Italian
Bacci.: Vineyard Company. It was called the Guasti Inn. It
was run by a lady, a Mrs. Pertusati and her daughter,
and it was very well known in that area. It had been
there for years, and they served very good food.
Anyway these tables were set up, you know in a
U shape, and everybody from both companies had been
invited. The management personnel of Garrett were up
at the head table. I elected to sit with the hoi poloi.
Mr. Hoy Weller, whose name you ve gotten in Mr. Lanza s
interview, came down and said, "Harry, we want you to
sit with us up here." I said, "No, Roy, it won t
accomplish the purpose that you want, that you have in
mind. Let me sit here." These people had lined up
at the table with all of the Italian Vineyard group
on one side and all of the Garrett group on the other
side. It was just the complete opposite of what they
had hoped to accomplish.
Well, we get down to just about the dessert part
of it and of course wine is flowing very freely. Mr.
Weller comes down again and says, "Harry, this thing
is falling flat on its face. Can you do anything to
pull it together?" I said I d try. So I asked him,
I said, "When you get back there, have whoever was
acting chairman or whatnot, tell him that you d like
to call on me, the former manager of the Italian
Vineyard Company, to say a few words."
So I got up to the front, expressed a few words
of greeting, told them how glad I was to have been
included in the group, and said, "But I m not here to
make any speeches. You ve heard me talk before. But
I have a purpose in coming up here," I said. "What the
Garrett people don t know is that we have some wonderful
voices around here." I said, "Now you" I called a
Garrett man, in fact it was the superintendent of the
vineyards of Garrett, and I called the superintendent
of the vineyards of the Italian Vineyard Company, and
I think we got either four or five of them up there,
and I started them singing.
And again, the thing Just exploded. The problem
they had after that was getting the people to go home.
And that was the turning point there in their relations
with their employees. As I say, Just the application
of just a few techniques, just as one human being would,
well, a human being who feels that every other human
being is his friend and you treat him as a friend. If
Mr. Weller were still alive, I m sure he d corroborate
Bacci.: every word of it, because he was just at his wits end.
He just didn t know what to do, because they didn t
know what kind of a situation they were stepping into,
because you must remember that with a freeze on labor,
and he was taking over a 5000 acre vineyard, having
good employee relations was all important. I have
reason to believe that they took off from that point.
I have reason to believe that their relations with
their employees after that were inspired by just that
little bit of a start. I have no recollection of ever
hearing of any trouble that they had after that. Even
to the point I heard later that when the daughter of
the Italian Vineyards superintendent, who was still in
their employ, was married, they turned over the big
executive residence to them for their reception. And
there was again, you see, that same feeling of bringing
As I say to you, the night of that Christmas party
I Just went home just completely shot. It wasn t a
matter of displeasure at all, just the tensions that
surrounded this new experiment here, after having been
discouraged by everybody from even trying it because
it had been tried before and didn t work, and analyzing
why it may not have worked, and finally it was just a
question of keeping a close eye on the operation and
making sure that you stop it before anything gets out
of hand. And we ve followed that same technique since.
We used to hold vineyard celebrations after that
at the California Grape Products in Delano up to some
years ago, where we invited everybody in the community.
I think the last time we held it we had 600 people
there at Delano. And this was whites and Mexicans
together. Yes, I remember the last party we had, we
had about 600 of them. The thing began to get out of
hand after awhile, because we would invite not only
our employees but all of their relations, and their
kids would come and they d find some long-lost relations
who lived 140 miles away and they came too for the free
food and free wine. And I remember that at this last
one we had I had been the toastmaster at all of these
things and I remember the last one in particular.
Somewhere or other I think I had seen a theater marquee.
There was a Walt Disney picture playing yes, I remember
it: "Saludos Amigos." I remember seeing that someplace,
and it rang a bell with me. And the way we opened up
this speaking part of this program it was very brief,
just a few words from me and a few words from Mr. Lanza.
Bacci.: But I opened, it up by getting the crowd to cooperate
with me, and I said, "Now let s all get better
acquainted. I m going to shout here over the microphone,
Saludos Amigos 1 , and I want all of you to respond, Hi,
neighbor! And then I m going to say, Hi, neighbor!
and you re going to respond, Saludos Amigos." 1 And
the whole thing just caught fire!
I remember a reporter from the Fresno Bee coming
over when the thing was over, coming over to say, "I
want you to know I have lived in this valley all of
my life. I have never seen this kind of a public
relations effort tried and be so successful. " It was
just a question of getting people to feel they re a
part of the deal.
And I remember that after dancing started, Mrs.
Lanza, God bless her memory, was a very prim lady-like
person, very proper, and the Mexicans thought nothing of
coining up to her at this party and asking her to dance.
Teiser: How long were you at Italian Vineyard Company there?
Baccl.: As I say, I came there Just on a trip from New York on
the first of November, 19^3. On the first of December
I came back and had moved there by that time with my
wife and children. We sold the plant, I think it was
in April, 19^5* The managing heads of the Italian
Vineyard Company tried to induce me to stay and continue
in the operation, but I told them I couldn t do it,
that my loyalties were with Mr. Lanza, my relationships
were very close. I didn t mean anything personal with
them; I m sure it would be equally as close. But I
said I couldn t leave an old friend for a new one. And
then they asked me, would I please stay on, at least
until they became more oriented themselves. And I
remember staying on until the middle of August of
when I came up here.
*It was reported in an article, "I.V. C. to Garrett s,"
Wine Review. April, 19*4-5, P. 50.
THE WINE INSTITUTE AND GENERAL DEANE
Bacci.: I came up here, and up here I was already vice-president
of California Grape Products Company, Ltd. , and
continued in that capacity here.
Teiser: And it was after that time you immediately became involved
in Wine Institute affairs?
Bacci.: I became involved in Wine Institute affairs actually
Just about then, or shortly after then. Early 19^4-6, I
would say. It was Just about then.
Teiser: You must have given a good deal of time to it.
Bacci.: Oh, yes. Not so much in the period before 19^8, because
actually between 4-6 and 48 I dare say I gave as much
time to it as other members who sat on the same
committees as I did myself. And in 19^8, Mr. Herman
Wente, who was then president, was actually the one who
urged me to accept the presidency. And he sold the idea
to everyone else there. And I took it on. I held it
from 1948 to 1950, and I was responsible then for
establishing the rule that has become the rule ever
since. They wanted me to continue, and I felt it was
too time-consuming. I had given it everything I had
during the period I was president. And I also had the
feeling that it was a job that ought to be rotated.
Obviously, the president was given a certain amount
of prominence and publicity. I never took it seriously;
you always had to have a figurehead. You couldn t say,
"The Wine Institute said this. 1 * You f d say, "Harry
Baccigaluppi, president of the Wine Institute, said
this." I had a feeling that perhaps that could develop
some jealousies in our highly competitive industry.
And I declined the urgings that I continue. I said I
felt very strongly that no man should be placed in that
position for any more than two years, that others should
be given an opportunity to make contributions.
So I had it for two years. Following me, General
[John E. ] Deane had it for two years. Following him,
Lou [Louis] Petri had it for two years, and at that
point in the Wine Institute, again, competitive
Jealousies became intensified. I had the good fortune
of always being in sort of a neutral position. Our own
operations were such that I never found it necessary to
step on anyone s toes in particular, but just as soon
Bacci.: as you had a figure occupying the position of president
who was engaged in the marketing of wines in bottles
and whatnot, then competitive influences came into
play. Well, due to one thing and the other, plus some
personnel problems at Wine Institute, at that point
they decided they would reorganize. As a matter of
fact they had some wholesale resignations at the time
of some large companies that they wanted to bring back.
And it was felt the thing to do was to reorganize.
Teiser: Was that the period the California Wine Association
Bacci.: It was in that period, yes. That was one of them, and
they gave a lot of publicity to the fact that they
were withdrawing. That started a whole chain of
Teiser: Was that when Leon Adams left too?
Bacci.: That s right. Everything happened there at the one
time. You see, Harry A. Caddow had been secretary-
manager over Leon Adams. He had been the secretary-
manager from the inception of Wine Institute in 193^
And things began to build up. Personality clashes,
and weaknesses perhaps on the part of some individuals
that became magnified perhaps out of proportion. And
then I think some people were looking for convenient
excuses not to pay dues if they could get away with it.
And, very frankly, I felt that some of the resignations
were due to that, and I still feel that way.
So we then reorganized Wine Institute so that the
position of president became a professional full-time
job, and the elective offices were, amongst the
industry members, non-pay. That left (going down) vice-
president, second vice-president, the third, the secretary
and treasurer as well as chairman of the board. And
Mr. Don McColly has been president of Wine Institute
ever since, and a very capable one. They made a
Teiser: You mentioned General Deane. His career in the wine
industry started after his retirement from the military
Bacci.: That s right. It started with Italian Swiss Colony.
He s now the chairman of the board of our company,
Teiser: Yes, I remembered that, and so I thought to ask you a
little about him. When was he first associated with
Bacci.: Let s see now. I forget how long he was with the
Italian Swiss Colony. We had become very friendly
in that period. We would meet frequently during the
course of our Wine Institute meetings and got to know
each other very well. I always admired him. He is a
man of great honesty and character and integrity
just the kind of a fellow you d like to be associated
with, and when he resigned from the Italian Swiss Colony,
we then would ask him to meet with us frequently for
lunch. It started in that way.
By "us," you mean you and Mr,
Mr. Lanza, right. And then after that we asked him if
he f d like to be a member of the board, and we did that
for a while and then he became chairman of the board.
And he s been serving us in that capacity ever since.
He s a very, very fine gentleman. He came into the
wine business just absolutely green, as the result
actually of friendships he had made in the military
You see, he was secretary of the General Staff
during World War II, and in that capacity had traveled
to all of the F.D.R. conferences all over the world
Casablanca, Teheran, Potsdam, wherever they had gone.
And during that period in his capacity as secretary to
the General Staff, he worked in very close association
with Colonel Bill Donovan, who was head of the O.S.S.
When he decided to retire from the military service, he
came back by way of New York, and while there thought
he d call on his friend Bill Donovan.
Bill Donovan had a law office, and, as I remember
the story, Bill asked him, "Well, what do you intend
to do now, Euss?" He said, "I don t have any idea."
He said, "All I ve ever done was to be in the military.
I don t know what I m suited for." He said, "Wait a
minute. Let s go down and see my friend Seton Porter."
Seton Porter was either chairman of the board or
president of the National Distillers, and thsy had
acquired an interest in the wine industry out here,
had bought the Shewan- Jones plant, had bought the
Italian Swiss Colony. And so they go in to see Seton
Porter. He didn t go in to see him he didn t bring
him in there to see him with respect to going into the
Bacci.: wine business. But he brought him in there knowing
that Set on Porter was very active in, I think it might
have been the Licensed Beverage Industries, which is
the public relations arm of the alcoholic beverage
Industry, actually principally spirits. And they had
been looking for someone to head up that organization.
When he went in there Seton Porter said to him, "Well,
gee, I wish you had come in here yesterday. We Just
hired So-and-so. I forget who it was; we just hired
him yesterday. But," he said, "wait a minute. We ve
got some wine interests in California we d like to
pull together. How would you like to go to California?"
Deane said, "Well, that s where I was born." He says,
"Well, fine. Let s go."
And the first thing you know, he comes out here,
and he s out here and he s president of the Italian
Swiss Colony. [Laughter]
Here his experience at the negotiating table, his
experience at conferences, and his own traits of
character just seemed to fit in admirably into a trade
association [The Wine Institute], for instance, where
you have a lot of competitive influences. I always
remember the impression that he made on me, and
continued to make on me, because he would sit there
and understandably the subjects that were being
discussed he couldn t have had any familiarity with at
all. To him it was a strange business, it was a new
business, it was a new language being spoken that he
didn t have any great knowledge of. He might have done
some reading on it, but admittedly had no experience in
it. And he would sit there, and each of us would be
expressing an opinion, and fighting and arguing. I
remember Russ would get to a point he d sit there and
he wouldn t say very much but he d say, "Well, gentlemen,
I m sure I don t have to tell you that what I know about
the wine business you can stick in your left eye. But
it seems to me that, from what I ve heard said here,
that if you d make a motion that would provide this,
one, two, three, it seems to me that it would cover
the things you re doing and would pretty much summarize
what all of you seem to have in mind."
He d no sooner do that than somebody would say,
"If you make that motion, Russ, I ll second it." And
that would happen repeatedly. Certainly you didn t
acquire that kind of ability by being captain of an
infantry group or an artillery group. It came from
actually what he had experienced for so long at the
.Harry Baccigaluppt (center) with Maynard A. Amerlne (left) of the University of California
t Davis, and Brother Timothy (right) of Mont La Salle Vineyards, at a dinner of the Napa
Valley Vintners, October 18, 1961. Photograph courtesy of Harry Bacclgaluppl
Harry Bacclgaluppi presents a copy of the Wine Advisory Board s book, Favorite Recipes of California Wlnenakers
to Mrs. Edmund G. Brown In the kitchen of the California state governor s mansion about 1963.
Bacol.: negotiating tables. He Just knew how to take conflicting
opinions and then sort of separate the chaff from the
wheat and crystalize them into one thought that he felt
would cover everybody s point of view. And he has
always demonstrated that ability.
That was why actually when I got to the end of my
term as president of the Institute, I was the one who
recommended strongly that General Deane succeed me.
I felt he was not only worthy of the honor but I felt
very strongly that he had all of the ability that it
required to keep a sort of competitive group together.
And he did that extremely well. And I f m Just delighted
that things have taken that turn where we have been able
to be associated together in business and we ve been
close friends ever since. He s just a gem of a person,
there s no question about it.
CALIFORNIA GRAPE PRODUCTS COMPANY AND ITS SUCCESSORS
Teiser: I want to go back to pick up a subject in the earlier
period. Victor Repetto s name has come up, I think,
occasionally. Did California Grape Products have a
label that was named for him?
Bacci.: No, he always denied that the label was named for him.
Our general line was called "Victor." (Actually I ve
got an old label here. Here it is, here. It will
serve to give you an idea as to how it worked. ) "Victor"
was a sort of an Identifying mark that characterized
the entire line of wines that was put out by California
Grape Products Company, Ltd. , but there was always a
now for instance, this was the H.O. Lanza brand, you
see. Now Victor Repetto always denied that Victor had
any relationship to his name. He said it meant victor
the winner. That s exactly what he contended.
Teiser: Who was Victor Hepetto?
Bacci.: Victor Hepetto was a man who had been associated as a
very young man with the old Italian Swiss Colony had
worked for the old Italian Swiss Colony. And later
went into the employ of another one we ve mentioned
here, Cella Brothers Inc.
Teiser: Had Repetto always been in New York?
Bacci.: Always in New York. He was born in New York. He then
became associated with Cella Brothers, and actually he
was still with the operation as the head bookkeeper of
Cella Brothers -G. Cella & Brother when I worked for the
sane company. As a matter of fact, I was just a billing
clerk and a junior clerk when Victor Hepetto asked for
a little raise and mind you he had to ask it of the
general manager Profumo who actually happened to be a
neighbor of his they both lived in Ridgewood, New
Jersey the raise was denied him.
And with that I remember Mr. Profumo taking me
out into the warehouse. He wanted this to be very
quiet, and I think it must have been where we stacked
our macaroni. In those days it was all bought in 22-
pound boxes; it wasn t packaged as it is today. We
got into one of these rows and he very softly broke
the news to me that Victor was leaving and he said, "I m
sure he is making a mistake." He said "He must have
somebody to take his place." Now here was a man who
was the head bookkeeper. And he added, "I want you to
succeed Victor." And I said, "Well, Mr. Profumo, I
don t know the difference between a debit and a credit.
I have never gotten into the bookkeeping end of it."
He said, "That will be for us to find out."
Well, I thought, this was it. They insist that
I ve got to be the head bookkeeper. I don t know a
debit from a credit. So I remember going to the public
library and taking out a book on the ABC s of bookkeeping,
And I digested that in one evening. The next day I
brought that back and took out a little bit more
advanced book. And I think I went through about three
or four books on elementary bookkeeping, and then
started examining Repetto s books and accounts and how
he kept this and how he took a trial balance and what
this meant and how you made a debit and a counter
balancing credit under the double-entry bookkeeping
system. And you never saw anybody who was prouder in
his life than I at the end of that first month when I
took a trial balance and it came out to the penny on
the first crack. That was the last time it ever
happened. [Laughter] So, you see, I succeeded Victor.
Then he went with this man [Mario P] Tribune,
whose name came into this. He went with this Mr.
Tribuno, who owned the California Grape Products
Company, and I think became secretary of that company.
And it was after Mr. Tribuno had become discouraged
with the operation Mr. Lanza gave you the details as
Baccl.: to how the approach was made and how actually he was
given money to buy the company. It was Hepetto who
actually approached Mr. Lanza, because they had had
occasion to meet and get to know each other during
the days when Fruit Industries, Ltd., was being
organized. They were meeting in Washington, meeting
in San Francisco, meeting all over the place. So there
was a dialogue between them of one kind or another.
And that s how the approach was made.
And he became the partner of Mr. Lanza in this
California Grape Products Company. And some ten years
later they liquidated their interests. They separated;
Lanza and Hepetto separated in 19^2 . At that point Mr.
Lanza took it over on his own.
Teiser: Thank you very much for straightening that out. Let
me clear up another point then. In an interim period
there was a Horace 0. Lanza winery, when the company
was reorganized as that, and then it was reorganized
again. How did it go?
Baccl.: Yes. As I remember that, that Horace 0. Lanza, as an
individual entity, individually owned company, came
about as a result of the let s see. I forget exactly
how that came about. I thought first that it might
have come about when Repetto and Lanza separated. But
that isn t true, because actually...
Teiser: After Garrett took over Italian Vineyards, was It?
Bacci.: That s right. Let s see here.
Teiser: ^5 is the date I have for its existence, Just about
Baccl.: That s right. Because the other had come before.
California Grape Products continued in existence.
Right. And later California Grape Products were
liquidated, as I remember. And at that point, then,
Mr. Lanza individually held these vineyard and winery
properties and they operated for about one year as I
recall it. They operated as H.O. Lanza, as an
individually owned winery, and I continued to manage
Teiser: And that was in the Delano area?
Bacci.: That was in the Delano area, yes. But our office was
still here, we retained offices here.
Teiser: California Grape Products Company became California
Grape Products Corporation then? Is that it?
Bacci.: It became that in
Teiser: Well, didn t the Lanza Winery then go out of existence
and then California Grape Products Corporation came in?
Bacci.: No, the winery was sold to California Grape Products
Corporation and the vineyard properties were incorporated
as Lanza Vineyards, Inc. We had so many of these changes
that I can t keep them clearly in mind.
Teiser: California Grape Products Corporation then was a
privately owned corporation, or what do you call it?
Bacci.: It was a closely-held corporation.
Teiser: Then not until 196^4- was there the change to Calgrape
Bacci.: It was in 196^ that California Grape Products
Corporation, which is still in existence today and
which owned the winery, sold that winery to a group
in which it participated as a member and became a
cooperative winery. The other members of Calgrape
Wineries, Inc. were all part of a group of grape growers
in the greater Delano area for whom we had been
performing services for a number of years; services
consisting of providing a home for their grapes. We
would process those grapes into wines and other grape
products and periodically as a matter of fact every
month we would pay them their proportionate share of
the sales proceeds.
Teiser: These were growers?
Bacci.: Growers, right. Their proportionate share of the
sales made in the previous month, and these were
distributed to these growers. And that went on for a
number of years [until] we felt that it was desirable
that they actually take a more active interest in the
operation of the winery than merely being outsiders
having a service performed for them. They actually
should become part owners, so to speak, of that winery.
Teiser: Let me interrupt here to ask, when did you first take
over management of the winery at Delano?
Bacci.: That was in 1964. Well, prior to 196*1- we were operating
as the California Grape Products Corporation, which
owned vineyards and also owned a winery.
Teiser: And when did you first take over that particular
winery, that California Grape Products Corporation
Bacci.: Well, that was the one that actually was the continuation
from the old California Grape Products Company and its
association with Repetto and then into H.O. Lanza, and
then into California Grape Products Corporation.
Actually the pressures for the formation of this
winery began to develop amongst the growers themselves,
because they began to realize that our company,
California Grape Products, was extending its activities
in the grape-growing field and [they] began to look
with some fear perhaps on the day when that plant would
be utilized entirely for serving the vineyards of the
California Grape Products Corporation. And they then
asked for conferences to be held.
The meetings were held and they finally decided,
a group of five, one of which was California Grape
Products Corporation, decided to form another group.
Teiser: Who were the other four?
Bacci.: The other four consisted of the Kern County Land Co.,
W.B. Camp and Sons, M Caratan, Inc., and W.B. Camp
Jr., Inc. W.B. Camp Jr. was an offshoot of W.B. Camp
and Sons; they were a part of that. And the California
Grape Products Corporation.
They then formed this cooperative and bought this
winery from California Grape Products Corporation, and
then agreed that so long as California Grape Products
Corporation had operated this unit for so long, had
contact with the trade, had the established trade, that
actually California Grape Products Corporation should
manage this operation in behalf of Calgrape Wineries,
Inc. And that s what it s been ever since.
Teiser: Is this a cooperative under the legal definition?
Bacci.: Yes, yes. It met all of the requirements of the
Teiser: How much land does it represent?
Bacci.: Well, actually, in and of itself, the winery has very
little land. It doesn t have very much of its own.
But the land owned by the individual members given
over to grape growing is in excess of 10,000 acres.
That s why we ve always felt that actually the winery
had a potential source of grape supply that would
amount to 100,000 tons, which actually would make it
the most important unit in that area.
Teiser: I think the Regional Oral History Office first knew
of Mr. Lanza through Mr. W.B. Camp, who was interviewed
Bacci,: W.B. Camp had come into the picture by virtue of Mr.
Lanza having sold his vineyards to W.B. Camp. The
vineyards we have today are not the same vineyards we
had then. Actually Mr. Camp s introduction to the
grape industry came as a result of acquiring some of
the vineyards owned by Mr. Lanza, in the 50 s. And
that s how Mr. Camp came to acquire his first interest
in grape growing actually. I think they ve since
extended their plantings. But that s how that came
Teiser: What is the Lanza Vineyards, Inc. now?
Bacci.: Nothing today. That s been liquidated.
Teiser: Did that continue after the organization of Calgrape
Bacci.: Yes, that continued for a while after the organization
of Calgrape Wineries, and it must have been in the
neighborhood of two or three years ago that Lanza
Vineyards sold its vineyards to the California Grape
Products Corporation. So California Grape Products
Corporation today owns the vineyards that were
developed in later years by Mr. Lanza in the Lanza
Teiser: Mr. Lanza Indicated that after his daughter s death
he became less interested in business.
That s right.
And then later on he became more interested again and
That s right, that s a fact. There was a period
there, when his daughter died while giving birth, in
19*14 June, 19*14, as I remember it, the end of May
and the early part of June, 19*J4 , he had become
completely demoralized and discouraged at that point.
And went along for a number of years. Oh, he would
come in every day. He would still be in here pitching,
but not with the same verve and vim and vigor as he
had in the past.
Was she his only child?
No. She was one of three daughters. One had died
previously, and then this daughter died. He has one
daughter who is still alive, yes.
He showed me pictures of his grandchildren,
he later became more active?
That s right. And then, as a matter of fact, later
discovered that when he had no more vineyard that
actually the winery was suffering from it, because it
had no assured source of supply. And at that point
he always has been a great believer in land. I think
it came from his early youth, as a boy. It was a part
of his family tradition to own land. Land was that one
tangible thing that had real value. You were never
poor so long as you had land. And so in 1955 and 1956
he bought more land.
And then sort of simultaneously with that, one of
his grandchildren, who is still very actively associated
with the company and runs our vineyard operation...
Who is he?
John Bree...John showed an interest. He had been in
the Air Force and previously had been educated, I
believe, at Oregon State. It might have been Oregon too
and Oregon State. But had not shown up to the time he
came out of the service any particular inclination to
follow in his grandfather s, or even his father s,
footsteps, and all of a sudden seemed to develop an
interest in learning more about grape growing and farming,
Bacci.: and with that went to Davis. And that I think Mr.
Lanza would probably deny it, but he s not kidding me
I think sparked a new interest. Here was one of his
offspring who actually was showing signs of following
in his footsteps. And with that he started buying
land all over the lot. And then I think acquired
something in the neighborhood of another 1,200 acres,
which is what we re farming today. In fact he actually
acquired even more than that; I think it was maybe
1,500 acres. Today we farm about 1,200 of it. But
that s where it came from.
And it was a combination, I d say. It was a
combination of the realization that the company he had
founded and in which he was a very active part and had
a very substantial interest, that it couldn t possibly
succeed without having a vineyard of its own, of
varieties that would produce good wines. And that
again, that thought stimulated by his grandson s
interest, just caused him to take off again, you see.
GRAPE VARIETIES AND REGIONS
Telser: Your mentioning his grandson at Davis and the varietals--
you were speaking of the variety Ugni blanc. I noticed
in a bulletin of Dr. Amerine and Dr. Winkler, California
Wine Grapes,* it was on the not-recommended list.
Bacci.: Well, that s one of the things that he made reference
to, you see. There have been a lot of changes in
thinking even on the part of the University that have
taken place on some of these varieties. What was said
in certain periods and at certain times I m sure was
based upon what they believed to be sound observations
made at the time. But it s been disproved since.**
Did I tell you of the experience with the Semillon?
And now you take the Ugni blanc. Mr. Lanza was the one
who brought the Ugni blanc into this country.
*M.A. Amerine and A.J. Winkler, California Wine Grapes,
California Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin
**See also interview with Dr. A.J. Winkler in this
Teiser: It s the same as the Saint-Bmilion?
Bacci.: Saint-Emilion, and the same as is known in Italy as
the Trebbiano. He didn t bring in the Saint-Emilion
as Ugni blanc; he brought it in as Trebbiano. You
see, a good deal of his reading always had to do with
Italian literature. This is his wine library here.
Everything in there is... and that s the best binding
that you could buy at the time* everything here has
to do with wine or grape growing. And it s all in
Italian, you see; everything is in Italian. So it was
natural for him to lean in that direction.
Well now, we planted the grape, found it did well,
found that it makes a good wine, and then in later
years discovered that this is the variety that s used
in Prance for the making of Cognac. That s one of the
three varieties used in Prance for the making of
Cognac, in the Cognac district in Prance. In fact we
have made brandy from it too.
Teiser: Do you make brandy regularly?
Bacci.: We have made brandy sort of spasmodically, but it s
part of our operation. Some of the brandy we made,
a substantial part of the mix being Ugni blanc, was
rated by the University at Davis as unusually good.
I recall that these are some of the things they said:
"This is the finest current brandy that s ever come
under our observation." This was just out of the still.
And then another observation made, and I ve got that
documented I don t feel free to spread it around
because I feel it s unfair to take advantage of an
individual who in all honesty is giving you an appraisal
and it may embarrass him. But I can assure you it s
in there. I can show it to you, I m sure I ve got it
here. Two things that were said. One was that it was
"the finest current brandy ever to come under my
observation" or "our observation." The second was,
"We ve rated it eight on a ten-point scale." In other
words, ten points being absolute perfection, and eight
was their rating of this brandy.
Now, I was amused here recently to find that one
of our top winemakers in the state, one of our top table
*The books are in traditional European paper bindings.
Bacci.: winemakers, has come out with a wine that s called
this is Wente Brothers have come out with Blanc de
blanc. It s a blend of two grapes; it s a blend of
the Chenin blanc and the Ugni blanc. And the Ugni
blanc vines that are bearing these grapes the cuttings
came from us at Delano. [Laughter]
Teiser: And they re growing them?
Bacci.: In the Livermore Valley, right.
As a matter of fact, at a brunch party that the
entire Wente family had been invited to, and I was
invited to because of my close association with them
over the years Herman Wente *s widow had been invited
and Herman s brother Srnest, his old brother, and his
wife, and young Karl, who is now running the operation,
and his wife, Jean they were all there. And I ve
always been very, very close to them. And this
conversation started on the Blanc de blanc, and I told
them that I had been at a restaurant in Bakersfield
and was quite surprised to find on the wine list
Wente *s Blanc de blanc, and I ordered it for the group,
and was quite pleased with what we found. And Ernest
Wente said, "You know, those cuttings, that Ugni blanc
that you grow down there you know, you got those
grapes from us. Those cuttings came from our vineyard."
Well, I came back and I discussed it with Mr.
Lanza. He said, "No, he s got it wrong. It s the
opposite. H He said, "As a matter of fact, it was I
who brought them in," and he named the doctor whom he
had in his employ up at Ukiah, a man by the name of
Dr. Carlo Agazzotti, whom we brought over here as an
enologist from Italy. Had used him to contact friends
in Italy to bring these over. (Today it can t be done
quite so simply as it was done then. Today they go
into quarantine and whatnot. There are long periods
of time before they re released. But at that time it
was possible. )
And it was in a conversation between Lanza and
Herman Wente that the matter of this Ugni blanc came up
and Herman asked for some cuttings. His brother, you
see, hasn t been too closely identified with the
operation, had forgotten where A was and where B was,
you see. But I straightened him out by letter.
Teiser: Are there any other theories that you have challenged
in that successful way?
We never feel that we ve actually revolutionized
anything in particular.
Or any innovations?
I ve been part of a picture I am very frank to say
that I had very little to do with starting it but I
have been part of it and I ve been watching with a
great deal of satisfaction how you find that thinking
has turned around on the part of the industry. They
would look upon anything grown in the [San Joaquin]
Valley, of course, to be depreciated, never fully
realizing, I believe, that what they were talking
about was certain varieties all the time. They had
never had the experience of growing anything other
than varieties that had been grown there for a long
time, namely, heavy bearers and something that turned
out a dark red [wine color] or produced a very heavy
yield per acre. And all of a sudden they have
awakened to the fact that it is possible to grow good
grapes in that valley. And we ve proved it.
Good grapes are now referred to in the newspapers as
That s a funny designation.
That s a funny designation,
"varietal," you know.
Even a Thompson is a
And you started this well before....
Oh, yes, as a matter of fact, I can give you this.
When the Kern County Land Company became interested in
developing part of its lands for grape growing and
after we leased 1,500 acres from them in two pieces
(one was approximately 1,000 acres and later another
500 acres), on an agreement that called for our developing
the land and certain monetary considerations being
involved, and of course they wanted to know what we
thought were the proper varieties to plant. And we laid
out for them what we thought these first 1,000 acres
should consist of, but I don t think we went through it
again on the second part.
Teiser: When was this?
Bacci.: I can tell you that fairly closely. Let s see, now.
This is 1969. I can get that for you.
It was in 1958.
I ve got it,
Well, anyway, at that time they had asked that
we give them a list of what we thought was the manner
and the proportions in which this vineyard should be
planted. And unbeknown to us (we were told this later)
they apparently went up to Davis and showed it to some
body there. I never did know exactly to whom it was
shown. But whoever it was took one look at it and
said, "Well, that s Lanza. That s California Grape
Products." [Laughter] I think they meant to say
nobody but he would be that crazy to plant these
varieties in that area.
Teiser: What varieties were they?
Bacci.: Well, there was everything in there. Semillon was in
there, and, let me see, I can refresh my memory very
Teiser: I think it didn t get into really public discussion
until Gallo started to encourage varieties unusual for
Bacci.: That s right, that s right. Again, there were people
before it got into public discussion who realized what
we had going. I can give it to you. This will refresh
my memory, [thumbs through some papers] Well, I see
one here. I see Black Malvoisie. These are the kinds
of things that would have caused people to identify
[the plan] with us, you see. And I see Grenache here.
Actually at that time it had not been widely planted
in the valley; some had been around Lodi but not too
much, some around Modesto but nothing much farther
south than that. Pedro Ximenez. Ugni blanc. Chenin
blanc. French Colombard. Malvasia bianca. These
were the kinds of things that anybody at Davis who
knows something about plantings throughout the state
would say, "Oh, hell, that s Lanza."
And, as you ve observed, there has been growing
interest in that area, because people appreciate what
the potential is. You see, one of the sad parts of
the valley, before we became interested in this
operation to the extent that we have, was the fact
that it was awful difficult to get, say, a good dry red
wine out of the general area and I m talking about the
general San Joaquin Valley that, if you re a wine
Bacci.: taster at all, you couldn t immediately identify and
appreciate by describing the flavor reaction you got
as being, "Oh, that s a valley red wine." That wasn t
said in a complimentary sense at all. It had a
certain almost an earthiness to it that you could
Teiser: No one bothered to make wines as carefully in those
Bacci.: Well, that s it exactly. YOU see, even with the grapes
they had, they were following the same techniques that
they followed in the making of a dessert wine, where
actually the very end product will lend itself to a
lot more abuses than you can subject a table wine to.
You can t. They re two entirely different products.
You just can t make them exactly the same way, any
more so than you can treat something that you want to
cook sometimes you get the flavor reaction that you
want by sauteing, yet that doesn t mean deep frying,
you see. And I think too many of them have been deep
frying for too long. I think that s Just about the
difference; it s the difference between saute and deep
fry, and I think you get the distinction there.
And I think that s one of the things that they re
learning, and I think they re beginning to and I m
speaking of the grape growers generally they re
beginning to see these kinds of prices that are being
offered for better varieties. And it must dawn on
somebody that there must be something that can be grown
on this land that s more valuable than what they ve
been growing on it. Apparently what they ve been
growing on it is either in too plentiful supply for
it to command any kind of a price, or its basic
characteristics aren t such as to justify paying any
more for it than has been paid for it.
CHANGING TASTES IN WINES
Teiser: Does the change in public demand for types of wine
enter into this, too?
Bacci.: Oh, I don t think there s any question about it. I
don t think there s any question about it. Your
consuming public, not in every case, but in general,
Bacci.: your consuming public is beginning to acquire a
knowledge of wines that enables them to distinguish
between the good and the ordinary. And they* re
beginning to find that there are wines made available
to them, at modest prices, that have certain very
desirable and very enjoyable characteristics. That
wasn t true not too many years ago. Even today you
can buy a very modest priced bottle of wine and really
enjoy it, and your friends will enjoy it. And that
wasn t true not too long ago. I remember when we
would have some of these meetings around Fresno, and
it was always customary to have either a group luncheon
or a dinner. Some of these local wines would of course
be served at this. Well, you know, you would think:
I wonder if I couldn t get something from the north?
And I always remember this. It shook me. I
remember when we first went to Guasti I found they were
making there I won t say we found, I, found (I m going
to be immodest at this point) a wine that was called
Grignolino. And what I found in it was a flavor
characteristic that I thought would really please the
general public, because it didn t have any of that
harshness or heaviness that was characteristic of some
of our northern red wines. It was a soft wine; that
was the best way to describe it. And I got to having
it served, you know, at our little functions down there
at Guasti quite frequently. And I remember we had
some guests there one time. After serving this
Grignolino, of which I was so proud it was beginning
to take hold and actually it had acquired quite a
reputation in the state, although it was available only
in a very limited quantity when one of my own associates
asked the guests, "Now, don t you want to taste some
real wine?" And we had some wine that we had brought
down from Ukiah, and I thought, "Well, this is good
public relations work if I ve ever seen it. This is
Teiser: Is there anything else you think of to wind up this...
Bacci.: No, I can t.
Teiser: Certainly you ve given a very lucid account.
Bacci.: Well, thank you, Miss Teiser. I can t think of anything
in particular. The thing that I feel happiest about
in this industry is to see this increasing acceptance
of table wines. It s something that those of us who
Bacci.: have spent a lifetime in this business have always
dreamt and prayed might come about some day. We
never looked I never looked at the consumption of
dessert wines as being anything other than a sort of
a temporary stop-gap. I never thought of it as being
the kind of a wine that would develop the kind of users
whom you could look upon as being loyal, continual
users. To begin with, the very nature of the product
is one that lends itself only to occasional use. I
always felt about table wines that when a man gets to
a point where he learns to appreciate table wines and
enjoys them with his meal, there is nothing that can
quite take its place. There is nothing. He might be
talked out of he might change from a burgundy to a
Zinfandel, or from a Zinfandel to a Cabernet, or from
a red wine to a white wine. But once he begins to
enjoy wines with his meals, there isn t anything in
the alcoholic beverage scheme of things that can cause
him to stop using it. Oh, he might, on a very hot day
perhaps, take a glass of beer in place of wine.
On the other hand, the user of dessert wines, I
always felt, was one that any kind of a heavy promotion
on any other kind of an alcoholic beverage would cause
him to switch from that to something else, you see.
Just as you have people who would switch from bourbon
to Scotch, or from Scotch to gin, or from gin to vodka.
But the wine drinker, and I speak of a wine drinker as
one who really enjoys wine with his meals I don t
even think of the man who thinks of wine between meals,
although it definitely has a place there.... That s
one of the developments in our industry that I think
is the most gratifying. And I think it s the one that
gives every indication of a rather promising future.
You find now that the disproportionate use of dessert
wines as against table wines has changed around
completely, and it won t be too long before more table
wines are shipped than dessert wines. There s no
question about that.
And we re beginning to develop a more discriminating
user. It isn t a question of an ordinary red wine.
There s a phrase that I ve always shuddered at because
of my background, I suppose. I ve always shuddered
when I ve heard people refer to "dago red." And that
to me always meant it was never complimentary. And I
don t think it was Intended in an uncomplimentary way
when it was spoken by anybody, but it described a. type
of ordinary red wine. Take a grape and ferment it dry,
Bacci.: and if it has a dark color and it has some alcohol in
it, that s a "dago red." But I think we ve gotten
out of that. I think we re getting out of that.
Teiser: [Laughing] I haven t heard the term used for years.
Prohibition, I guess, was when it came up.
Bacci.: I don t know when it started. I don t know when it
started or why or how it started, but the fact of the
matter is that was the term applied to the ordinary
red wine that was available to anybody who wanted to
buy it. But we ve come out of that.
Now you find people have very definite likes and
dislikes, and the thing that I enjoy most being a part
of this industry is that you get into any group, any
kind of a social group you can go to a cocktail party,
you can go to any kind of a conference, and just let
word get around that there s a wine man in the group,
and you become the center of conversation and attraction.
[Laughing] I remember, Miss Teiser, if I can Just
digress for a moment, I remember visiting my daughter
and son-in-law. He s a career military man, a West
Point man, now a lieutenant colonel at the Pentagon.
But before he went there he was at Fort Hood. He was
in charge of a battalion there.
I paid them a visit, and while I was there,
unfortunately he received word that his father had
passed away, and he had to leave and go back to Detroit
for his father s funeral. But he apparently had set up
something in the way of a grand tour for me of the base,
and among other things he even provided a field Jacket
for me, mind you, with the 123rd Maintenance Battalion
on this breast and Baccigaluppi on this breast and a
cap with the battalion insignia on it, and I was taken
through the jumps even to the point of driving a tank,
on my own, mind you. It even got into that. And went
on the rifle range and all of this business. Well,
when we got all through, this other lieutenant colonel
who was taking me around said, "Wouldn t you like to
meet Prank s commanding officer?" I think he said
Colonel Walde; yes. And I said, "Yes, I d like to."
So he brings me into the colonel s office, and here s
this very handsome looking man sitting behind a desk,
and alongside of him is another colonel, equally
handsome. And he Just was puzzled by the sight of this
old buzzard here with his field jacket and holding his
cap in his hand, and he said, "Well, now, Just what is
Bacci.: your connection here?"
I said, "Well, I happen to "be Lt. Col. Clark s
father-in-law." "Oh, yes", yes." Well, he was still
a little bit mixed up. He still couldn f t figure me
And then he said, "Well, what do you do as
business or profession?"
And I said, "Well, I happen to be a member of the
wine industry. I f ve been in the wine business all of
And the first thing you know, we got into a
conversation on wines. He had learned to like Gallo*s
Paisano, and we got into a discussion of that.
All right, fine. That s done with. And Colonel
Walde still asks for me, mind you. We get through with
that and two nights later my daughter takes me Into the
home of some other officers who were having a little
reception. These were all young captains and majors
and lieutenant colonels and I wasn t part of this age
group at all, you know. Until something was said about
wine. I forget who started the conversation, but my
daughter says, "You might ask my dad. He may know
something about it." And the conversation starts there,
and that went on for an hour and a half. That s just
what they wanted to talk about just what they wanted
to talk about.
Now here when I, this past Christmas my daughter
and son-in-law are now living in Alexandria, Virginia,
and I went back to spend the Christmas holidays with
them. My daughter s Invitation read: "We want you
here, but be prepared to give lesson number two."
A. "What Has Become of the Family Life Today?" by Horace
B. Horace 0. Lanza letter of November 18, 1969.
What has become of the family life today?
It was the afternoon of an Au 7 na3t day In 1896 when
my mother who had ^ecn sick for sixteen months called to her bed
side my father, then in his mla- fifties, and my brother, twenty-
two, my sister, sixteen, myself fYurten::, and another sister,
nine, and said, "Peter, I w*nt you t- lo k after Horace. Rose,
I want you to look after Lucia, and I wwnt all you four to look
after, your father. DC you promise tr.at-"? That nl^ht in the
evening she passed away, and we all knelt and prayed as we had
been taught to do by her when in trouble.
We had teen In this country about five years; we had
all worked in the canning factory and on the farms around when
ever we could. All wages had been turned over to her for use,
and ahe left about $800.00 in -TO Id which we found tucked away In
the hpttom of a trunk because she did not know or believe In banks*
She had been a sort of a manager or the head of the family so far
as running the house was concerned, and then my brother and older
sister took over to keep the family e;oinz as one unit the same aa
mother did when she was alive.
She left us also a home and family heritage that served
us all in good stead throughout our lives. The abode she left us
was not a house, but a home where there was respect for the eldera
and love and cooperation for 411. The home w^3 not the place
where we just ate, slept and hung our coats, but rather the home
where the family lived, where all our relatives and friends were
welcome as an active part of the family institution, and though
the cave was strictly our own, the ramification spread to all parta
ln which the family was related. If we needed cotrfort or help,
we knew where to find it. As we were regarded and sustained, so
did we react In return, with the result that we never felt alone.
We were a part of the family and community of the whole, and this,
In spirit and In fact was Immense help throughout our lives. Our
cares and burdens as well as our pleasures were shared by all.
Fortunately, the Sicilian tradition being something
like that of the English nubility, you claimed relationship to the
seventh, niritr., cr w -,*. v -- r e : y -i o .id t- aoe it to, and the
affection was as true ancl ^en .in*; a ! w- - In tn<? ! l rst
degree. This carried the f airily attachment and influence to a greater
and more beneficial decree.
Many were the times when I started as a young lawyer in
the City, that I would hear some people who knew my family say,
"He is the son of Don Tote, or the son of Dcnna Maria Antonia -
and that at once would establish my reputation and their favor.
In those days the family meant much tc you, either socially or
commercial ly . It carried weight either for you or against you -
such was its influence. Through your home life you were judged
and apnreciated, and always accepted on your merit. That put a
responsibility on you tc make yourself worthy, and your self-
respect kept you ambitious and happy.
In trouble or sickness you alwsys had sympathy, attention
and comfrrt from all in the family. In yt ;r school work, housework,
sports or hobbies, you received cv,oper: -. *r.* participation or
counsel from any member at hand. You played with other children
in the neighborhood who were known or similarly situated as
yourself; and seldom, If ever, you got into mischief that was
detrimental to your character. You even abhorred justified
criticism because you were prcud to be regarded decent and con
spicuous for kind and ^ood behavior. You maintained a sort of an
ideal to excel in the finer things of conduct. Your family were
proud of ycur achievements, and you felt there was something that
you ontrl,buted to that family s standing - that family s pride
and happineas. Your worthy behavior followed you to your school
where teachers and classmates came in contact with you. It
followed you to your work, to the s^iops where you were sent on
errands, to the people en the streets whom you chanced to meet,
and to all people of good will that came to know you. You were
pleased with the reward, and more so with the contribution you
had made to the family ins M tut on.
Yes, this contribution to trie >:lcry of the family is not
made by one member only. It is mnde by all; and the parents and
older merr.oers 3.. .: .d l,e tiif f \ rat !i the r-rdr --f their authority.
Why do the c^: leges ind some teachers of today stress
that the education of the young should be directed to develop the
native ability of the individual rather tnan the obedience to
discipline which is so terribly needed but neglected in the young,
particularly the very young who are in the informat 1"" stage I
How often ds we hear nowadays a boy or flrl say, "Oh, Dad, you
forget now that I am 14, 16 or even IS 1 years oidl" What does
ago got to do with matters of courtesy or respect for one s
parents or eiders? Is not such teaching destructive of the family
Institution Isn t discipline of the young and good maners of
society Just as important for the happiness of the individual as
his independence cf selfishness? "Doth man llveth unto himself*?
What is the necessity of .family anyway, If each individual Is going
to go his way as soon as he is --lei enough to go out and find food
for himself as does the animal c! the forest?
Mo political change of society or of the economy can
take the place of love and solidarity of the family. Civilization
and religion have devised many forms of society to Improve the
lot of man, but none have fourth t^ie solution yet. Love and love
alone seems to be promising arid t lei e Is no better place to find
and cultivate love than in trie .-.ome. Let not the family be a
breeding pl&f* nor r.e -.erne a ? .-arcing hf ! .-3e, >>ut let it be the
home as an Institution of love, . od manners, food breeding and
noble Ideals for the benefit <-f trtn.
--H. 0. Lanza
Sepfrrner 29, 1967
qrape products .
5ROWERS - PRODUCERS OF FINE CALIFORNIA WINES AND BRANDIES - WINERIES AT DELANO, CALIFORNIA
TELEPHONE SUTTER 1-3931
55 NEW MONTGOMERY STREET
SAN FRANCISCO 5, CALIFORNIA
November IS, 1969
Miss Ruth Teiser
932 Vallejo Street
San Francisco, California 94133
Dear Miss Teiser:
Thank you very much for your note of the 13th as well as for your
kindness in sending me the additional prints.
For such value as they may be to you, here are a few additional
comments which I think would be interesting historically;
There are two things that I would like to not^e in the history of
the wine business.
One is that practical men, emigrated from Europe, were the first
grape growers and winemakers in this country. These were men who
brought with them the knowledge and habits of their country of
The Swiss, the Italians, the Spaniards, The Germans and people
from other countries had notions of their own about locations,
types and methods of making wine which continued until about the
time when Prohibition arrived.
During Prohibition there was no incentive for young people to get
into it and when it terminated there were neither old-timers left
nor young who knew much about the business at all.
With the advent of Repeal, however, in 1933, a lot of young people
full of ambition and desire, and among them a number of young
chemists and trainees in agriculture who have made good.
In the present era there is. no invention or discovery in science
! cont d
*/? : * i g , * *
M V *" ^^ ^~"~ "" *" ~"^^
"Purueyors to America s Leading Vintners"
Miss Teiser November 18, 1969
that when announced is not picked up by other scientists in other
parts of the world and go one better.
That is just exactly what has happened here with our young
chemists and agricultural scientists. We have picked up all that
the other parts of the world have learned and have gone them one
better. We know now how to make wine as well as any other part of
the world and how to grow what grapes, what varieties of grapes
and where; how to make quality wines and how to blend and keep them.
We have all types of soil and climate found throughout the world
and so we have reason to feel encouraged that in the race for sur
vival we will always be able to give a good account of ourselves.
Another point to be observed is that the very nature of the wine
business is such as to prevent anybody from cornering or control-
ing it. There will be big operators, but nobody can control it.
It is something like the restaurant business. Nobody, no matter
how big can control it. A good cook with only $100.00 capital
can start business with a light lunch stand and compete against
any big outfit.
In any line of business where it takes only small capital to start,
there cannot be any monopoly. It takes big capital to start in
the railroad business, in navigation, the airplane, automotive
business, etc., but not in the restaurant or wine business. A good
cook, a good winemaker can start business with a little capital and
capture the trade of his neighborhood on his merits.
If California consumes 4^,000,000 gallons of wines as it did last
year, there is no populated county that cannot be served with a
fine local wine.
The excellent wines and tastings conducted by charitable organi
zations and by the medical profession in some parts of the State
attest to that.
My thanks again for your courtesy and kindness.
HOL:jl:cg Horace 0. Lanza
INDEX Horace 0. Lanza - Harry Baccigaluppi
Adams, Leon, 119
Agazzotti, Dr. Carlo, 131
Allen, Selina. See Lanza, Mrs. Horace 0.
Amerine, Dr. Maynard A., 129
Baccigaluopi . Harry, -passim
Bardenheier (St. Louis), 28
Barlotti, James A., 37, 39
Bayuk Cigar Company, 10
Beaulieu [Vineyard], 71
Bongiorno, Dick, 83, 88
Bree, John, 128
Bunds cher, Charles, 32, 54
Caddow, Harry A. , 119
Calgrape Wineries, Inc., 125, 126, 127
California Grape Products Company, Ltd., 8, 10, 16, 20, 27> 6l,
92, 93, 118, 122, 123, 124, 125
California Grape Products Corporation, 6l, 125, 126, 127, 133
California Wine Association, 4, 5, 8, 11, 38, 41, 52, 54, 71,
Caligrapo, 9, 93
Camp, W.B. , 30, 127
Camp, W.B. and Sons, 126
Camp, W.B., Jr., 126
Campbell Soup Company, 10, 70
Canada Dry Company, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27
Caratan, M., Inc., 126
Cella Brothers, Inc., 73, 81, 82, 122
Cella Brothers-G. Cella & Brother, 81, 82, 89, 93, 123
Cella, G. and Brother, 78-81, 82, 87
Cella, J.B[attista], 79
Cella, Lorenzo, 79
Cella Wine Company, 79
Central California Wineries, Inc., 43
Colonial Grape Products Company, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 20, 27, 54,
55, 56, 73, 74, 82, 88. 93
Colonial Wine Company, 4
Conn, Donald D. , 12
Critchfield, Burke H., 44
Dantoni, , 55
daRoza, Edward L. , 7
daSoza Winery, 7
Deane, General John R. , 118, 119, 120, 121, 122
Di Giorgio, Joseph, 2J 9 28, 44-48, 55
Di Giorgio, Sal, 48
Di Giorgio, Vincent, 48
Donovan, Colonel Bill, 120
Earl Fruit Company, 46, 4?
Engels and Krudwlg (Sandusky, 0.), 28
Pederspiel, Sophus, 7, 8, 17, 18, 20, 38, 55, 82
Federst>iel Wine Company, 7
Fruit industries, Ltd., 12, 13, 14, 41, 124
Furman, Al, 106
Gallo [E. & J. Gallo Winery], 98, 133
Gandolfi, L. & Company, 81
Garrett & Company, 21, 27, 71, 115, 124
Garrett, Paul, 12, 16
Giannini, Frank, 13, 14
Giulii, Nicolo ("Nick"), 21
Grape Crush Marketing Order, 107
Grape Products Marketing Order, 104
Groezinger Winery, 50
Guasti, Secondo, Jr., 12, 32
Guasti, Secondo, Sr. , 37, 38, 41, 111
Heublein, Inc. (Hartford), 28
Hope, Frank, 16
Horace 0. Lanza Winery, 124, 125
Husman, George, 19
Italian Swiss Colony, 23, 32, 38, 47, 48, 5^, 71, 82, 119, 120,
Italian Vineyard Company, 21, 22, 24, 27, 28, 32, 35, 36, 37,
38, 39, 71, 108-117, 124
Jeppi , Frank , 30
Kern County Land Company, 126, 132
Lachman & Jacobi, 32, 54
Lambert, John S., 3, 8
Lanza, Horace 0., passim. See also Horace 0. Lanza Winery.
Lanza, Mrs. Horace 0. (Selina Allen), 69
Lanza, Peter, 1-2, 7, 60
Lanza Vineyards, Inc., 125, 126, 127
Lanza Winery, 7
Leichter, William, 8, 18
Linde, F.C. , Warehouse, 83
Lombard Wine Company (Chicago), 28
Lyons, H.G. , Company, 89
Mangels, Glaus, 53
Marketing Orders, 104-105, 106, 107
Martini, Louis [M.], 8?
Martini, R. , Wine Comroany, 8?
McColly, Don, 119
Mineau, Roy, 66
Morrow, A[lmond] H. , 4, 38
National Association of Wine Bottlers, 106
Paderewski , Ignace , 34
Perelll-Minetti, Antonio, 16
Petri, Louis, 118
Pillsbury, Evan S., 55
Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, 55
Pleasant Valley Wine Company, 28
Porter, Seton, 120
Profumo, Louis, 73. 82, 93, 94, 123
Prohibition, 4, 5-12 and passim, 82 and passim
Putnam, D.W. (Hammondsport) , 28
Repetto, Victor, 8, 16, 42, 122, 123, 124
Roma [Wine Company]. 66
Rossi, Edmund A., 48
Rossi, P[ietro] C., 32
Rossi, Robert D., 48
Russell, Calvin, 4l 42
Russo, A. William, 4, 28
Sbarboro, Alfred E., 48
Sbarboro, Andrea E., 48
S catena Wine Company, 87
Schilling, Glaus, 8, 18, 32, 36, 49-54, 55, 56, 63
Sebastian!, Samuele, 87
Setrakian, A[rpaxat], 43, 107
Signorio, Fred, 111-112
Taylor, Walter E., 41, 42, 44
Tribuno, Mario P., 9, 123
Tulare Winery Company, 13
United Fruit Company, 45
Vaccaro Brothers (New Orleans), 55
Villa Vista Vineyard, 52
Weller, Hoy, 21, 22, 115
Wente Bros., 131
Wente, Ernest, 131
Wente, Herman, 131
Wente, Karl, 131
Wheeler, John W. , 53, 5^
Wlllebrandt, Mabel Walker, 13, 15
Williams, Bill, 25, 26, 2?
Woodbridge Winery, b
Wine Advisory Board, 105
Wine Institute, 118-122
Winkler, Dr. A[lbert] J., 129
Wines Mentioned in the Interviews
angelica, 86, 8?
Blanc de blanc, 131
Concord, 60, 6l
Riesling, 33, 86
white port, 86, 87
Grape Varieties Mentioned in the Interviews
Black Malvolsie, 133
Gatawba , 59
Chenin blanc, 3^, 131, 133
Concord, 33, 59, 60
French Colombard, 133
Italia Muscat, 58
Malvasia bianca, 133
Pedro Ximenes, 133
Saint-Emilion, 65, 130
Simmon, 3^, 35, 129, 133
Thompson Seedless, 31, 88, 132
Trebblano, 35, 6^-65
Ugni blanc, 3^, 35, 64, 65, 129, 130, 131, 133
Born in Portland, Oregon; came to the Bay Area
in 1932 and has lived here ever since.
Stanford, B. A., M. A. in English; further graduate
work in Western history.
Newspaper and magazine writer in San Francisco since
1943, writing on local history and business and
social life of the Bay Area. ,
Book reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle
1 1 8 5