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All uses of this manuscript are covered by 
a legal agreement between the Regents of the 
University of California and Lucius Powers, 
dated 18 May 1973. 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 Califor 
nia 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 Califor 
nia at Berkeley. 

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. The legal 
agreement with Lucius Powers requires that he 
be notified of the request and allowed thirty 
days in which to respond. 

The Bancroft Library University of California/Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office 

California Wine History Series 

Lucius Powers 

With an Introduction by 
Maynard A. Amerine 

An Interview Conducted by 
Ruth Teiser 

Copy No . 

1974 by The Regents of the University of California 

Lucius Powers 

TABLE OF CONTENTS -- Lucius Powers 


INTRODUCTION by Maynard A. Amerine ill 

















(For Wines and Grapes see page 54) 


The California Wine Industry Oral History Series, a 
project of the Regional Oral History Office, was initiated 
in 1969, 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. Baum and is under the 
administrative supervision of James D. Hart, the Director 
of The Bancroft Library. 

Ruth Teiser 
Project Director 
California Wine Industry 
Oral History Series 

1 March 1971 

Regional Oral History Office 
^86 The Bancroft Library 
University of California, Berkeley 



Mr. Powers interview contains many revealing details of agriculture 
and viticulture in the Fresno area, of grape shipping during Prohibition, 
of the organization of the California Vineyardists Association, and of the 
history of the Mt. Tivy Winery. Some, but certainly not all, of the 
conflicts that arose in the California Wine Association, Fruit Industries, 
Ltd., the California Vineyardists Association, and the Central Valley 
Cooperative Winery are touched upon. 

There are some interesting sidelights. Was Mr. Powers recognition 
in 1934 the first post-Prohibition idea that temperature control for 
making table wines was necessary in the San Joaquin Valley? He was right, 
of course, that quality in dessert wines was important to the future of the 
industry. Too bad the quality route was not tried; that it was not is 
possibly due to the fifteen to twenty tons per acre production that Mr. 
Powers mentions elsewhere in the interview. 

It is unfortunate too that Powers interview was not available to the 
California wine industry in 1935. He tells us that already in that year 
he could see the dominance of table wines coming- -this at a time when 75 
per cent of the sales were in dessert wines I 

The manipulation of grapes and brandy for legal profit is fully outlined. 
The history of the Sweet Wine Producers Association is clearly delineated. 
What is new is Powers relation to the early power struggle in Washington 
involving the beer-whiskey-wine complex. 

The arguments over the prorate are interesting but now largely forgotten. 
The same is true of the details of Schenley s and Heublein s interest in 
wines and brandies. The run-down on the history of the Fresno wineries is 
also interesting. But on one point modern economic thinking varies from the 
view Mr. Powers expressed when he said, "Of course, the rise and fall of 
prices more or less should be borne, I feel, by the grower." 

Perhaps more pertinent today is Mr. Powers conclusion from experience 
that when any phase of the California agricultural industry becomes profit 
able it soon becomes overloaded. That conclusion may offer some warning 
to the present California grape industry. 

One can find very few statements in the interview requiring correction: 
Malaga is a table grape; the University, state colleges and junior colleges 
were not "hired" to help the industrythey did their work because it was, 
and is, their job. 

Maynard A. Amerine 

Professor, Viticulture and Enology 

10 March 1974 

101 Wickson Hall 

University of California at Davis 



Lucius Powers, a member of a prominent pioneer California family, was 
born in Fresno on July 25, 1901. He has lived in the Fresno area, where 
his father acquired extensive agricultural holdings, ever since, except 
for a few years in the late 1930 "s. His career has been divided among 
a number of related and sometimes overlapping interests: the practice of 
law, fruit growing and shipping, winery operation, business management and 
public affairs. 

Mr. Powers attended the University of California at Berkeley and 
graduated from Boalt Hall in 1926. From 1931 through 1934 he served in the 
State Assembly. In 1933, shortly before the repeal of the Eighteenth 
Amendment became effective, Mr. Powers organized in behalf of his father 
the Mt. Tivy Winery. This marked the beginning of nearly two decades of 
activities in the wine industry. He was active in the Wine Institute; in 
1935, for example, he was serving on eight of its sixteen committees. 

The interview was conducted in Fresno. There was a preliminary dis 
cussion on May 19, 1969. The first session was held on May 20, 1969, in 
Mr. Powers office in the Guarantee Savings (previously Mattel) Building. 
The second session was held on January 20, 1972, in the Helm Building where 
Mr. Powers had moved his office. 

Mr. Powers was an interested and cooperative interviewee, although ho 
was at times impatient with his own lack of memory of details of past events. 
The transcript of the first part of the interview was sent to him on 
December 20, 1971, to review before the second session. He made a number 
of minor revisions and returned it to the interviewer the following spring. 
The whole interview was then edited by the interviewer to improve continuity 
and delete some repetitions, and sent to Mr. Powers on November 7, 1973. 
He returned it with further minor revisions on December 28, 1973. Editing 
was completed following clarification of several points in the interview 
by correspondence. 

Ruth Teiser 

Inter viewer -Edit or 

22 March 1974 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 

(Interview #1 - May 20, 1969) 


Teiser: When we were having a preliminary discussion of this interview 
yesterday, you mentioned that you had acted as attorney for 
the California Vineyardists Association. 

Powers: Yes, as counsel, doing collecting, one thing and another.* 
It s interesting how these farm programs develop from one 
stage into another. I ve seen so much that is helpful out 
of it all, but growers are peculiar people. They re not too 
well educated about economics and causes that enter into 
economic results. But, peculiarly, you always come back to 
the old axiom of supply and demand. 

Teiser: Your family is an old one in California, I believe. 

Powers: Yes. My grandfather was Aaron Powers- -sailed around the Horn 
with his brother Lucius on the sailing vessel named the 
Edward Everett. 

Teiser: Is he in that picture you have of Sacramento pioneers, Aaron 

Powers: Yes. And we have quite a bit there in the Bancroft Library. 
My cousin, Clotilde Grunsky Taylor, did quite a bit of work 
on our family history. 

Teiser: Didn t she edit that book on-- 

*For further discussion of the California Vineyardists 
Association, see pp. 11-12. 

Powers: On Grunsky, the father. It s a lovely thing.* She sold me 

a copy. My good friend Cort Majors** was very happy with that. 
Of course we played football together at Berkeley. The great 
days of Andy Smith. In 1920 I played center on the freshman 
team against Cort. The freshman team had to help train the 
varsity, so we all became well acquainted. 

I then played at center in my sophomore year in 1921. I 
never got my letter because I didn t play enough minutes in 
the games combined in each season. By the end of my sophomore 
year I was substitute, or runner-up, to George Latham who was 
also team captain. 1921 was his last year. But anyway I 
wanted to improve upon my speed and agility, and I had hammer- 
toes on both feet then. So I had a very serious operation on 
both feet. After this operation I thought I d be back in the 
line in just a couple of months, but did not realize it d be 
more like two years. So in my junior year I just practiced 
with the team. I couldn t play. 1923 was my senior year with 
the varsity. Cort Majors was captain of the first Wonder Team 
in 1920, a very outstanding person. 

Teiser: Well, you have a good deal of association with the University.*** 
And of course the early history of the state. 

Powers: Oh, yes. The two Power brothers, Aaron Hubbard who was my 

grandfather and Lucius who was my grand-uncle, arrived July 6, 
1849, in San Francisco harbor. I have the letters of my 
grandfather. He was in San Francisco for a while and was 
sworn in as a deputy constable, way back in about 1859. The 
first letters that I have were written while he lived in 
Redwood City and Wood side. He helped log the redwoods and 
floated the trees and cut fir trees and made the poles for the 
first telegraph line, the continental telegraph line. They 
also floated the logs in rafts up to San Francisco to provide 
the piling for the wharves. And he addskind of cute--in a 
letter to his mother and father back in New Hampshire, "I have 
my oxen, a team of oxen I haul with. They are very slow but 

*Stockton Boyhood. Being the Reminiscences of Carl ISwaUl 
Grunsky. Berkeley: Friends of the Bancroft Library; 1947, 

**01in Cortis Majors 
***See also pp. 34-35. 

Powers: they do a wonderful job." They were the tractors of our 

pioneer fathers. Now, as to the horses, he said, "I anticipate 
the horses might be stolen at any time." And in another 
letter he described how the early settlers caught some horse 
thieves and hung them on the spot, and all that sort of thing 
[laughs]. He said, "Now, as to the oxen, I just allow them 
to graze loose, and I will go to sleep maybe under a tree, 
and the next morning they are just browsing nearby." 

He subsequently married my grandmother, Lilian Sweasey. 
She came across the plains with William Sweasey, who was her 
father. He organized and led a wagon train from New Harmony, 
Indiana. He developed Eureka, and he owned sailing vessels 
that came from Eureka to San Francisco. He was quite a person. 
And there was a brother, Tom Sweasey. They also had a stage 
line; they ran that too. 

They had a ranch at Woodside and that s where my grand 
father Powers met Miss Lilian Sweasey, and they were married. 
The Sweaseys had a large family. I think there were nine 
children altogether. Anyway, there was a big lawsuit over the 
land titles. It was one of those Mexican land title deals, 
and the whole dispute went to court, and unfortunately or 
otherwise they lost. 

Many families in the Woodside district, south of San 
Francisco, lost out, because they all had a common title 
because of the Mexican land grants, which were usually on 
large acreages. 

This was in the early 50s, I think, when this was 
announced. They [the William Sweasey family] just packed up 
all their belongings and organized a second wagon train and 
went north to Eureka, and helped settle that area. It was 
the first wagon train that ever came into Eureka. It was 
over a very rugged terrain, you know, going north by the coast 
route, across the Eel River which was very precipitous and 
dangerous. It was a very difficult undertaking because all of 
that country was so very rugged and so many streams had to be 
crossed . 

At first he was in the dairy and timber business and very 
active. Later he organized his own steamship line which went 
to San Francisico. He was a representative in the state 
legislature. He was also elected as delegate to the state 

Powers: constitutional convention, where he took a very active part.* 

The Powers family sold out near Redwood City. They next 
had a farm in Calaveras County, and my grandfather s brother 
Lucius then went into the liquor business there. Grandfather, 
Aaron Hubbard Powers, went into the general grocery business, 
and that s where the family lived for a good portion of the 
time when the children were young and the family coming of 
age. Later my Aunt Kate [Martha Kate Powers] married Mr. Ewald 
Grunsky, who was the first graduate of the Stockton High 
Schoolas it is all set up there in Cousin Clotilde s book. 
He and his brother, having finished high school, took a steamer 
and went across the Isthmus and back to Germany and to college 
at Stuttgart, and he graduated with honors there as a civil 
engineer. And in his duties as state engineer he mapped all 
of the streams flowing into the San Joaquin and Kings rivers 
and many other streams in California. He prepared some very 
excellent field notes as to what water rights landowners had 
and how much water each of them took for the irrigation of 
their respective lands. 

In all of this study he saw some real good property that 
he liked so well on the Kings River at Centerville, near 
Fresno, so he bought it. This was about 1880. He held it 
several years and then sold it to the family. Of course they 
had always told him if he saw some good property to let them know, 

which he did, so that was the way the Aaron Powers family came 
to move to the Kings River at Centerville in 1885. We have 
owned this property ever since. 


Powers: The property had several water rights from several streams. 

Teiser: How large a parcel is it? 

Powers: Over 450 acres. It was excellent land. There were some of 

*According to the 1909 California Blue Book or State Roster, 
William J. Sweasey was elected to the fifth session of the 
California State legislature from San Francisco, and in 1878-1879 
was a member of the second state constitutional convention. 

Powers: the first oranges and persinmons in the U.S.A. on the property 
when they bought it. It was one of the three persimmon 
plantings made by the federal government in California about 
1875. They had one planting in Orange County, near Santa Ana, 
and ours and another at Cottonwood near Mount Shasta. The 
Department of Agriculture wanted to know how persimmons would 
grow and do in America. And they had some 60-odd different 
varieties on each ten-acre plot. 

Teiser: Any left there now? 

Powers: The last of the original 1875 trees were just pulled out last 
year. They usually have a life-span of 40 or 50 years. 

Teiser: Have you planted more? 

Powers: Oh yes, we have 26 acres. We are noted for persimmons. I ve 

done quite a little work with persimmons. I believe the frozen 
persimmon puree has great possibilities. The persimmon is one 
of the most wonderful fruits that we grow. The American public 
doesn t know anything about them. The cultivated persimmon is 
oriental. Actually it started in China and migrated to Japan, 
and, oh, there may be as many as 100 different varieties of 
persimmons. They re an alkaline fruit and very high in 
enzymes which are a great aid to digestion. They are three 
or four times stronger than Alka-seltzer or any of these other 
so-called antacid palliatives. Most varieties of persimmon 
must first be allowed to become very soft before they are 
sweet and delicious to eat. 

Teiser: Have you actually frozen the puree? 

Powers: Oh yes, and I have some in storage. I ve been experimenting 
with this and working with the University of California. Dr. 
M.A. Joslyn, who is a great wine man (I first met him in 
connection with the wine industry), is also a great expert on 
persimmons. The enzymes in the persimmon are what do the 
trick. There are two main varieties, the astringent and the 
non-astringent; and the astringent are the most common, and 
the non-astringent you can eat just like an apple. And on 
my trip to Europe in "66, I found that Italy, which I knew 
was already a very big producer of persimmons, that their type 
is all concentrated on that non-astringent type, and all the 
fancy restaurants carried them. It s a beautiful persimmon 
and you can eat it just like an apple. 

Teiser: Do you also grow grapes on this property? 

Powers: Oh yes, grapes have actually been our main crop, but the grape 

industry has been so sicknothing but red ink and poor prices-- 
I pulled out a big portion of my grapes. I still have around 
24 acres, which isn t much. It s just more or less to say 
that we re still vineyardists. 

Teiser: When was that that you pulled them out? 

Powers: Let s see, six years ago, 1963. After the set-aside. The 
growers voted that out.* 

Teiser: Your father was interested in grape growing? 

Powers: Yes. As a matter of fact, though, he got-- See, we had these 
orange trees on our ranch. We had three varieties there. We 
had what s known as the sweet orangeMediterranean sweet--it 
belongs to the Valencia side of the family. It has many seeds, 
came in from Florida. All the early settlers would carry 
these Mediterranean sweet seeds just like Johnny Appleseed in 
their vest pockets. As you go through the Mother Lode country, 
you ll find orange trees, and they ll be Mediterranean sweet, 
growing by a creek. And if you look around , you ll probably 
find an old chimney, and there had been a home. 

Teiser: Angel s Camp has a lot of them. 

Powers: That s right. Well, again, this is Mediterranean sweet; we 
had about three acres on this original planting. There s 
about seven or eight orange groves that were planted in the 
early 50s there in that Centerville area. 

The most popular orange variety is the navel orange. In 
the experimental persimmon plot of 1875, every other tree was 
a navel orange. 

Teiser: Were there grapes when you came there too? 

Powers: My father had those. Principally Muscat variety, which was 

planted for raisins. This was just before the Thompson Seedless 
variety was coming into popularity because ic was seedless. 

*For further discussion of the set-aside, see pp. 27 and 47. 

Teiser: Were there grapes on the property when your family bought it? 

Powers: Yes. About 120 acres of Muscat grapes. Later father planted 
20 acres of Feher Szagos and some 40 acres of Emperor table 
grapes . 

My grandfather was very active in the early days of Sun 
Maid Raisin Association, when it was led by [M.] Theodore 
Kearney, an Englishman who was a great pioneer. He planted 
Kearney Park. Later he donated it to the University. He 
planned this as a site for a branch of the University. And 
of course, they re kicking themselves today that they didn t 
develop it.* But you know hindsight oftentimes-- 

Our ranch was 15 miles from Fresno. In those early 
days everything had to be hauled by wagon. Of course the 
power was horses and mules. It took 60 head to run our ranch 
there in those early days. And of course they also had a 
large dairy. 

My father was quite ingenious. As I say, we had one of 
the original orange groves. In that orange grove were grape 
fruit with a lot of seeds, and grapefruit seeds were used to 
root stock; you would graft lemons and navel oranges on them. 
So he got into the citrus nursery business, and he planted 
over 100 acres of citrus nursery [stock]. And it was rather 
ingenious the way he handled it. He d lease the land, two 
to five acres, to Japanese, and they would build a little 
house and live right on it there, on the property. And father 
would loan them money to buy seed, and let them have their rent 
and one thing and another. And then when, in the second year, 
the trees were ready to be sold, my father would sell them 
for them. A hundred acres of orange trees will producewell, 
it s unbelievable- -anywhere from 7,000 to 14,000 trees to the 

We also had walnuts, figs, apples, pomegranates and 
everything else on the property. He believed in diversification, 

Teiser: What kind of grapes did he plant? 

Powers: Thompson Seedless, Alicante, Malaga; and then also Feher Szagos 
and Emperors, as I say. 

*It was sold. 

Teiser: Did any go into wine? 

Powers: Yes, Muscats and Alicante and Feher Szagos were popular wine 
varieties which went to the winery. 

Teiser: Did he make any wine himself? 

Powers: No, father did not. With the orange deal he moved into fruit 
shipping. From 1910 to 1932 he was one of the biggest fresh 
grape packers in the Sanger district and could move about 
500 carloads a year. He had three packing sheds all within 
a radius of five miles. 

He was very active working with Donald Conn as a grape 
shipper. Now those were carload shipments that went on the 
fruit auctions in all the big cities in the East, New York, 
Boston, Chicago and Pittsburgh 

Most of his citrus nursery stock was shipped to Southern 
California, and some went to Tulare County. He played an 
important part in developing the citrus industry of Southern 
California. Because with that many trees, h2 was like a 
manufacturer. He would sell them to the big nurseries in 
Southern California, and they, in turn, would sell to the 

This brought him into both the fruit shipping business 
and banking, and so he had two banks in Sanger and then 
came to Fresno, and he was manager of the Growers Bank here 
and helped put that bank on its feet. 

Teiser: He was a versatile man. 

Powers: Yes, he was a hard worker. And he just loved to work and 
was very successful. 

He had several thousand acres of grapes, in the Sanger- 
Clotho, Dinuba and Strathmore districts. In addition to 
this, he bought other properties. 

When I graduated from Boalt Hall, after taking the bar 
examinations in September and October 1927, I went East and 
spent two months covering all the big fruit auctions, 
watching the sales of fresh grapes and tree fruits. 

Powers Packing Sheds 

Teiser: Was this during Prohibition? 

Powers: This was all during Prohibition. That s right. Wine grapes 
were sold in Kearny in New Jersey at the freight yards there 
across the Hudson River from New York. But the table grapes 
would be unloaded from the car and put on u lighter or a 
barge and taken to piers #23, #24 and certain other designated 
piers in New York City, where they were displayed, catalogued 
and sold in different auctions. Of course, this was the 
biggest fruit sale center in America. It had four auctions. 
And that s the way the grapes were sold. The buyers would go 
down and they d have the catalogue and they d first inspect 
the fruit displayed on the piers, and then they d go back 
and bid on the fruit which they wanted. 

Teiser: They bought by the carload? 

Powers: Yes, by carloads. Many times a car would then be closed and 
trans-shipped to Boston or to other cities. It all depended 
on what the market demand would be. 

Teiser: We ve been told that some of the wine grapes were crushed 
right at the yards. 

Powers: Well, that could have- been. That could have been. They also 
had a small freight yard in New York City .just outside the 
central part. But of course they had these same sales of 
wine grapes in Pittsburgh, which was quite a center, and Chicago 
and Detroit, Boston, and Philadelphia. 

Teiser: Were you aware of any amount of those grapes going into 
organized crime groups hands? 

Powers: Not intentionally, no. If it was, it wasn t anything that 
anyone knew anything about. 

Teiser: So far as you knew, they were going to people who were going 
to make their legal allotment? 

Powers: Well, we knew this, that a lot of those grapes were being 
crushed and sold, and we presumed it was in a legal manner 
because we had no knowledge otherwise. 

Teiser: This was at a time when there was a very good market-- 
which then fell off, didn t it? 


Powers: Well, the market didn t fall off, we just overproduced. And 
this is typical of what goes on--I won t just say in the 
grape industry, but all through every phase of our agriculture, 
where, as I pointed out to you yesterday, I don t care whether 
its almonds or oranges or what, as soon as you make it 
profitable, why, before you know it, the industry is just 
overloaded . 

Teiser: What varieties were you shipping as wine grapes during 

Powers: Well, Alicante was one of the very important ones. It s a red 
grape and it makes a red wine. And of course the Muscat, 
also, was another very important grape. And then of course 
we had all the other varieties, Barbera, and Zinfandel. 
Zinfandel was another very popular grape. 

Teiser: Did they all ship well? 

Powers: Oh, yes. And Zinfandel is a Light bunch, very like a cluster, 
always, and of course, as I say, they ship well. And the 
Alicantes ship well. Then Muscats, and then also some Malagas; 
that s a wine grape for a white wine. And of course they had 
some of the wine grapes like the Golden Chasselas and Burgers. 
And then, of course, some of the very fine Chardonnay and 
all--but those we never knew anything about. 

The old vineyards that had, you know, excellent plantings, 
more or less turned out sacramental wines before Repeal. 
There was a very big business in sacramental wines for the 
Jewish and the Catholic churches, especially. 

Teiser: Were there people in this area producing for those...? 

Powers: No, that was done further north, all around the Napa and 
Sonoma country, and one vineyard or two around Livermore. 
And there was one in Mission San Jose. As I say, these few 
carried on. There was one plant in Madera where Mr. [K. ] 
Arakelian made some sacramental wine too. 

And then Andrew Mattei had one of the largest wine and 
brandy plants in our area. He was a winemaker and a very 
close friend, and he was part of our group in our co-op 
that organized the Central Valley [Cooperative Winery, Inc.], 


Teiser: Where did he make his wines? 

Powers: Well, they had their own big plant about six or seven miles 
southeast of Fresno. And this office building, the Mattei 
Building, was one of the very finest buildings in Fresno. It 
had its own electrical system, its own water system, and 
everything needed. You should have seen my office. It was 
up on the llth floor for over 20 years. And of course, we 
loved it. It was all finished in Philippine mahogany. 


Teiser: How did your father happen to get interested in the California 
Vineyardists Association? 

Powers: Well, father believed in seeing the grape industry organized. 
It was the only way we could do things successfully. Everyone 
in the industry had to work together and unite to be successful. 

Teiser: Did Mr. Donald D. Conn then come to him? 

Powers: Yes. Mr. Conn called this group, and father, together. And 
father was very much sold on Mr. Conn. We all liked him. 
He had a very nice personality. 

Teiser: What was he like? 

Powers: He was a big man, big man with a fine personality, and he had 
a lot of public relations experience, and of course this was 
what was required in getting people together, because it s 
awful easy for people to become divided. It takes a real 
personality to bring people together, don t you know. 

Teiser: Some people said that his attempts to organize were immediately 
directed by Mr. Hoover.* Were you aware of any such connection? 

Powers: No, I never had any knowledge of such a rumor. Of course, 
we saw Mr. Hoover and all. 

Teiser: How did you happen to see him? 

Powers: You see, Mr. Hoover was concerned about the farm program, and 
we ve had farm problems from time immemorial, and Mr. Hoover 
himself owned several large properties 2,000 to 3,000 acres. 

*Herbert Clark Hoover 


Powers: He had a large holding down in the Kern district, the 

Bakersfield area around Delano, somewhere there near the 
Di Giorgio properties, and then had another large holding 
at Minturn, which is just north of the town of Chowchilla. 
And his son, Allan Hoover I believe it was, farmed in Madera 
County. The Hoover Farms. And of course we appreciated 
seeing him give us some leadership. 

Teiser: And this was all during the 20 s? 
Powers: Yes, but in the late 20 s. 

Teiser: During the time the California Vineyardists Association was 

Powers: That s right. And it was organized to help stabilize the 

program of selling and handling and distributing our products. 

Teiser: Did it succeed? 

Powers: It was rather successful at first, but time caught up with 

us, and as I say, we had some very good years, and then things 
began to drift apart. Can t say just what broke it up at 
this point; I wasn t active. I was pretty young at that time. 

Teiser: I ve been told that Fruit Industries Inc. developed from the 
organization. Does that sound familiar to you? 

Powers: That s right. They took over some of the functions and 

expanded. That was another phase of it, and that was the 
property ownership. In other words, growers and shippers 
would work with Mr. Conn as part of the organization, and 
then out of that certain segments bought and owned their 
own properties, and out of that came the wine group that 
developed . 

Teiser: Fruit Industries? 

Powers: Fruit Industries, yes. 

Teiser: Do you know Walter Taylor? 

Powers: Oh yes. 

Teiser: He was active both in the California Vineyardists and then 
in the Fruit Industries, was he not? 


Powers: That s right. And then of course that very beloved person, 

Mr. [Almond R.] Morrow. Everybody loved him. And a wonderful 
leader, very fine person, from the standpoint of working with 
the industry and giving considered outstanding advice and 

Teiser: But they went their way, the Fruit Industries people, and you 
went yours? 

Powers: They were primarily interested in wine. 

Teiser: And you were still grape people? 

Powers: Table grapes, yes. 

Teiser: And some wine grapes? 

Powers: And some wine grapes, that s right. 

Teiser: So it was not really until Repeal that your family interests 
turned to wine? 

Powers: That s right. That s when we started. 

Teiser: You told yesterdayand would you again today for the tape- 
about your father s association with the Traungs? 

Powers: Yes, Louis Traung and Charlie Traung. 
Teiser: You remember them yourself? 

Powers: Oh, very definitely. Yes, I came to know them quite well 

because they were very generous and invited me to their duck 
club in the 1920 s when I was in college, and so once or 
twice a year, I enjoyed shooting ducks with them, and you 
know, got quite well acquainted with them. And they were 
just outstanding people. 

Father had purchased a half section of land, and he 
developed and planted it as vineyard. This was around 1918 
near Sanger, on .Belmont Avenue. This turned into a very 
profitable project because grapes in World War I were very 
profitable. Also had some peaches that r.hey planted. But 
anyway, then, after World War I, conditions continued to get 
worse and worse and they wanted to sell the property, and 
anyway they still carried it on and even lost money with it, 



Teiser : 

Powers : 

Powers : 

but then along came Repeal and they [the Traungs] were very 
much interested and saw a great future in the wine industry 
and very glad to join with my father, buying a half interest 
in the Belmont property. 

How did your father happen to know the Traung brothers? They 
were San Francisco label suppliers, lithographers. 

Yes, but you see, they had come down to Fresno to sell the 
fruit shippers. 

Oh, box labels. 

Labels for boxes, that s right. And then he, Charlie Traung, 
was an Elk and a Mason, and they became very close friends. 
Father was one of their big customers in those days. 

What brands did he ship under? 
Mt . Tivy was his main label. 


Powers: That was the reason we used the same label for the new 
winery, you see. 

In the spring of 1933, my father asked me to look into 
a winery. And I found this plant over near Parlier, just 
between Parlier and Reed ley, on the S.P. and Santa Fe. Both 
lines crossed right there at the property, where they had 
over 3,600 feet of trackage on the two railroads. And we 
bought it for virtually nothing. In the early days, the 
Samuels owned the property. They were living in San Francisco. 
The property had been standing still, so to speak. I liked 
its location, and it was a very natural winery site. 

Teiser: You said "Mt. Tivy" was named after a mountain? 

Powers: It s right where the Kings River emerges from the mountains. 
And then there s a little valley right next to it called 
Tivy Valley. Father always enjoyed it. 

Teiser: In 1933 I would have thought there would have been much 
competition for purchase of winery properties. 

*Sometimes spelled Mount Tivy 


Powers : 


Powers ; 


Powers : 


Powers ; 

Well, it takes people a while to shake the dust off and look 
around. It all sounds very simple, but to go into a business 
that is absolutely foreign to you. And then, you see, there 
were about two generations of people that came and went during 
Prohibition. Let s see, when did Prohibition come? 


1918. There was a period there, 15 years. It seemed longer 
than that to me [laughs], but 1918 to 1933, a period of 15 
years. . . 

Was there much bootlegging around here of wine? 

No. Very little. You see, the problem of bootlegging with 
wine is difficult, because it s so much easier to bootleg 
alcohol, which is a very small package, compared. But if 
you had to get a wine barrel out, immediately it s quite 
obvious. Whereas alcohol is the main thing, and bathtub gin 
was the main thing that was distributed. Of course, we knew 
that anybody could get a permit to make 200 gallons of wine 
legally, so we had a presumption that that was... in your big 
cities something that had been worked out and didn t bother 
to look into what was going on. But of course as you look 
back on the record now, this man Al Capone was one of the 
richest men in the United States. This I never knew. I only 
learned this a couple of months ago. 

I have been told that there were people In California involved 
with him. 

Oh there would be, no doubt, 
was just fantastic. 

I mean, the extent of his operation 

In any case, when commercial wine making became legal again, 
you bought a winery. 

Yes, as I say, I bought it from the Paul Samuel estate, and 
the widow was still living in San Francisco and she was so 
happy to sell it. And I couldn t believe we were getting 
all this trackage and 40 acres of land. It was laid out, as 
I say, in an excellent area because it s right in the center 
of the entire grape industry and of course, you sec, in those 
early days they didn t know what trucks were. Everything had 
to go by horse and wagon. Well, a horse and wagon--how far 
are you going to haul grapes with a horse and wagon? And if 


Powers: they had to go 20 miles or so, they were loaded on a freight 
car. So therefore the railroad trackage in the early days 
was a must. 

Teiser: Was there any equipment in the winery? 

Powers: No. There was a boiler there and a chimney, and everything 
else had been taken. You know how people will take things. 

Teiser: What was the history of the winery as you know it? 

Powers: Well, the Samuels were essentially a brandy producer. They 
did a tremendous business in brandy. It was called the 
Samuels Winery. Sanford Samuel was in the liquor business 
in New York City and we sold him a quarter of a million 
gallons of brandy in the first year. And of course, this 
started us off with a bang, and so we had basically a big 
brandy operation right from the beginning. 

Teiser: Was Paul Samuel the earlier owner and Sanford Samuel his son? 
Powers: Yes. 

Interesting, I looked up, tried to find some old files, 
and I found an agreement between Mt. Tivy and my mother. My 
mother wanted to get out of the wine business. We had to 
borrow as much as a half million dollars, you know, for our 
annual grape crush. Well, she hadn t been accustomed to 
anything like this, and father had always handled the banking, 
so she was unacquainted with this altogether. Of course 
with father, this was old shoe. He would borrow money from 
the banks and loan it out to good people and make 2 per cent 
or 3 per cent profit, you know. 

Teiser: So she sold soon after your father s death? 
Powers: Yes. 

We started the winery up in August of 33. And you 
mentioned the stills. The old Parlier winery, which was just 
two miles away, had stills. So we bought their stills, and 
we had to add a lot more equipment to them. They were 
excellent stills. 

Teiser: Who had owned the Parlier winery? 


From California Wine and Spirits Review 
December 1933 

Lucius Powers, Sr. 

Lucius Powers, Sr., 61, head of the Mt. 
Tivy Winery at Lacjac, Fresno County, 
and a pioneer San Joaquin Valley vine- 
yardisl and fruit packer, died in a Fresno 
sanitariuin December At\i a few hours 
after he was injured in an automobile 

Powers, the father of Assemblyman 
Lucius Powers, Jr., of Fresno, settled 
with his father, the late Aaron Hr.bbard 
Powers, at Ccntcrvillc, Fresno CYunty, 
when he was 15 years old. and wi h In- 
father extended the family holdings to 
several hundred acres of vineyard and 
orchard land. For years he ha s been a 
dominant figure in the valley fruit indus 

\Yilli probable repeal, I owers acc|in re<l 
the Mt Tivy Winery and bcuaii produc 
tion on a lar^e scale. The winery -ip- 
erates one of the largest plants for forti 
ficalion hrandy in the valley district. 
Lucius I owers, Jr., is manager. Another 
son. Aaron Powers, manages the vine 
yard and orchard property. Powers also 
headed i he Powers Fruit Company, fruit 
shippers. He also was prominent in "lank- 
iiiK and financial circles and look a lead 
ing part in civic affairs. 

In addition to his sons, his widow and 
two daughters, Mary Louise Powers of 
I Vesn., and Martha Kate Harrington of 
btratlimore, survive. 

His father, the late Aaron Huhhard 
Powers, came lo California hy way of 
Cape Hum in 1849 and after mining and 
business ventures in Northern California 
came to I resno County in 1837 t;i es 
tablish the original Powers ranch near 
Centerville, Fresno County. 


Powers: Well, Mr. .William Parlier (The town of Parlier was named 

after him; built Parlier, and a very wonderful person.) and 
Mr. William J. Lohman, who was another very fine person. 
He was a banker in Parlier. They owned the Parlier bank. 
They were the surviving directors, officers, of the old 
Parlier Winery. So we bought the stills from them just as 
they sat for $10,000. And then we had Krens , Oscar Krenz, 
of San Francisco, completely rebuild the stills. We wanted 
the very best. 

One thing that we demanded was quality, and this was 
what we started out with. We were going to make the best 
wine and the best brandy. Nobody was going to make anything 
any better. And I hired the very best men I could find. I 
was very fortunate in getting Mr. Carlo Cetti as our winemaker. 
He had been with Italian Swiss Colony at Asti for many many 
years. This was during the pre-Prohibition era we call the 
"old days." I ve learned things here in this article* I didn t 
even know about him [Cetti]. I knew he was one of the very 
best, and of course his production was the best. We learned 
to appreciate it later because I was able to get as much as 
5i to 10j! a gallon more for our wines than the trade because 
of our quality. When we started out we had prices of 80^, and 
then this market went down to where 60^ was hard to get. And 
a lot of people had to sell at 50-55^ because their quality 
wasn t there. But you can understand dealing in a wine or 
brandy product, you have got to be reliable so they can count 
on it, that s all. 

But anyway, this agreement here related to the contract 
I made with Lohman and Parlier, to buy the equipment. Of 
course I had also Mr. Cetti at my elbow; I took him on over 
there because, you see, we had to have the scales and all the 
other necessary equipment to do a high quality job. 

Teiser: Where did you get your cooperage? 

Powers: That all came in from San Francisco, and we bought all new 

cooperage because cooperage deteriorates. Again in order not 
to fool around with anything second-rate, we went ahead and 
got the best. And then, as I say, the second year we expanded 

*"Parlier Vintner is Growing New Grape Varieties," Fresno Bee, 
September 9, 1934. 





From Fresno Bee, September 9, 1934 



(Country Life Editor) 

The variety and the quality of 
wines that can be made in the San 
Joaquin Valley have by no means 
reached their limit, according to 
Carlo Cetti, veteran valley vintner, 
who is now the superintendent of 
the Mt. Tivey Winery at Las Jac 
near Parlier. 

Last year Cetti, obtained nig 
plants at Healdsburg, set twelxv 

acres near the winery to the Golden 
Shaala variety of vine, which pro 
duces a grape for the manufacture 
of a dry wine. 

"The Idea that dry wines can not 
bo produced In the San Joaqui 

Pasteurization, also, he says, has 
been resorted to in Italy since 1882. 
This process, he points out, 
has a clarifying effect and removes 
substances that would continue to 

in the 
is the last to which the Mt. Tivey, 

Valley in preposterous." .says Otll. , w |,,e | a mihjeclcj. according to Oe 
"All that is required is tho proper |||, hn.n a final ofniiiylng mid xtahliz- 
rqulpment and cureful attention to ing nffrrl. on the product. 
tho exigencies of climate. 1 have Tho Mt. Tivcy Winery produced 
made excnilont dry wines in this , loan to 1,000,000,000 gallons cf wine: 
valley and plan to do so again." ,| a st season and la planning to in-! 
Studies Foreign Vines crease that figure this ye;vr, hav-1 

C,ettl also has small planting of ing atarted the crushing season 
thej Chianti, Pinonero, Moscato, earl/ in the -week, with a force of 
Cafelli, Sargnon, Barbera and Grig- thii y-five workers employed at thci 
noHno vaiieties of black grapes, P | r >,t and scores of others 

with which he plans to experiment , r picking and hauling grapes from! 
when they start bearing. ( > corporation s 23O-acre vineyard I 

The Mt. Tivey superintendent and 
wine maker obtained his education 

in his chosen calling 1 In the Unlver- 

,.arby and from other neighboring! 

Plans are now afoot. Cetti r- 

sity of Milan, Itaty. He was active caled, to build an addhion to il.e 
in his profession. for Mveral years winery with a capacity of 1<KX).000 
after coming to America at the more gallons 
Swiss-Italian Colony in Astl. So- Two Still* Operated 

noma County. Two stills will b operated this 

In, 1907 he came to the San Joa- season f<jr the manufacture of com- 
quin Valley and built the Las Pal- jmerrial *andy. each still having a 

mas Winery near Fresno and was 
engaged in the wine making in 
dustry until prohibition, when he 

capacity *f 4,000 proof gallo-is daily. 
Last year the plant produced 3.000 
brnels of brandy. 

went Into the grocery business in Both the Santa "Fe and th^ .iouth- 
Fresno. With the repeal of prohibl- ern } :irgflc Railroads have spur 
Jon he became connected with the track:! il the plant, one tr;.. i on 
Mt. Tivey Winery Corporation, of [each fldi of the main building, 
which Lucius Powers, Jr., of Fresno Recently thn <j.iriu>rnti<m flmtti-<l] 
is the president, and superintended 
tho remodeling of tho old plant, 
having hail experience along that 
lino before coming to America, his 
father having been an architect in 

Tines Modern Methods 
Cetti ia n firm believer in the 
use of modern methods In the 

.manufacture of wine. He says the 
employment of refrigeration for the 
purpose of clarifying and stabilizing 
new wino in no new idea and that 

it has been in use in Italy and crush^ grape^ 
other European countries for more mixed with five 
than thirty years. Tho chief result nmke f rti 
of refrigeration, he says, is that to be as offer 
,tho wine does not cloud up or color t|,,, o (ons 
I in transit or because of violent j manure 
lehangos in temperature, or altitude.. 1 

the oon^ructioa oX a ecw h> -o 

cooking hou.-ie, with n capacity of 
110.000 gallons of wine. 

Ccttl points -with pride to tin In 
vention of bin 
Tivey plant, n 

chine for loading barrels on freight 
oars, which eliminates th,j back- 
brenking manual labor attached to 
that operation. 

He Rtso calls the attention of the 
visitor to the system through which 

own at tho 



residue oC the 
Is salvaged and 
per cent lime to 
which lie declarer. 

Ive hy Iho ton a. 1 : 



From Fresno Bee , "California Country Life" 
September 9, 


Once again a considerable part of the San J oaquin Valley s huge gpe erop is finding its way to the Valley wineries. Crushing was in full swing 
in practically all tin- wineries in the valley during the week, including the Mt. Tivey Winery near Parlier. The pictures, taken at the Mt. Tivey Win 
ery l>y Lew Hero, The Uee staff cameraman, show: The barreling department, with A. Paselli (left) and A. DiQuirico ; the two giant brandy stills, 
which have a capacity of 8,000 proof gallons a day; workmen unloading grapes from truck onto crusher conveyor; Carlo Cetti, the superintendent of 
the^ winery, showing some of his Golden .Shas la vines, which he intends to experiment^ with in the manufacture of white dry wines; the new sherry 

cooking house, which lias a capacity of 110,000 gallons, and Lucius Powers, Jr., of Fresno, the president of the Mt. Tivey Winery Corporation. 


Powers: some more because we really had a fine operation going. We 
were always in the black and always making money. And this 
is something the other folks couldn t speak for. To me, there s 
just no short-cut. I mean, everybody wants quality, and when 
you go to buy something, you want something good. 

Our production was in two parts. It was our sweet wines 
and sherries that s port and muscat, and of course angelica, 
and then we used to make a blend we d call a tokay. And then 
our commercial brandy. And we made good muscat brandy--and then 
there are two varieties, the neutral grape brandy and the 
muscat brandy, and of course in grape brandy, you can t use 
any muscat because muscat has such a strong flavor all of its 
own. On the other hand, in the early days, muscat brandy 
was one of the favorite of all brandies, and we did quite a 
little business with muscat brandy, and I personally like it. 
It has a character, but it s got to be old. In other words, 
a minimum of five years. Because again, the muscat is so 
strong, unless it s ameliorated by aging, it detracts from it. 

Teiser: There s a mention in this 1934 article that Mr. Cetti said 

that dry wines could be made in this area, and he was planting 
some Golden Chasselas, which I guess could be used for either 
dry or sweet wines, couldn t they? 

Powers: Yes, that s right. They make a good table wine, by picking them 
before they get too sweet, when they re about 19 sugar. And 
of course it will go up to 25, 26 degrees alcohol, but it s 
not as palatable then. On the other hand, if you want to make 
a sherry out of them, that is all right. 

Teiser: Did you make table wines? 

Powers: We made some, but not too much in the beginning. 

Teiser: Why not? 

Powers: Well, it requires a lot of refrigeration and a lot of other 
processes. You ve got to have cellars that are cool. You 
see, we had our hands full. And we didn t want to make 
anything that wasn t tops, and that again is another reason 
we didn t go into the table wines. As I say, we had all we 
could do to keep up with our demand for our sweet wines. And 
we more or less allowed the people up north- -you see, as 
you ve been up there, they have caves and hillsides. Of course 
Northern California is an entirely different climate. Our 


Powers: weather gets so hot here. And until we had better refrigeration 
and insulation we were just asking for trouble with table 

Teiser: Did you do any wine bottling at Mt. Tivy Winery? 

Powers: Not at first. But we did with our brandy. Mr. Cetti s 

brandy was in great demand because of excellent quality, and 
it was a real pleasure to sell it. And we oottled that under 
the Royal Banquet label. And frankly it could have been the 
biggest business of all because there was no limit to where 
good brandy goes because many people learned to enjoy it. 
Again, you ve got different kinds of brandy. There were 
brandies that weren t worth pouring out into the sink, they 
were so distasteful. But where you have something that s 
really lovely and pure, with a lovely flavorand after the 
second year, brandy gets rather smooth and enjoyable. Many 
places have to use special water and all, but there at Mt. 
Tivy we could use the water right out of our wells. You 
see, your brandy comes off of the still about 170 proof and 
then you add water and caramel coloring. Most of our brandy 
was cut then to around 100 proof. 

We didn t store the brandy there til later. Later they 
enlarged our plant and had, as you know, storage warehouses 
for the brandy like Christian Brothers have now* But we 
first brought it in barrels into the warehouses here in Fresno 
and stored it. That was one of the places, and some were 
stored in other towns, always on rail sites and then they 
could be reloaded you see. Because most of our brandies would 
go to the east coast, the biggest percentage of the production. 
We would sell brandy ahead. I sold a half million gallons to a 
big drug chain, McKesson-Robbins , which is an international 
group, and the same thing on wines. They came and bought , 
about a half million gallons of wine they liked very much, 
and they wanted it aged and we held it for them. I made a 
trip east in 1935 to help them on their labelling and bottling 

Teiser: Did they use their own labels? 

Powers: Oh yes, they had their own labels, you see. 

Teiser: What were your wine labels? 

Powers: Well, as I recall, primarily Mt. Tivy. As I say, we did very 
little bottling as such, because this runs into an entirely 
different operation. 

*Christian Brothers bought the Mt. Tivy winery in 1945. 


From California Grape Grower , December 1.93k 






ROYAL BANQUET BRANDY is guaranu-od by us 
lo h.ive been nindc only from a fully fermented Musca 
tel Grape Wine; to have been distilled in the fall of 
1933, properly aged in wood and is bcinj; bottled now 
;is it is being sold; contains no artificial flavoring and 

Order Thru Your Jobber 


San Francisco: 558 Sacramento St. 

Los Angeles: 802 Hollywood Storage Bldg. 


From Sacramento Bee, September 1, 1934 

Mount Tivey Adds Uu 
500,000 Gallons 

The storage capacity at tho 
Mount Tivey Winery, established 
as the old Sanford Winery in 1901 
and located at the intersection of 
the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific 
railroad lines at Parlier and Reed- 
ley Avenues near Freano, is being 
increased this season from 1,000.000 
gallons to 1,500,000 gallons to care 
for the greater production of sweet 
wines and brandy. Work la pro 
gressing rapidly on the construction 
of the additional tanks. 

M9.MM Gall,...., Form Output. 

At present the cooperage com 
prise* tbirty-elx tanks, ranging in 
size from 3,000 to 42,000 gallons. 
There are eighteen fermenting 
tank* of 12,000 gallons each. The 
1033 production of the Mount Tivey 
Winery totaled 740,000 gallons of 
win* and 200,000 gallons of com- 

irclal fresh grape brandy. 
. Two modern stills, with a daily 
capacity of 7,000 gallons, distill the 
high grade brandies for which 
Mount Tivey is famed. A recently 
installed . up-to-date refrigeration 
| plant treats 7,500 gallons of wine 
; every twenty-four hours, while a 
i modern sherry, cooker treats 110,- 

000 gallons of sherry at a time. 
The grape crusher handles 400 tons 

ot grumes per dny, 

Vineyard Is .Operated. 
Tha 1 Mount Tivey Winery, situ 
ated in the heart of the muscat 
raisin, belt, operates 1,200 acres of 
choice vineyards, producing wine, 
table . and raisin grapes, and a 

1 number of orchards. The Mount 
Jtyey brand of packed fruits has 

i> . >n favorably known for more 
than thirty years. Its 3,600-foot 
loading platform on a spur track 
can handle seventy cars at a time. 
AH equipment is new and modern. 

Powers Is President. 

Lucius Powers, Jr., is president 
trf-the Mount Tivey Winery, while 
Charles Traung is vice president 
and Louis Strong Is manager. Some 
years after the Sanford Winery 
was established, it was acquired by 
the Lackman and Jacoby Interests, 
and became known as the Lac-Jac 
Winery. Later the California Wine 
Ansoclation controlled It. Powers 
and his associates took over the 
winery in September, 1933, and 
made many improvements. 

Tho featured wine brands are 
the Mount Tivey and Royal Ban- 
Iquet, while the commercial brandy 
U marketed under the Two Stripes 
name. Large quantities of brandy 
! are produced for the fortification . 
(of the wines. 


Teiser: Did you continue then producing in full scale until you sold 
your interest? 

Powers: Yes. My mother, as I say, wanted to sell out. It bothered 
her to borrow half a million dollars annually. And, as I 
say, even though she had a head for bargains, you know, 
[laughs] she just couldn t take it. In the meantime, we d 
moved our office to San Francisco and I bought my home in 
St. Francis Woods there and raised my family and completely 
enjoyed San Francisco, and I dropped out of the wine industry. 
Went into the practice of law again, in San Francisco. 

Teiser: Who was managing the winery then? 

Powers: Well, there was Mr. Fred Vieth. He had come into the 

organization as a friend of the Traungs and he was an experienced 
accountant. Then there was Mr. Sam Riddell, who was my plant 

manager. He was of the old school here and had been in the 
industry prior to the Prohibition days. His son James L. 

Riddell has the Vie-Del plant now; he s a big operator, one 
of the leaders of the entire industry. 

They make grape concentrates, do they? 

Concentrates and brandy and wines, too. And Mr. Riddell first 
started with us at our plant and subsequently went with 
Italian Swiss Colony and gained experience there, and then 
when they sold out he and Mr. Vieth formed Vie-Del. That s 
the way Vie-Del winery developed. 

Teiser: So that s where that name came from 

I think an earlier name of your Mt. Tivy winery was-- 
Powers: Lac-Jac? 
Teiser: Yes. 

Powers: Well, there s some that called it Lac-Jac, because Lac Jac 
Avenue serves the winery. I think at one time it was known 
as the Lac-Jac winery. 

Teiser: I believe that Lachman & Jacobi, the wine merchants, owned 

Powers: Oh, yes. That was what that was from the early days. They 
were big wine merchants. 



Teiser: After you went to San Francisco and ceased direct operation 
of Mt. Tivy, your mother then sold her interest? 

Powers: Yes, she sold it to the Traungs in 1937. 

Teiser: Did that end the Powers family association with it? 

Powers: Yes. 

Teiser: Had the Traungs been in it from the beginning? 

Powers: Well, father first took title in his name because we had to 
put the whole thing together before we had comething to talk 
to the Traungs about, you know. They came in, oh, I would say 
a couple of months after we acquired the Samuels property. 

Teiser: And then they later acquired additional interest when your 
mother went out? 

Powers: That s right. See, we owned a half interest, father did, 
with the Traungs. It was incorporated but basically, as I 
say, it was half and half. 

Teiser: So the Traungs continued operating until the sale in 1943? 
Powers: Yes. And that s when they sold to Seagram s. 
Teiser: How did they decide to sell? 

Powers: Well, I don t know. This is something I wasn t in on and 
have no knowledge about. 

Teiser: Did you have any personal interest in it after your mother 
sold her interest? 

Powers: No. No. 

Teiser: And just the Traungs owned it then? 

Powers: Yes. Well, there was someone elsecan t recall this man s 
name, he s an old-timer... I think another thing that 
happened... Charlie Traung died in the meantime and Louie- 
was the only one left of the Traung group. 

Teiser: What were the years that you were living in San Francisco? 
Powers: I guess I first went there in about 1935. 


From Fresno Bee, February 5, 1943 

V; THE; 

Seagrams Buys 
Mount Tivy 
Lac JacWinery 

Price Not Disclosed As 
Another Distillery Enters 
California Field 

Othera J-:.iU-r Ft. 14 - -,, 
Oth>r recent California winery 
Seals have included purchase t 
the. Schenley Distilleries Corpora 
Uon of the Roma plants in Freifin. 

.~-~, Healdsburg and Manteca, the 
Umtrai Winery, Inc., holdings ii, 
Jvinssburg and. St. Helena, tH* 1 
Orasta Blanca Wina. Company tlv- 
^-nore plant, and a part 
U.iomal Grape Products Companj 

r"* 4 ^ V" 

and a deal was completed 4a 
j month in *rtiic the Lj N\ Reauv..! 
Inc., firm f J^ew Jrs 
*h? St 

Entry of another major eastern 
distillery concern into the California 
j wins industry was disclosed today 
^ith the filing of a document in the 
Fresno County recor 
showing the Joseph, E. 8<>agiaj:> 
Sons, Inc., concern ha* 
the Mount Tivy Winery^, Ihjc.., 
jerty at Lac Jac 4n, the Reedley dis 

The transaction, pending for the 
past several weeks, was completed 
in New York and the .consideration 
has not been .disclosed. A certKi-i 
cats of fictitious name, signed- r>y| 
James E. Friel, vice president of the I 

Seagram corporation, says the plant] Wdings in the El Grove district. " 
will continue operations as they ^ *h e National Distillers Prodacti 
Mount Tivy. ,. Corporation bought the.- Italur 

Owned By Bay Men j?wiss Colony wineries ^.near Fre.?n<! 

Louis Traung is president of thv I JfJ 1 t Astl, in the latter part of 
Mount Tivy corporation, T" W. 
Vieth is vice president and geiwtil 
manager, H. H. Kattleman is *ecr- 

tary and A. C. McCrary t ron*\irer. | < M"- - na.i^a/ n? t=-t <ieprR.W>ir. ,-.-> 
All are residents of San Francisco, on TiUare. Avaiue ^eat Fresrjo. 
fieadquarters of the Traung Invest 
ment Company. 

Located 22 miles southwest of 
Fresno, the. winery has 
pacity for 2,600,000 gallons of wine, 
5,000 barrels of brandy, presses foi 
450 tons daily, and sherry tanks 
with S30.000 gallons capacity. Prod 
ucts include botn sweet and dry 

Operated Before Prohibition 

Originally established as the Lac 
lac Winery, the plant was operated 
for several years before prohibition. 
It was purchased In September, 
1933, from the Paul Samuels Estate 
by the late Lucius Powers and as 
sociates and operations were re 
sumed after completion of an ex 
tensive remodeling project. 

Prior to prohibition, the winery 
was operated by the Larkman & 
Jaroby wine merchandising concern 
of San Frnnclsco, producing about 
500,000 pallons of wine and brandy 
annually. Lucius Powers, Jr., later 
was president 6T the "Mount Tivy 
corporation- and In tfofganOMtion 
programs the holdings were as- 
qaired by the Traun? interest*.. 



Teiser: When did you come back to Fresno? 

Powers: 1939. What had happened, my brothers and sisters were down 
here and we had a flood in 37- 38. Our whole ranch was 
under water. Consolidated Irrigation District had one of 
their big canals that was about 15 feet higher than our 
property and it followed along this ridge. Our land 
was all underlaid with cobbles and sand and wonderful drainage. 
This canal was originally laid on hardpan, but the water 
would take a rock and turn it and it would act as a hammer 
and just create big caverns in the handpan. And then just 
below this, the bottom was sand and cobbles. The irrigation 
district went in and broke up all these big caverns and 
hardpan, and they thought they were going to make a nice 
smooth channel, and when they did, they just had a porous 
bottom. And the water would just come out the sides like 
springs. This went on for two years, 1937 and 1938, and our 
ranch property was just under water for two years. 

Teiser: This was the original family property? 

Powers: Yes. And so my brother and sister, who were running the 

property, threw up their hands and said, "You come and take 
it. We don t want any part of it." Well. Mr. Christopher 
Bradley was my law associate. We filed this big lawsuit 
against the Consolidated Irrigation District and got a judgment 
in the lower court. Their geologist who was the head geologist 
at Stanford University told the irrigation directors, "You 
folks, every year that you have any high water are going to 
have lawsuits right back again in your lap. And P.W.A. are 
advancing money right now to line canals and you can get it 
done for about 5Qi on the dollar." And so they did, and as 
a result of that action, that canal is lined with concrete, 
and we now have a stable water table. And with all the 
water we had this year, for example, we were sitting high and 

Teiser: So you came back to take care of that. That was about the time 
the prorate was in effect. Did you have any winery interests 
at that time? 

Powers: No. There was a prorate in 38, and I did a little buying 
of grapes and, oh I helped--! got into it because I had 
helped Mr. Parlier, who sold us our stills. He had some bad 


Powers: frost damage and he couldn t sell his grape crop. So I 

bought his whole crop. I went to him and contracted for all 
of his tonnage. I paid Mt. Tivy for distilling the brandy, 
and Mr. Vieth was tickled to death to get the business, and 
then I subsequently sold the brandy for a nice profit. I 
offered him [Mr. Parlier] $10 a ton, and he was thrilled to 
death. It helped save his neck. [Laughs] So I was doing 
this brandy contracting on the side. I d buy the grapes 
and contract with a winery to do the distilling, and that s 
why I had some association with the California Wineries and 
Distilleries. That was actually owned by the Arthur Tarpey 
family. This was in 1937 and 38. I contracted with them 
and I furnished the barrels and the grapes, and all they did 
was the crushing and distilling, you see. Paul Tarpey s 
brother Arthur Tarpey had died. Paul was quite active in 
the Wine Institute. 

It was known locally as the Tarpey Winery. It was one 
of the largest layouts here in this whole district. Their 
plant is still a big operation, now. National Distillers 
bought it and they sold it to Italian Swiss Colony, and 
Louis Petri. And Louis Petri has now sold it to Heublein. 
Now it works this way: Heublein came in and bought the 
plant. I think they wanted a big tax write-off. They made 
wine for Allied Grape Growers, which is all one big co-op. 
And of course this is where they made their brandy and sweet 
wines and later dry wines. 

Teiser: Where is the Tarpey winery located? 

Powers: It s about eight miles from Fresno. 

Teiser: So you did a little work with that group on the prorate? 

Powers: Yes. 


Teiser: You spoke of the Sweet Wine Producers Association. 

Powers: The Sweet Wine Producers Association was an industry group. 

Teiser: When did that come into being? 


Powers: Organized in 1933. And we were a very strong organization. 

We sent Harry Harbour, our former congressman, to Washington. 
Arthur Tarpey was our first president, and then I was in the 
chain there, I forget just where. I was also attorney for 
the group. We organized, naturally, as a non-profit 
association. And it was to bring a uniforminstead of going 
out and cutting each other s throats, working together on a 
price that we could live with, and more or less trying to 
maintain a stable operation. And also we operated for the 
benefit of the grower as well because virtually all of us 
were growers. As I say, Mr. Arakelian was one of the big 
operators, and then Louis Martini down at Kingsburg, who 
subsequently sold out and moved up to St. Helena. 

Teiser: He was here for quite a few years, wasn t he? 

Powers: Kingsburg was where he first started. He had a big modern 
plant down at Kingsburg, and he sold out to Schenley* and 
they expanded his plant some more, added considerable more 
gallonage to it. 

Teiser: Was he making sweet wines here? 

Powers: Oh yes. Because this was a sweet wine area. The main thing 
was to get people who would produce something good. 

Teiser: Was he making very good wines? 

Powers: Oh yes. He had a good reputation. But he was also active 
industry -wise. He was a very fine leader and I admired him 
very much. 

Teiser: Was Mr. A. Setrakian in your association? 

Powers: Yes. 

Teiser: Did he cooperate in sending Barbour east? 

Powers: Yes. That was unanimous. We sent Harry Barbour to Washington 
and paid all of his expenses, some seven or eight thousand 
dollars. He was a New Yorker originally, and he was our 
congressman who had been defeated for re-election. Mr. 
Barbour practiced law here with Judge Kellas--he was later 
a Superior Court judge in Barbour and Kellas. I was in their 
office a few years later. He stood in very high esteem with 
both Democrats and Republicans. He was a Republican. 

*Later owned by Schenley, the winery was sold by Louis M. Martini 
and his associates to Central California Wineries, Inc. in 1940. 
See Louis M. Martini, Wine Making in the Napa Valley, an inter 
view in this series completed in 1973. 


Powers: This was the day when we were drafting the provisions 
of the Wine Control Act, and we were in Washington fighting 
to keep the whiskey people and the beer people out of our 
hair because in the old days, before Prohibition, the 
whiskey people and the beer people had a monopoly on every 
thing. Both state and federal legislation. You couldn t 
operate unless they said yes. And you can understand: they 
owned bars, they owned wholesale liquor houses, they were it. 
So the wine industry was just little boys in short pants. We 
weren t about to see this situation happen again. And so, as 
I say, this all started in 33, and we were deeply indebted 
to Harry Barbour, because he knew his way around in Washington 
as he had handled the War Department appropriation bills for 
years as our congressman. Well, you had to be a top man in 
Congress to have that responsibility. 

Of course, he was well acquainted with the Treasury 
Department, and again it s who you know that s very important. 
So we were right on the ground floor in drafting the Wine 
Control Act. We definitely wanted to have our own wine code, 
and this is what we now have. 

You see, there was no Wine Institute at that time, I 
must remind you. People from the Bay Area came down to 
Fresno and wanted us to help them form a state -wide 
organization. We said no, we want to help and we will, but 
give us just another year to get on our feet because we are, 
you might call it, a new organization ourselves. We ve got 
a great mixture of races and creeds and we would prefer to 
see our own organization successfully established before we 
start working on another. We re having a hard time keeping 
our group working together as a volunteer organization for 
the good of the industry. Arakelian, you know, was accustomed 
to working by himself; he was a very capable man, but he was 
more of a loner. We made him a vice president, and he had 
many good ideas. We wanted to have a substantial part of 
the industry with us. So we had [Antonio] Perelli-Minetti 
down in Delano, and as I say we had Louis Martini,* and the 
Matteis and the Tarpeys, and Sam Harkleroad. He had been the 
manager of the Mattei winery and was a very outstanding man 
in our area. We had darned near 90 per cent of the industry. 

Anyway, the boys around the Bay became very much admirers 
of our organizational activities and wanted us to come up and 
help them. So at the end of 33, or early 34, Louis Martini 
and all of us who were leaders of this group in Fresno went to 
San Francisco and we put together the Wine Institute. Everybody 

*Louis M. Martini 


Powers: was afraid of the boys who had a part of the old California 
Wine Association, like Mr. Morrow. Now our boys were afraid 
of them because the Wine Association in the early days were 
tough opposition, and they didn t want a repeat performance 
of that. So, anyway we met with them and we put this thing 
together, and of course, we all held important offices in 
the Institute.* Mr. Morrow was the head of it. He was a 
real fine person. And Jeff Peyser was there. And we had 
Mr. Barbour again representing the Institute. And we got 
this Wine Control bill drafted on the basis that we wanted. 
There were many provisions relative to wine making- -wine 
storage, tax payments, that sort of thing. 

One of the important things that you may think is 
funny, but over east, they made wine using cane sugar, and 
we wouldn t have any part of that because we thought it was 
so much better to have just straight pure wine.** The eastern 
people had been so accustomed to taking sugar, adding it-- 
this was in order to make sweet wines. But basically, though, 
and I could see this coming even in the early days, table 
wine was going to outdo the sweet wine industry some day. 
Because the peculiar thing--! noticed it even in my own family 
when Repeal first came--at first everybody liked the very 
sweet wines like muscatel and angelica. Well, it was no time 
at all before nobody would touch those wines and they were 
interested in a nice port or a sherry, something that wasn t 
so sweet, and the trend has continued to go that way on a 
large scale, and it s still going. Of course, your natural 
wines are so much better for you, from a digestive standpoint. 
So then I think it was 35 that President Roosevelt signed 
this Wine Control bill, and there was about seven or eight of 
us. I had to go east anyway, so I took my wife Geraldine 
and--oh yes, I was helping McKesson-Robbins with their bottling. 
Anyway, President Roosevelt had us come to the White House 
and he signed the bill in our presence. There was Lee Jones 
of Shewan-Jones, who had been very active as one of the leaders 
up in the Lodi district in the north. And Judge [Marion] 
De Vries, an ex -congressman who had been very active as a 
representative of the folks up north during all his time 
in Congress. And as I say, there were seven or eight of us 
who went to the White House. 

Teiser: That must have been quite an event.*** 

*For other accounts of the inception of the Wine Institute, 
see other interviews in this series. 

**See also p. 40. 
***See also pp. 37-40. 



OH. MYt*. ALGAU E N. f U J. 


MC. coitfT MWCV * wnuw 

t GWJU, f WJ.. (AH JOSE 





Sweet Wine Producers 

-~ / 







Teiser : 

Powers : 


You said before we started taping that the Gallo organization 
in itself has been a great- 

And strengthening factor? 

Oh yes, very definitely. Ernest Gallo s been, what I call, 
most forward. And I admire him very much bacause he realizes, 
well, first that we ve got to have a quality product. But 
he s a man that stays put, and he s not given to histrionics 
and all this sort of thing that our friend Setrakian is. 
For example, here Ernie had--this is talking out of school, 
but it ll just show you the type of person compared with 
Setrakian--Setrakian was presiding at our set-aside group 
of advisers. It was in September and because the set-aside 
had been voted and was in effect, nevertheless a lot of 
people did not make raisins because they didn t know how to 
look upon it. They figured the money was going to be made 
in going to the winery. But anyway, so Mr. Gallo came out 
with a $35 price, which was $10 or more than what the market 
had been paying. 

But at this meeting Mr. Setrakian jumped on Ernie Gallo. 
Setrakian was also head of the raisin prorate group, which 
operated under a federal marketing order. And they didn t 
have a full cropthey didn t have the surplus, put it that 
way that they previously had had. And as a result the surplus 
went into the wine picture. But we also kept it in balance 
with the set-aside. But I thought it was unnecessary on 
Setrakian s part to jump on Ernie Gallo. He said, well, if 
it hadn t have been for Mr. Gallo and some of these boys that 
offered $35 just at the time when they were making raisins, 
why, we would have had plenty of raisins mada this year. 
Well, Ernie never forgot that because it didn t show any 
love on Setrakian s part for someone who had helped him put 
this thing over. So Ernie had his chance a year or two later 
and he took him on. That was one of the reasons the thing 
was voted out. But again, as I say, I blame Setrakian for 
not being big enough to try to understand and work together 
as an industry, don t you know.* 

*See also p. 47. 


Teiser: I suppose you always are going to have loners. 
Powers: Oh, yes. That s par for the course. 

Teiser: However, it seems to me that on the whole, the California 
wine industry has-- 

Powers: They have worked together. And that s one reason I feel the 
Institute-- Or you take our local organization. It still 
exists, but it isn t the organization it was because the 
Institute is covering the field. 

Teiser: Your sweet wine organization still does exist? 

Powers: Oh yes. But as I say, we only meet if and when there s 
something serious. 

Teiser: And that only takes in the immediate Fresno area? 

Powers: Well, no, part of the membership goes south, on down as far 
as Delano. As I say, I haven t been active, so I don t 
know just who s who or what they re doing. 

Teiser: Will you go back in the wine industry if there s stability 
in it, do you think? 

Powers: Well. I want to sell my properties now because I ve reached 
that age in life where most people are retiring. 


Teiser: There s another general trend that took placeor that has 

taken place that I wonder if you couldn t throw some light on. 
There was an earlier round of purchases of California 
wineries by national companies, then they got out, and now 
they re getting back in. Can you explain how that has come 

Powers: Well, again, a lot of this depends on the inner workings of 
an organization. Now you take Schenley. Schenley, as you 
know, is a big hard liquor company, and they re very much 
interested in the grape picture, but I hear rumors that 
they re anxious to sell. 


Teiser: I think it s known that their Roma and Cresta Blanca 
properties are up for sale, isn t it? 

Powers: Yes. 

Teiser: But at one time, for example, Italian Swiss Colony was bought 
by a national company... 

Powers: It was National Distillers. 

Teiser: ...Which then sold it back to local interests. Why did the 
companies come in and then sell again at that point? 

Powers: Well, I think this, you ve got the situation within a company. 
The whole situation of national distribution is a very big 
undertaking, and you ve got to have the manpower and the 
capital and the outlets and all of that to handle it. And 
you can buy up more than you can handle and not have something 
that is profitable. Now, Heublein is back today in a very 
big way, and Heublein was aggressive right at the beginning 
of Repeal. They were in the brandy business, producing 
brandy. But I think they lost their shirt. And so here 
they arc, how long ago lias this been? Thirty-six years later. 
It s only in the last year or so. They came in last year. 
They bought a big tomato cannery down in Southern California 
to produce this special Bloody Mary drink, don t you know. 

And I m toying with a product for them now with 
persimmons. The persimmon makes a marvelous drink, that is, 
my frozen persimmon, with rum or gin or brandy. It is very 
fruity, flavorsome, and ladies like it because you are not 
conscious of any alcohol, and most ladies don t like the 
taste of alcohol or anything near that. But they can t use 
the persimmon unless I can turn the persimmon into just a 
clear juice. Now this is a difficult problem because the 
persimmon in a puree form is very satisfactory. I can see, 
people might complain because it was cloudy but then [laugh] 
that plays no part in its taste or anything else. But as I 
say, Heublein--! give this as an example of how companies 
will go through various changes, in answer to your question. 
And I think there are too many problems involved there for 
most of them to solve them. 

Teiser: Well, maybe they think they can now by better management. 
Powers: That s right, and different ideas. 



Teiser : 

Powers : 





Let me ask you just a little bit, if I may, about each of 
these other Fresno area wineries on this list of members of 
the Central California Wineries, Inc. of the late 1930 s. 

There s Bisceglia Brothers. 


Yes; they re back in business. They ve been in and out, oh, 
the last 36 years. They were originally canners over in 
San Jose. That was the first generation. They re dead now. 
This is the second generation. They ve got a winery over 
here. It was a co-op near Madera, and they ve got a very 
nice plant there. They re making wine--this Hawaiian wine- 
over there with pineapple juice and one thing and another. 
This Bruno Bisceglia, the manager, outspoken manager, he s 
quite aggressive. 

Crest View Winery, Inc.? 

Yes, Mr. Joe Gazzara was the owner of that, and Joe passed 
away.* He just came up the line. He started in a very nice 
planl. That s located on one of my father s ranches. Ho 
had a packing house there. The packing house is still Lhere. 
About four miles this side of Sanger. 

Did he build that winery? 

No, Mr. [J.B.] Perenchio first built it. Mr. Perenchio 
bought the property from my father, and Mr. Perenchio built 
it. Mr. Gazzara, though, installed a lot of new equipment 
and modernized it. He was very successful. 

Fresno Winery, Inc. What was that? 

Oh, that isn t in operation now. Mr. Coleman Caine had that. 
That s over by the state college. It is on Shaw and Winery 
Avenue, which is right adjoining the Fresno State University.** 

West of Clovis? 

Yes, it s just between Clovis and the state college, 
since been dismantled. 

It has 

*July 9, 1968. 

**Later California State University, Fresno. 


Teiser: St. George Winery? 

Powers: That was one of the very early wineries. Mr. George Malter 
owned it and he was a terrific person, very fascinating and 
interesting. He was a Viennese and he was an engineer of 
great ability. He came down into the San Joaquin Valley 
many years ago. He was a very close friend of my father s 
and we visited with him a great deal. He married late in 
life and had one son, but he never liked the wine business. 
And so Mr. Malter sold. He was an elderly man anyway, by 
that time Prohibition was voted out and Repeal became 
effective. And he sold his interest to Mr. [Beverly W.] 
Goldthwaite, who is now deceased. But Mr. Goldthwaite was 
a very fine business man and he developed a very fine 
business in the St. George Winery. 

He likewise acquired the Cameo Vineyards winery from 
Mr. Harry Hitzl. And Mr. Hitzl had built the Cameo Winery, 
he and his partner had built that up into a fine business, 
but they wanted to retire and Mr. Goldthwaite bought them 
out, too, and operated that and the St. George Winery. I 
don t know what s going on with St. George now. It was one 
of the very oldest plants we have here. 

Teiser: Was it started by Mr. Malter? 

Powers: Yes, he started it. And he planted all the palm trees out 
through the place, which was the thing to do in those days. 

Teiser: What kind of grapes did he grow? 

Powers: He didn t grow any grapes at all. He was just a processor, 
brandy and wine. 

Teiser: I think I ve asked you about all of them in this area on 
this list. Were there any other outstanding wineries 
around here? 

Powers: No, you ve pretty well covered them. There s been a few 
new ones. There s the Del Key Co-op; it s operated on a 
co-op basis. That s a very nice plant. 

Teiser: The co-op system seems to be one that the wineries find 

Powers: Yes. Of course the rise and fall of prices more or less 

should be borne, I feel, by the grower. And then the grower 


Powers: has the potential in his hand by organizing and by showing 
good judgment to make it very profitable.* The vintner, 
of course, like Gallo--Gallo has developed, of course and 
this again is very very important --he has developed a good 
merchandising organization. That s where they make their 
big money, actually, in the volume and plus the profits 
when you deal on a large scale, which they do. 

Of course, as I look back on these things now, I was 
kind of stupid to pull out of the wine business and not 
continue on with it, you know, but I found myself in too 
many fields, ranching, law and all, and as a result, these 
things can be confusing. I d like to produce some wine 
grapes today because the new varieties of wine grapes that 
we can grow here, oh, it s like falling out of the window. 
It s just that easy because you can grow all the way from 
15 to 20 tons an acre, whatever you want. Of course, with 
certain varieties you don t want the tonnage so much as the 
quality. But most of those varieties are better adapted to 
the cooler climates. And you re going to see a tremendous 
amount of acreage planted over on the coast because over on 
the other side of this coast range, your climate changes 
very materially, and your temperatures, you know, are in the 
60 "s and 70 "s the year round. The heat here is wonderful 
for producing sugar, but when you want a good table wine, 
you want the flavor rather than the sugar. And those certain 
varieties that demand that, like the Chardonnay and all the 
other very fancy varieties, you know you don t get good 
tonnages but you get real quality. 

Teiser: The wine grapes that you can grow here now that you couldn t 
before, were they varieties developed by the University? 

Powers: Yes. That s right. Everything would indicate that they re 
going to be successful here, but right now it s difficult to 
get rootstock and all, because naturally this is the 
limiting factor. And as a result they can t produce enough 

I get an awful kick out of Europe. Good wines over 
there are very scarce in spite of all the grapes they have. 
Of course, again, they don t have a climate like ours. As 
you probably know if you ve traveled there, they have 

*See also pp. 42-44. 


Powers: tremendous winters. And the thing that bothers them most 
is the fact that just when they re ready for the maturing 
period, the last couple of months before the grapes are 
finally ripe, is when they have all those darned storms 
come whipping through. And that s one reason some seasons, 
like the 65 season, there just isn t any production at all 
for that season. Well, that s terrible, don t you know, 
because here you have the crop and the next week it s gone. 
So, as I say, we in California are blessed with this 
wonderful climate condition you just don t see anywhere 


(Interview #2 - January 20, 1972) 


Teiser : 

Powers : 


Powers : 

Would you tell a little more about your student days at 
U.C. Berkeley? 

Well, I enrolled in Berkeley in the fall of 1920. 
How many students there then, about? 

Just a guess, graduates, and all, it was around ten or 
twelve thousand. I was in Kappa Sigma fraternity, and as 
I mentioned, I was a good friend of Cort Majors in football, 

I also mentioned previously having been more or less 
injured, so to speak, by virtue of an operation that I had 
at the end of my sophomore year, which necessitated me more 
or less sitting it out during my junior year. When I went 
back in my senior year, I trained again with the varsity. 
Of course by that time Cort Majors had graduated. 

Did you have time to study? 

Oh, sure. Studies came first because I majored in law, you 
see. I was pre-legal. And then after graduation, we just 
went right on through with our regular courses through 
Boalt Hall. 

What year did you get your law degree? 

1926. Six years. 

Have you been active in the Alumni Association? 


Powers : 

Powers : 

Powers : 

Powers: Not too much. We re at a disadvantage here in the Valley. 
I ve helped organize a fraternity at Fresno State. We had 
a chapter here, the original fraternity, but it just kind 
of petered out, so to speak, after about eight or ten years, 
which is unfortunate. In Berkeley, I was active in Skull 
and Keys and also the other honor society. 

Did you enjoy going to college? 

Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Tremendously, as you might well suspect. 
Oh, yes. 

Did you come back to Fresno reluctantly, then? 

Oh, yes. But that s what you have to expect, don t you know. 
I always enjoyed Fresno. 

When were you in the legislature? 

I went to the legislature in the days of Jatnes Rolph. His 
son and I were very close friends in college. Paul Jordan 
was also a very close friend of Mr. Rolph and myself. And 
Arthur Carlson; he was state president of the Republican 
party organization. He unfortunately died, I guess it must 
be about ten years ago. Mr. Jordan was one of the trial 
lawyers in San Francisco. 

Teiser: What years did you serve in the legislature? 

Powers: I was elected in 30, but then your term actually starts the 
1st of January, so it was 31, 32, 33, and then 34. 

Teiser: You were a very young legislator, weren t you? 

Powers: Well, as legislators go. We had many younger than myself. 
Ray Robinson from Merced, who is very outstanding. He and 
I were very good friends. He was a couple of years younger 
than I am. He s still alive, but his health is bad. I ve 
always been indebted to him, because he and his dear wife 
introduced me to my wife.* She was Judge [E.M] Rector s 
daughter. A pioneer family, the Rector family. He was a 
very fine Superior Court judge, with forty years on the bench. 

*Born Geraldine Rector. 


Powers: The Rector family were early pioneers in Merced. They 

settled before there was any town of Merced, on the river, 
which was to be expected, don t you know, in pioneer times. 

Teiser: What was the immediate cause of your standing for the 

Powers: Well, I was interested in politics. My father was likewise 
very much interested in politics. Public service is some 
thing that appeals to me. 

My father was killed three days before Repeal. This 
man ran into him. My father was coming back from the winery, 
and I had gone to Sacramento to attend a State Board of 
Equalization meeting. So he was driving his car, a Cadillac. 
He was about six miles, mid -way between Fowler and Fresno, 
on the main highway, and it looked like this car in front of 
him was going to be hit by this oncoming car. So he put on 
his brakes and was virtually dead still in the road. And 
this man yanked his wheel very viciously to the right and 
went off onto the railroad right of way. There was no fence. 
And this man just came back and caught my father dead still 
there in the road. Then his car turned over and his car 
started to burn, and this other man, who turned out to be a 
druggist from Orange Cove, who was in the front car, came 
back and he and my father--my father gets out and helps 
take this man out of the burning car. Which is something he 
never should have done, because he had punctured his arteries, 
and he bled to death. Anyway, he got this man out, and his 
brothers took my father in to the emergency hospital and saw 
it was a serious case, and moved him to the community hospital, 

I got home and got this message, and I dashed to the 
hospital. All he was doing was breathing his last. He 
never became conscious. 

Teiser: That was 1933? 

Powers: Yes, 1933. 

Teiser: He lived to see you in the legislature. 

Powers: Oh yes. He greatly enjoyed it. He attended the legislature, 
and we had grand balls and social events. Of course he was 
quite an admirer of James Rolph. 




Then you were in the legislature just at the time of 
Repeal. Were you active at all in any wine legislation? 

Well, there wasn t very much in the works at the moment. 
Everybody was more or less sitting back waiting to see what 
would happen. 


Teiser: Would you give an account of your meeting with President 
Roosevelt that you mentioned?* 

Powers: Well, it was in the White House, of course, in what you 
might call the "sun room." Have you got the date there? 

Teiser: It must have been early in 35. 

Powers: That s what I thought it was. Early 35.** My wife and I 
both went east together. 

Roosevelt was quite solicitous. [Laughing] He had 
described a situation somewhat similar that he d been 
interested in, when his law firm was called to organize 
an industry meeting in New York State. He had the big 
task of hauling some of the law books to the meeting. 
[Laughter] The way he described it! But he turned to me 
personally, later on, after it broke up, and said, "Mr. 
Powers, very happy to meet you. We like to have more young 
people like yourself interested in government. Like to see 
you back here." Of course he was an ardent Democrat, and I 
was an ardent Republican. [Laughter] It was a very pleasant 
experience . 

We had a problem that was behind the scenes in this whole 
operation of organizing. We had the independents, who were 
like myself. And then there was the old California Wine 
Association group. And they had dictated and run the wine 
industry. We were not aouut to hand the reins of governing 
this industry over to them. 

*Page 26. 
**See appendix. 


Powers: This was one of the issues that was quite obvious in 
our deliberations. 

Teiser: You said that the California Wine Association was 

Powers: Well, it had been. This was the carryover from the old 

days. Was it fifteen years or so that the wine industry 
was "outlawed" you might say? [Laughter] 

Teiser: Yes. But you still remembered? 

Powers: Oh, yes. And this was obvious to our people, because the 
California Wine Association as such was pretty much of a 
closed organization. And they took care of themselves, which 
was to be expected, but they also brought upon themselves 
certain problems because they were somewhat dictatorial. 
This was what independent people like Arthur Tarpey and others 
in the industry remembered from the old days. Arthur 
Tarpey and Lee Jones. Arakelian was another. 

As far as I can see, we had nothing to really be alarmed 
about, because this was a new game altogether. The biggest 
majority were all new to the industry, and there was no 
particular group there that was trying to crack the whip 
or dictate, or run things. So our fears were somewhat 
groundless. Nevertheless, you can imagine that it was more 
or less natural to keep in mind the way the California Wine 
Association had run things in their day. 

Teiser: Fruit Industries, Limited, was organized partly on the basis 
of the old California Wine Association. 

Powers: Yes. They had people that still had their vineyards. Some 
of them still had their wineries. As a result it was only 
natural that they endeavored to put their organization in 
good shape. 

Teiser: So you recognized that Fruit Industries was somewhat the 
same as the California Wine Association? 

Powers: Yes, because of their early-day association together. 

Teiser: On this occasion that you called on President Roosevelt, 1 
see that Walter Taylor was with you, as a representative of 
Fruit Industries. 


Powers: That s right. A very fine person, too. Mr. Walter Taylor 
was a fine businessman and very cooperative. 

Teiser: By then had your differences disappeared, or had your fears 
been allayed? 

Powers: Well, you might put it this way: they were a large 

organization, and they had been well established, and more 
or less, you might say, in the saddle in their day. We 
always looked twice at everything they participated in for 
that reason. Which was only natural. But, as I say, as I 
look back on it, I don t think we had anything to be fearful 
of. But nevertheless, it was just human nature to anticipate 
problems. In the main, I would say, they never gave us any 
trouble. And they likewise gave us good men, and good 

Teiser: Did you ask anything specific of President Roosevelt? Did 
you say, "Will you help us to get this, or will you back us 
in our efforts to get that?" 

Powers: Well, there were matters that were discussed with him, 

naturally, which he indicated he was anxious to see that 
were properly cared for. He was quite cooperative. 

Teiser: What sort of matters were they? 

Powers: Well. Of course, in an industry which is regulated by 

regulation on top of regulation, there are many things that 
could be well given proper attention, don t you know, in 
favor of the industry. That is, without putting undue burdens 
on the industry. 

Teiser: I suppose the question of taxes, and paperwork? 

Powers: Regulations. You see, we have regulations regarding how 
grapes would be crushed, how they d be distilled, how the 
wine would be made. Of course, a lot of it was for the sake 
of protection of the government, tax problems and security 
problems, all of which are terribly important. You ve always 
got somebody that wants to shortcut the legal routine. 

One of the very serious early day lawsuits involved 
Mr. Bert Turner who had married Mr. [J.B.] Cella s daughter* 
and was operating a distillery. They had a certain amount 
of brandy that wasn t tax paid. And of course the government 

*Ebe Cella 


Powers: was naturally trying to close any loopholes of that type. 

This is typical of what you can expect. People want to try 
and take advantage of regulations that have loopholes in 
them. Of course that in the end hurts the industry as well 
as the government. 

Teiser: Well, were you asking Roosevelt for help in maintaining high 
industry standards? 

Powers: Yes. That s what we wanted and expected. 
Teiser: But not oppressively high? 

Powers: That s right. Oh, no. What we wanted was wine that was made 
out of complete juice of the grape, for one thing. This 
sugar situation was something we were not going to have 
any part of. But the people over east, New York and Ohio, 
and other areas, wanted the right to use sugar. Well, we 
said, "We re not going to tell you how to run your business, 
but any wine made in California has got to be made strictly 
from the grape." So that s the way that was handled. 

We went all out for quality. This was one thing our 
sweet wine group, and not only that but the Wine Institute, 
wanted, to improve on wine and brandy. We set up a fund, 
and charged ourselves so much a gallon, to police this and 
to regulate it, and to run it. This is where we hired the 
services of the University of California at Davis, and then 
subsequently the state colleges and junior colleges to help 
us in producing better wines and better brandies as time went 

And of course we also had an appropriation, something 
like two cents a gallon,* I remember, to advertise wine and 
the good features of wine, and to bring people like doctors 
and others into our trade promotion program. All of which 
has gone a long way toward bringing the industry into focus. 
Now you take other industries I ll mention: the almond 
industry has done the same thing. They ve taken a leaf out 
of our book, so to speak. Every farm industry has got to do 
this. That s the reason why I mentioned persimmons. I 
wanted the persimmon people to do the same thing. 

*0n dessert wines, and one cent on table wines. 


Teiser: Back to this period of the beginning of legislation after 
Repeal. Were there any regulations you weire afraid the 
government might put on the industry that you didn t want? 

Powers: Oh, yes, there were, from time to time, you know, regulations 
that we felt were unfair to the industry. 

Teiser: What kind of things would they be? 

Powers: Oh, that you had to make wine a certain way, and do certain 
things, and all this and that. After all, you re working 
with bureaucrats, and they re looking at things from their 
viewpoint. We, being, you might say, wine men, interested 
in wine and brandy, had very definite ideas of what couldn t 
be done, or shouldn t be done for the good of the industry. 

Teiser: There were not federal regulations about how wine was to be 
sold or served? 

Powers: Well, to a certain extent. This was naturally a big part of 
the problem in setting up our regulations so we could live 
with them. And also the government was naturally interested 
in collecting their revenue. But by the same token, we 
didn t want any member of the industry to ba shortcutting, 
because it would only hurt the industry in the long run. 

Teiser: I suppose you wanted to keep prices level but without price- 
fixing, and that s a ticklish thing, isn t it? 

Powers: Oh, yes. Quite right. 
Teiser: How do you do it? 

Powers: Well, the industry endeavored to agree on a mode of approach 
to it. This was worked out so that everybody was happy and 
got along. But we found that, basically, the trade were 
quick to catch on to whether a winemaker was doing a good 
job, and it wasn t long before they were willing to pay you, 
actually, a premium for the quality. When you get a reward 
like that, it s something you can appreciate. This took 
place at first. The first few years, a lot of people thought, 
well, anybody that had wine just had it made. That wasn t 
true, because it was just a few months before it became 
very obvious that the buying trade was very critical of 
quality. Many wine people went out of business, because 
poor wines or brandies just wouldn t sell, and the next 






thing they knew they were in the hands of their creditors. 
So unless you were quality-minded, as well as a good 
businessman, this was something you had to live with. 

I guess there was a lot of competition, wasn t there? 

Oh, yes. Of course at first there was a shortage, naturally, 
of any wine that had any age to it, you know. Some of the 
people like Arakelian and Cribari and others had been making 
sacramental wines, and they had a start on us, don t you 
know. So this was where we had to separate the men from the 

I forget how many companies there were in the "30 s. They 
certainly have narrowed down. 

Oh, yes. Well, they went out of business very fast, because, 
well, competition just made it necessary. 

There were two other associations that I came across. One 
was the San Joaquin Valley Wine Association. 

Well, that didn t last very long. 

And the other was the Muscat Growers Winery Association. 

Well, both of those were actually private companies. The 
Muscat co-op, Mr. Barr was one of the early day organizers 
of that. Ted Barr at Sanger. The Muscat co-op was a 
cooperative. It s still going today, but it s not going 
under the name of Muscat. It s now part of the wine co-op 
up north in Lodi, the Guild group. 


Teiser: You mentioned the Central Valley Cooperative Winery that 

you said you put together. What was the immediate impetus 
for it? 

Powers: Well, first we wanted to help try and stabilize the wine 
picture. We also felt that there was a profit that as 
growers we could capture in putting our wine into a good 

December. IV33 



The wineries of San Joaquin 

" i ">i" ii I,,, i ,n 

and Sam Kaplan, Alta Winery; G. Mas- 
elli. Jr., Maselli Winery; E. Creberi, Lag 
Palmas Winery; P. J. Otto, M. Bruno 
and Dr. M. P. Bowen, Bruno Brothers 
Winery; E. P. Cain, Henrietta Rancho 
Products Company; Joseph Allegretti, 

M,, Kearney Winery; N. D. Naman. Santa 

Lucia Winery; A. M. Paul, California 
P.-oducts Company, and M. P. Lohse, in 
dustrial secretary. Fresno I ounty ( hani- 
ber of C ommcrce. 

A. B. Tarpey 

of San Joaquin 

Wine Association 

New Association 
in San Joaquin Valley 

Providing a set-up to attack wine mak 
ers and grape growers problems through 
collective bargaining, the San Joaquin 
Valley Wine Association has been formed 
by industry leaders in the interior Cali 
fornia region with practically every win 
ery in the district represented. 

Leading wine and juice grape growers 
are to be included in the association as 
affiliated members without voting power 
to give the members of the association 
virtual control of many phases () f the in 
dustry in the territory represented. 

A. B. Tarpey, prominent grape grower 
and head of the La Paloma Winery of 
Fresno, is president and State Assembly 
man Lucius Powers, Jr., manager of the 
Mt. Tivy Winery, heads the directors. 
K. Arakclian, of the Madera Winery, is 

Taxation, warehousing and federal reg 
ulation are the chief problems the group 
is interested in at present, according to 
Paul K. Holland, secretary-treasurer. 
Holland has opened headquarters for the 
association in the T. \V. Patterson Build 
ing, l ; resm>. 

The board includes Frank Goldthwaite, 
St. George Winery, Fresno; Harry Hitzl, 
California Growers Winery Corporation; 
Charles Dubbs, Alta Winery, Delano: 
Sam Harkleroad, Mattie Winery, Fresno; 
A. Perelli-Monetti, Wallace Winery, 
Delano; L. M. Martini, Kingsburg Win 
ery, Arakclian and Tarpey. 

"Strict federal regulation is \\ burden 
on the industry," Holland said. "All but 
about thirty pages of regulations con 
tained in two volumes concern the sweet 
nine industry of which this group draws 
practically a <>0 per cent membership. \Ve 
feel that these regulations can be loosened 
considerably now that prohibition has 
been done away with." 

Powers said tin- i-roup stands lor "lair 
and equitable luxation if it i- <|i-,-j ( K-,| i,, 
tax the wine industry," while nllier mem 
bers expressed opinions that tin indns|r\ 
slnuild not In- laxeil a! llii- ihm- 
embargo on Inrei^n wines ,\ lavon-d. 

Problems nf wan-In. iisini . U.lli m ,,- 

l"it in i .in||.-,| -, v in, .,!,,) m, .,., ,.,( 

braiidv. v. ill I" tlin-sli, ,| :, I., ,| m , t,,,, 

It HI i .ill, IIM, lui,- uln. aii, mini id,- n .. in ,.i >; .iii 

I/all. HI Illl-l I lin; 1,1 III, l-|..|||i. II, .,,j,|i| i, ,,, 

I" "lie "Hi,, i - .,n S. |. K.isv Pacilu 
Coast Winery, l- re-n-.. llnc.o Malter, Si. 
George Winery. A. Sutraki.ui. California 
Growers Winery Corpor.i mn : C.irl Hit/l 


Powers: winery, a good operation. We could make part of the profit 
that the vintner was putting into his pocket. So, as 
growers, we found that we could make from ten to twenty 
dollars a ton profit for ourselves by going through the 
cooperative channels. Now we at the same time didn t want 
to run the winery. So we went to people like Eddie 
Arakelian--this was the son of K. Arakelian--and Mr. Vas 
Gunner. They had taken over Frank Giannini s plant at Tulare. 

And so we delivered our grapes to them, and then they 
charged so much for crushing and managing, and then so much 
again for selling it, and all. So we had all the services, 
just as if we had our own winery. But we did not have any 
money involved in the plant. We paid a processing charge 
which gave them a nice profit on their plant. They likewise 
were very happy because they were also making a profit on 
their sales. In other words, we paid them a profit on 
selling, and also a profit on crushing and distilling. 

Teiser: They warehoused it for you? 

Powers: Yes. And they would follow our directions on how we wanted 
to sell, and when we wanted to sell, and all that sort of 

Teiser: Who in your organization was in immediate charge then, of 
the program? 

Powers: I was, at the inception, because of all the growers, I was 
the only one who had had any winery experience. 

Teiser: So you knew when to tell them to sell? 

Powers: That s right. We had some of the very top grape growers 
here in the valley in our membership. 

Teiser: Who were they? Do you remember? 

Powers: Well, Chauncey Bianchi. He was the president of our group. 
He was from Lodi and also around Manteca. He s one of the 
very large grape growers up there. I had signed all these 
people up, and being a lawyer, drafted Lheir agreement, how 
we would operate with, .say, Arakelian. We first started with 
Henry Krum, and Mr. N. D. Namen. They hail the- Santa Lucia 


I / \ V 

.. ..J -A L_j. J,__ _.< 

, . 43a 




r ., 3 n Tv/^n^? A n 

TK C* V / i /:VU 

u y UU/LJ v u ij L-~ \i^ 

V.. -/ .. I M "! 
\ / f , 

Our negoviaiions for the purcnase and operation of tlie Kings burg Winery, 
ownoc by Roma, means - hal our organization will be belrer able lo serve yo -J i" A!.L 
v/,iys, especially NOW when crushing facilities ai - rngny plants are crov/o ec!. !v viii 
,-i!r,o nive many NEW GROWERS an opportunity to ov/n or acquire, wiJ-houv any c. s- 
<!t!ciion, a HONXE for -i- icir grape crops, in good weather or bad. It v/ifl help 5AVE 
vnvr orape crop VALUES when market, prices are only a fraction, of the COST ov 
production and harvest, as at the present time. 

Our ! 952 crushing operations have ALREADY COMMENCED at the T-J I a re- 
Winery owned by Eddie Arakelian and Vas Gunner. Here over 48,000 tons vrerc 
very satisfactorily crushed and sold in the last 3 seasons. 

!t is anticipated the total crush ev both v/incries in 1952 micht exceed 40,000 
vons. V/e have a proven and t ->n established sales program v/hich makes it pcjr/kio 
for CVC vo pay its members the highest possible returns in keeping v/ith the prevail 
ing v/ine market. 

The officers and directors of Ino Central Valley Cooperative Winery, Inc., 

arc as follov/s: 

President C. G. Siancrii, 265! Kensington Drive, Stockton 

Vice-Presio enl David Pinlcham, Box 157, Exeter 

Treasurer VVil!i-m Psrlier, 667 Home Avenue, Fresno 

Secretary-Manager Lucius Powers, 1104 Fulton-Fresno Bla g., Fresno 


North C. G. Blanch!, Stockton 
Freino William Parlier, Fro .no 

L.iv/rrnco Lindgren, "t. I, Box 59, 

Tul.ire Jo!m N. Dungnn, 125 Portolfl Avo., 

Frrd Ligomarsino, P.O. Box 9CI, 


Jack Sisler, 1607 Beverly Drive, Visa ia 
Kings-Kern-Tu srs David Pinltham, Exeter 



Alternate Directors: 

North Joe Bianchi, 115 Veach, M.Tnvoca 
i Fresno Andrew Mattel, 401 Franklin Avc., 


K. Kitahflra, Rt. I, Box 96, KinciSurg 
Tulnre Chnrles Davidion, P.O. Cox Til, 

C. M. Trembley, Security Bonk Bldg., 


Don Pinkham, Box 456, Exeter 
Kings-Kern-Tulflre O. L. Gaither, Strcithmoro 
Grape Growers, Strathmcra 

Mew membcrsliip applications ore WOW being accepted. Cell 
ANY of the following numbers: 

FRESNO 2-2127 
Tl LARr 6-2C07 



LINDSAY 2-3fi-13 

*\ r 

-."7 i 

n i 


Teiser: They did your first processing? 

Powers: Yes. Then we subsequently went with Mr. Arakelian, Eddie 
Arakelian and Gunner. Then both of them died, and we went 
with the people who bought Mr. Arakelian and Gunner s plant 
at Tulare. We delivered our grapes to Tulare. And then he 
sold out to someone from Bakersfield who came up. I can t 
recall his name now. He had it for a couple of years. 
Then he in turn sold out. The organization has lately gone 
with Mr. Riddell. 

Teiser: It still operates now? 

Powers: Oh, yes. It has a lot of fine growers. 

Teiser: Was the Argun Wine Company involved at any time? 

Powers: Yes. 

Teiser: Was that one of your members, or was it one of your processors? 

Powers: It was one of our processors. That was Eddie Arakelian and 

Teiser: That was their company. I see. Was Argun the name under 

which they were operating the Tulare winery that had earlier 
been owned by Frank Giannini? 

Powers: Yes--that was the history of that plant. 

Teiser: Your organization was legally a cooperative, that status? 

Powers: That s right, an incorporated cooperative. 

Teiser: As a cooperative you had then access to funding that you 
wouldn t have had as a private corporation? 

Powers: Well, we could have, but we ve never used it. And of course, 
you can get cheaper money that way. Just like they do with 
the Home Loan Bank. People there borrow on their ranches, 
get loans on their ranches, and as you say, again, it s 
cheaper money. 

Teiser: But you didn t require it? 

Powers: No. We could have gone to the Agricultural Production Credit 
Association if we had wanted to. 

Teiser: Did you have any dealings directly with J.E. Cella? 

Powers: No. J.B. Cella was quite a leader. He had organized and 
bought out quite a few vineyards up in the Lodi district. 
We had a winery over in the Sanger district, near our ranches 
there it was an old wineryand he bought that and converted 
it into a very fine plant. His daughter married Louis Petri. 
Of course the Petri people have always been in the wine 
business. There are quite a few operators in Lodi and San 

Teiser: I should think that Roma might at one time have been a 

threat to all the rest of you the way the California Wine 
Association had been. 

Powers: Yes, they were. That s right. But basically our wineries 
were well managed and well organized, so that they were 
profitable and were likewise a great credit to the industry. 

Teiser: So by then you didn t have to be afraid? 

Powers: That s right. They got to producing a poorer product, and 
they went the way of any industry that isn t just out ihuru 
in front, don t you know. You re either a frontrunner or 
a backrunner. 

Teiser: Why would any wine man allow that to happen? 

Powers: Well, you develop certain standards, which in my opinion are 
just asking for a downfall. You ve got to be constantly on 
the alert. In other words, things keep changing, and the 
wine industry has changed considerably in the way of 
production. You ve got to stay with the latest techniques. 
Otherwise your product is such that, competitively, you re 
at a disadvantage. 

Teiser: Do you think they became complacent? 

Powers: Well, in some ways they got too big. They weren t taking 
proper care of their product. This is where competition 
very quickly catches up with you. Before you know It, you 
don t have any customers. What do you do when you re in ill 
graces? In other words, you re just asking for it. So this 
is what happened to Roma. They started out fine. Mr. Cella s 
son-in-law, Bert Turner, was their manager here, running the 
show and going great guns, and expanding. But somewhere along 




Powers : 

Powers : 



the line things began to fall to pieces. Just lately, 
they ve gone out of the business here. So, as I say, 
these things can happen. 

This is true of everything, though, in our competitive 
system, don t you know? In other words, what you see here is 
true in automobiles, and other things as well. It s the 
free enterprise system manifesting itself. 

The way we packed 

I see, 

What is this photograph? 

Oh, [laughing] it s a fruit packing house, 
fruit in the early days. 

This was your father s fruit company. 

Now, these are some pictures of the vineyards. You were 

asking about that. This is part of the Powers Ranch out at 

Centerville. My father was a great person fcr pictures; he 
liked pictures. 1 There he is again. 

Who are the other people in that picture? 

Oh, I think my mother and his foreman. I can t see this 
other person too well. They re at a distance. This was 
taken from a water tower or something. This is out at our 
ranch. These, we ve got covered here, are raisins. They re 
raisin trays. They stack them and they go through a process 
of drying. 

About when was this series taken, do you think? 
Oh, this was taken about forty years ago. 
Before Repeal? 

Yes. Here s one packing house here. He had five altogether. 
You can see the age of the pictures [laughing] by the 

Automobiles and still some teams, 
like things? 

What were the barrel- 

Those were chests, they called them, and they would pack 
grapes in those with sawdust, and then they d ship the 
grapes to the Orient, or to the East, or elsewhere. Of 


Powers: course, they were frozen. They were kept in refrigeration 
all the time. They would hold about forty pounds each. 
This is another picture of our ranch. This is the ranch 
headquarters over here, with these buildings; you see the 
barns there. 

Teiser: I can see your father must have enjoyed ranching and taken 
great pride in it. 

Powers: Oh, yes. He was shipping cars of grapes, mostly grapes. A 

few persimmons and a few plums, but the grapes of course were 
his big interest. 


Teiser: Were there other things that you thought should be added to 
this discussion? I think we discussed the 1961 set-aside 
when there was a conflict between A. Setrakian and Ernest 

Powers: Yes. Mr. Gallo had come to the meeting. It was at the 
Californian Hotel. Mr. Setrakian was quite a fiery 
personage by nature [laughing], and very capable and 
learned and bright and smart. But he would step on other 
people s toes any time he felt like it. He happened to have 
quite a few grapes processed at this particular time. Mr. 
Setrakian was taking Gallo to task for having paid too high 
a price for grapes. As a result the raisin crop had been 
considerably shortened, because the growers went after the 
quick dollar. That left a shortage of raisins. 

Of course, the set-aside was for the purpose of trying 
to maintain a good grape price. The following year, after 
this, we had just the reverse, because we had too many 
people anxious to sell to the wineries, and as a result, we 
had a very low grape price. 

Anyway, Mr. Gallo was very decent about it. I ve come 
to be quite an admirer of Mr. Gallo. To me it s just 
unbelievable the foresight of that man. Anybody that will 
continue to increase his crushing and processing at the rate 
of over twenty million gallons of wine a year! Twenty 
million gallons is a tremendous amount of wine. But the 
planting of vineyards today almost scares you. I do think 

*P. 27. 


Powers: that Gallo is going to see some good years here before this 
thing is overproduced, because they re producing wine today 
that people enjoy, and they re producing better wine than 
we produced in our day. It s a wine that is healthful, and 
it s very appealing, and they re likewise coming up with new 
varieties that are in my opinion very popular, and going to 
be popular. We in America have never been a wine drinking 
nation but now the health values of wine, and the 
niceties of good wine, are all contributing to a very heavy 

Of course, when you stop and look at that, you can 
begin to understand. When you compare the amount of wine we 
drink in America to what they drink in Europe, why, we ve 
still got a tremendous long way to go. And of course this 
is what Ernie Gallo is looking at. Because you ll see this 
country drinking more and more wine, year after year. And 
this is going to continue to increase. 

Teiser: Where s the land going to come from? 

Powers: Well, of course, at this point we ve got plenty of land. 

But actually this expansion and great increase just scares 
people, don t you know? Because everything is relative, 
after all is said and done. I definitely feel, because of 
the good foundation that was laid at the beginning, this is 
paying off now. We re getting the dividends now. 


Teiser: You have a photograph there of the Powers School. 
Powers: Yes. I m fortunate in having it named after me. 
Teiser: Here in Fresno? 

Powers: Yes. I m very proud of it, because if you can believe it, 

they put these youngsters through a regular course, starting 
right out in kindergarten, and the first grade and the 
second grade, on reading, and they re being evaluated and 
graded. The part that they re deficient on they go right 
back and train them on their deficiencies. I m very proud 
of them. It s got an outstanding principal, Leonard Ross. 
He s just unbelievable. 


Teiser: They re lucky to have a good school. 

Powers: Well, I was instrumental in the legislature in putting 
certain legislation through for educational purposes. 
The state would loan us money to build schools. And we 
would have to levy a tax to pay off the loan, of course. 
But it was a way that was done much more cheaply than the 
old system. It hadn t existed previously. 

Transcriber: Jane West 
Final Typist: Keiko Sugimoto 



Excerpts from Wine Institute Report, February 19, 1935 

"A delegation representing the wine industry called upon President 
Roosevelt on February 13th. This delegation included Lucius Powers, 
Jr., First Vice-President of the Wine Institute; Walter E. Taylor of 
Fruit Industries, Ltd.; Secretary Harry A. Caddow of the Wine Institute; 
Congressman Frank H. Buck of California; Judge Marion De Vries, 
counsel for the Institute; and Mr. Underbill, who represents the upper 
New York wine interests. Mr. Caddow reports as follows: 

Meeting with the President decidedly successful and satisfactory. 
President has decidedly sympathetic understanding of all industry 
problems. ...we have a friend in the President.... 1 

"The presentation to the President was upon the present economic 
status of the wine industry and what the industry is doing to clean 
its own house in order to produce quality wines and protect the 
consumer. Congressman Buck specifically asked the President s support 
to lower the federal taxes on wine. Judge De Vries pointed out the 
necessity of maintaining the present tariff on wine in the face of 
proposed reciprocal trade agreements, to prevent the United States from 
becoming a dumping ground for the European surplus... Mr. Caddow 
pointed out the highly significant part the Wine Institute is playing 
in cleaning the industry s own house, and it is believed that the 
President is fully conscious of the Wine Institute s work. Mr. Powers 
pointed out the injustice of many individual states tax and license 
treatment of wine. Mr. Taylor outlined the situation confronting the 
growers. . . . 

"Mr. Critchfield and Gerald Pearce report that Mr. Powers, Lee 
Jones, Mr. Cella and Walter Taylor have been doing splendid work for 
the wine industry in the East and Middle West." 


INDEX -- Lucius Powers 

Agricultural Production Credit Association, 44 

Allied Grape Growers, 23 

almond industry, 40 

Arakelian, Eddie, 43, 44 

Arakelian, K. , 10, 24, 25, 38, 42, 43 

Argun Wine Company, 44 

Bancroft Library, 1, 2 

Barbour, Harry, 24, 25, 26 

Barr, Ted, 42 

Bianchi, Chauncey, 43 

Bisceglia Brothers (Wine Co.), 30 

Bisceglia, Bruno, 30 

Boalt Hall (University of California), 8 

bootlegging, 15 

Bradley, Christopher, 22 

brandy, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 29, 31, 39, 40 

brandy, muscat, 18 

Buck, Frank H. , 50 

Caddow, Harry A. , 50 

Caine, Coleman, 30 

California State University, Fresno, 30 

California Vineyardists Association, iii, 1, 11, 12 

California Wine Association, iii, 26, 37, 38, 45 

California Wineries and Distilleries, 23 

Cameo Vineyards Winery, 31 

Capone, Al, 15 

Carlson, Arthur, 35 

Cella, Ebe. See Turner, Mrs. Bert 

Cella, J.B. [John Battista] , 39, 45, 50 

Central California Wineries , Inc., 30 

Central Valley Cooperative Winery, Inc., iii, 10, 42, 43 

Cetti, Carlo, 17, 18, 19 

Christian Brothers, 19 

citrus nursery [stock], 7, 8 

Conn, Donald, 8, 11, 12 

Consolidated Irrigation District, 22 

cooperage, 17 

Crest View Winery, Inc., 30 

Cresta Blanca (Winery), 29 


Cribari, , 42 

Critchfield (Burke), 50 

Del Key Co-op (winery) , 31 
dessert wines, iii, iv, 40 
De Vries, Marion, 26, 50 

Fresno State University. See California State University, Fresno 

Fresno Winery, Inc., 30 

Fruit Industries, Inc., iii, 12, 13, 38, 50 

Gallo, Ernest, 27, 32, 47-48 

Gazzara, Joe , 30 

Giannini, Frank, 43, 44 

Goldthwaite, Beverly W., 31 

grapes, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 32, 43, 46-47 

Growers Bank, Fresno, 8 

Grunsky, Carl Ewald , 2, 4 

Grunsky, Mrs. Carl Ewald (Martha Kate Powers), 4 

Guild [Wine Company] , 42 

Gunner, Vas, 43, 44 

Harkleroad, Sam, 25 

Heublein, Inc., iii, 23, 29 

Hitzl, Harry, 31 

Hoover, Allan, 12 

Hoover Farms, 12 

Hoover, Herbert Clark, 11-12 

Hubbard, Mrs. Aaron (Lilian Sweasey) , 3 

Italian Swiss Colony, 17, 23, 29 

Jones, Lee, 26, 38, 50 
Jordan, Paul, 35 
Joslyn, Maynard A., 5 

Kappa Sigma Fraternity, 34 
Kearney Park (Fresno) , 7 
Kearney, [M.] Theodore, 7 

Kellas, Judge , 24 

Krenz, Oscar, 17 
Krum, Henry, 43 


Lachman & Jacob i, 20 
Lac-Jac winery, 20 
Latham, George, 2 
Lehman, William J., 17 

Majors, Cort (Olin Cortis), 2, 34 

Malter, George, 31 

Martini, Louis M. , 24, 25 

Mattei, Andrew, 10, 11, 25 

Mattei Building, Fresno, 11 

Mattei winery, 25 

McKesson-Robbins, 19 

Morrow, Almond R., 13, 26 

Mt. Tivy (label), 14, 19 

Mt. Tivy Winery, iii, 14-21, 23 

Muscat Growers Winery Association, 42 

Namen, N.D., 43 

National Distillers, 23, 29 

oranges, 5, 6, 7 

Parlier, William, 17, 22, 23 

Parlier winery, 16-17 

Pearce, Gerald 

Perelli-Minetti, Antonio, 25 

Perenchio, J.B., 30 

persimmons, 5, 6, 29, 40, 47 

Petri, Flori Cella (Mrs. Louis), 45 

Petri, Louis, 23, 45 

Peyser, Jef ferson [E. ] , 26 

Powers, Aaron Hubbard, 1, 2-3, 4, 7 

Powers, Martha Kate. See Grunsky, Mrs. Carl Ewald 

Powers, Lucius (great-uncle), 1, 4 

Powers, Mrs. Lucius, Jr. (Geraldine Rector), 26, 35 

Powers, Lucius, Sr., 7, 8, 11, 13, 14, 16, 21, 20, 31, 36, 46-47 

Powers Ranch, Centerville, 46-47 

Powers School, Fresno, 48-49 

Prohibition, 9, 19, 15, 20, 25, 31 

prorate, 22, 23, 27 

P.W.A., 22 


raisins, 6, 27, 46, 47 

Rector, Judge E.M., 35-36 

Rector, Geraldine. See Powers, Mrs. Lucius, Jr. 

Repeal, 10, 26, 29, 31, 37, 41 

Riddell, Jim (James L.), ii, 20, 43, 44 

Riddell, Sam, 20 

Robinson, Ray, 35 

Rolph, James, 35, 36 

Roma (Wine Company), 29, 45 

Roosevelt, Franklin D., 26, 37-40, 50 

Ross, Leonard, 48 

Royal Banquet label, 19 

sacramental wines, 10, 42 

St. George Winery, 31 

Samuel, Paul, 16 

Samuel, Paul, estate, 15 

Samuel, Sanf ord , 16 

Samuels Winery, 14, 16 

Schenley (Distilleries, Inc.), iii, 24, 28-29 

San Joaquin Valley Wine Association, 42 

Santa Lucia Winery, 43 

Seagram s, 21 

set-aside, 6, 27, 47 

Setrakian, A. [Arpaxat], 24, 27, 47 

Shewan-Jones , 26 

Smith, Andy, 2 

stabilization, 27 

Stockton Boyhood. Being the Reminiscenses of Carl Ewald Grunsky. 2, 4 

sugar, 26, 32, 40 

Sun Maid Raisin Association, 7 

Sweasey, Lilian. See Mrs. Aaron Hubbard . 

Sweasey, Tom, 3 

Sweasey, William J., 3, 4 

Sweet Wine Producers Association, iii, 23, 28 

table wines, iv, 18, 26, 32, 40 
Tarpey, Arthur, 23, 24, 25, 38 
Tarpey, Paul, 23, 25 
Tarpey Winery, 23 
Taylor, Clotilde Grunsky, 1, 4 
Taylor, Walter, 12, 38-39, 50 
Traung brothers, 20, 21 
Traung, Charlie, 13, 14, 21 
Traung, Louis, 13, 14, 21 


Turner, Bert, 39, 45 

Turner, Mrs. Bert (Ebe Cella), 39 

University of California, Berkeley, 2, 32, 34-35 
University of California, Davis, 40 

Vie-Del winery, 20, 43 
Vieth, Fred, 20, 23 

Wine Control Act, 25, 26 

Wine Institute, i v , 23, 25, 26, 28, 40, 50 

Wines Mentioned in the Interview 

angelica, 18, 26 

muscat (muscatel), 18, 26 

port, 18, 26 

sherry, 18, 26 

tokay, 18 

Grapes Varieties Mentioned in the Interview 

Alicante, 7, 8, 10 
Barbera, 10 
Burger, 10 
Chardonnay, 10, 32 
Emperor, 7 
Feher Szagos, 7, 8 
Golden Chasselas, 10, 18 
Malaga, ill, iv, 7, 10 
Muscat, 6, 7, 8, 10 
Thompson Seedless, 6, 7 
Zinfandel, 10 

Ruth Teiser 

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 

since 1943.