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University of California Berkeley 

University of California Bancroft Library/Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office 

Philo Biane 


With an Introduction by 
Maynard A. Amerine 

An Interview Conducted by 
Ruth Teiser 

fc) 1972 by The Regents of the University of California 

Philo Biane being interviewed in his office on August 14, 1969 

Photograph by Catherine Harroun 

All uses of this manuscript are covered by a 
legal agreement between the Regents of the University 
of California and Philo Biane, dated 18 September, 
1972. The manuscript is thereby made available for 
research purposes. All literary rights in the manu 
script, including the right to publish, are reserved 
to The Bancroft Library of the University of California 
at Berkeley. No part of the manuscript may be quoted 
for publication without the written permission of the 
Director of The Bancroft Library of the University of 
California at Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication 
should be addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 
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 Philo Biane requires that he be notified 
of the request and allowed thirty days in which to 




























(For Wines and Grapes see pages 99-100) 





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 
b86 The Bancroft Library 
University of California, Berkeley 



Philo Biane has been associated with the California wine 
industry for more than forty years and before that his family 
had been in the California wine industry for three generations. 
This interview gives a frank and personal view of Biane f s 
family, himself, and his connection with the wine industry. 
It reveals that Biane has a fine memory for people and of many 
details of industry operations. Perhaps, however, saying that 
the wines made from Fruit Industries grape concentrate were 
"excellent" may be overly generous. Of especial interest is 
his evaluation of A. R. Morrow as production manager of Fruit 
Industries. Biane *s opinion is that Morrow "had a feel for 
wine." Many of Mr. Biane s own contributions to Fruit 
Industries he appears to have been too modest to comment upon. 

Throughout his text Mr. Biane notes the inevitability 
of change in the wine industry: from pasteurization to 
sanitation, from hand picking to mechanical harvesting, from 
oak to stainless steel, from one region to a new one, and 
from one type of winery organization to another. It is to his 
credit that he is able to look at this picture with equanimity. 

Mr. Biane is Justly proud of the wine types he has 
developed and the names coined for them. In general, he is 
optimistic about the future of the wine industry in California- 
in fact in any western state. In addition, he likes the wine 
industry. One has the feeling that Philo Biane also "has a 
feeling for wine." 

Maynard A. Amerine 
Professor, Viticulture 
and Enology 

101 Wickson Hall 

University of California at Davis 

1 September 1972 



The formal letter asking Mr. Philo Biane to participate 
in the wine industry interview series went to him on May 20, 
1969. The actual interviewing had already started, however, 
on May 8. It had been learned that Mr. Biane would be in 
San Francisco at an industry meeting that day; an invitation 
was issued informally by phone, and he very kindly gave over 
the afternoon of a one-day trip from Southern California to 
the project. That first interview session was held at the 
interviewer s San Francisco studio. The two subsequent ones 
were held at the Brookside winery at Old Guasti on August 19 
1969, and September 9, 1970. At the time of the second 
session, Mr. Biane took the interviewer on a tour of the 
winery salesroom, the exhibit of historical memorabilia, and 
the cellars. 

The interview sessions at the winery were held in Mr. 
Biane *s large and comfortable office in the old stone building. 
There were some interruptions, as Mr. Biane is the active head 
of the Brookside Vineyard Company, continuing a career in the 
wine industry that began formally in 19 3 when he was twenty- 
one. His recollections are of particular interest because of 
his close knowledge of Fruit Industries (knowledge equalled 
only by that of Mr. Walter E. Taylor, who declined to be 
interviewed), and. of the wine industry in Southern California. 

A gracious man with a regard for correctness of detail 
and cause and effect, Mr. Biane made numerous careful correc 
tions in wording in the transcript of the first two parts of 
the interview, which were sent to him on July 6, 1970. He 
also added, in writing, some information requested by the 
interviewer. The third part, shorter than the others, required 
fewer corrections; it was sent to him on December 2, 1971 and 
returned on January ^, 1972. There was some additional 
correspondence during the editing to verify certain points. 

Ruth Teiser, 

The Bancroft Library 
University of California at Berkeley 
6 September 1972 

(Interview #1 - San Francisco, May 8, 1969) 


Teiser: When and where were you born? 

Biane: I was born in 1909 at Brookside Winery southwest of 

Redlands, in San Timoteo Canyon, the winery established 
by my great-great uncle, Emile Vache". This winery 
was built by the Vache brothers, who were the second 
generation of Vache s in California. The original 
Theophile Vache established a winery in Hollister 
in 1832; the history of the family continues from 
1832 down to the present time. 

We are members of the Hundred Year Club 
established by Governor Warren that recognizes 
families that have been in continuous business in 
California for a hundred years or more. 

Theophile Vaohe * started the winery in Hollister, 
and his nephews, who came to California later, worked 
with him. Vineyards, winery and cattle. Later the 
nephews moved to Los Angeles, because at that time 
there was a greater planting of grapes in the Los 
Angeles area than there was up in this [Northern 
California] area. The wholesale and retail wine and 
brandy business was established in Los Angeles by 

Teiser: Who were the nephews? What were their names? 

*See also pp. 19-21. 

Biane: The nephews were Adolphe, Emile and Theophile, the 

The winery in Southern California was established 
on the corner of Commercial and Alameda Street in 
Los Angeles in i860. And continued until the brothers 
at that time, who are now the second generation, 
decided to go to San Bernardino and Redlands to plant 
their vineyards; and the first year of operation there 
they operated at Dr. [Benjamin] Barton s winery in 
southeast San Bernardino, in the year 1882. And then 
by the year 1883 the winery at Brookslde was completed, 
and that was the first vintage year in Redlands. 

That winery continued under the direction of 
Emile Vache. This is where my father, Marius Biane, 
came into the picture, as an employee of the Vaches. 
He came from near the town of Auch, Prance.* He went 
to school for a year, then worked at the winery. After 
he became part owner he married my mother, who was 
Marceline Vache". 

Dad, being a young, energetic man from Prance 
and. also from the wine business in Prance, soon took 
over the operation at the winery at Brookside, and 
that continued to operate there until 1916, which was 
about the time Prohibition was voted in on a local 
level in San Bernardino County. 

Then, with the event of Prohibition, the winery 
was dismantled. The family was not involved with the 
production of wines for a year or two. Dad, running 
the Brookslde Winery, used to buy grapes from the 
Cucamonga area, and one of the people he used to buy 
from was a company known as Post & Klusman. Mr. 
[John H.] Klusman then prevailed upon Dad, Mr. Biane, 
to come to the Cucamonga area to run the vineyards 
and the winery. At that time there was a little over 
1,000 acres of vineyard and the winery was about a 
million-and-a-half -gallon winery. Later, or Just a 
few years later, that vineyard and winery was then 
purchased by Garrett & Company.** This was Garrett s 
first move into the West Coast as a Southern California 
operator. That winery became known as the Virginia 
Dare plant or the Virginia Dare Winery, at Cucamonga. 

*In 1892. 

**In 1918. See also pp. 

Biane: The manager of that winery was Mr. [L.R. ] Weller. 
Mr. Weller was a nephew of Mr. [Paul] Garrett. He 
was the man who was very instrumental in having the 
growers of the Cucamonga valley produce good grapes 
that they could use in the production of their 
Virginia Dare products. 

Teiser: Was Virgina Dare one of the Eastern wineries? 

Biane: Yes. The original Virginia Dare plant was in South 
Carolina, then Perm Yan, New York. The original 
Virginia Dare was made from the labrusca grapes, 
Scuppernong being one of the main varieties that 
imparted the pronounced flavor to the Virginia Dare 

The Virginia Dare wine was the first wine 
produced in the United States that many wines have 
been patterned after that we know today as "light, 
sweet" wines. A very popular brand today is the 
Mogen David, and the Manischewitz type wines. 
Virginia Dare was the forerunner of these types of 

Now with our moving to the Cucamonga area in 
fall of 1916, Dad invested in vineyards, and then 
with the event of Repeal another winery was established 
in the way of a cooperative winery known as the 
Cucamonga Growers [Cooperative] Winery, of which my 
dad was president and my brother was production 

Teiser: And your brother s name is? 

Biane: Was Francois Biane, or Prank Biane. 


Biane: Before this happened, however, the establishment of 
Fruit Industries took place. Fruit Industries was 
composed of a number of wineries up and down the 
state of California, starting at the Asti winery*, 
which at that time was owned and operated by the 
Rossi family, on down to Southern California with the 
Italian Vineyard Company. Fruit Industries was born 
because of necessity, in trying to find a utilization 

*Italian Swiss Colony 

Biane: for the wine grapes in the state of California rather 
than let them Just hang on the vine with no use. 
Now the reason there was no use was that we had 
Prohibition and the wineries could not sell their 
products. The main thought behind this program was 
that the grapes could be made into concentrate and 
thereby kept in a fresh form, without fermentation 
taking place. And then later during the year, when 
a use for this concentrate was found, it could then 
be out with water and converted to wine. 

Now the method of doing this was to sell the 
product throughout the United States in the way of 
wine; however, it would be delivered to the consumer s 
home in the concentrated form in a barrel, then the 
water added at the home and then innoculated with wine 
yeast, and fermentation would take place and develop 
the reconstituted grape Juice into wine. The con 
centrates were blended beforehand by the use of 
various varieties of grapes to produce the different 
types of wine that one may desire. A service man 
would come to your home and rack that Juice off of 
the barrel and filter it and bottle it for you in your 
home, and you had wine. Whatever you may have ordered 
port, muscatel, sherry, or burgundy, or sauterne. 

This was a nation-wide marketing effort and it 
was successful because the wines produced were 
excellent. This was brought about by the formation 
of Pruit Industries, which was mentioned before, which 
was an effort to organize and to help the growers of 
California. It was sponsored in a way by the federal 
government; they lent this organization $20,000,000 
to install the equipment to effect the concentration 
of the grape Juice. At that time Mrs. Mabel Willebrandt 
was assistant attorney general for the United States, 
and she was also later the attorney for Pruit 
Industries. And so the company had a good relationship 
with the federal government in trying to take advantage 
of one part of a law that allowed each head of the 
family to make in his home 200 gallons of wine. 

Teiser: And this was the effort in which Mr. [Donald D.] Conn 
was engaged? 

Biane: Mr. Conn, and later Mr. [Walter E. ] Taylor, brought 

it to its completion. Mr. Taylor was involved because 
of his association with the Community Grape Corporation 
of Lodi, and when Mr. Conn stepped away into other 

Biane: ventures Mr. Taylor actually took his place as the 
general manager of Fruit Industries. 

Teiser: Mr. Conn had started the California Vineyardists 

Biane: The California Vineyardists Association later became 

known as Fruit Industries, Ltd. My first recollection 
of Mr. Conn was as the head of Fruit Industries. 

Teiser: I see. 

Biane: At that time I personally had been in France studying 
wine making; upon my return to New York I received a 
wire from my father stating that Fruit Industries 
wanted me to go to work for them in San Francisco. 
That was spring of 1930 when I first started with 
Fruit Industries. 

Teiser: Let me go back and ask you a little about your own 
experiences up to that time. Did you go through 
school in the ordinary way? 

Biane: Yes. My schooling was normal in those days. I went 
to grammar schools in Southern California, and two 
years of high school at St. Mary s at Oakland. I was 
a boarder at that time, coming from Southern California, 
I completed high school in Southern California. Then 
I returned to St. Mary s for a year and a half of 
college. At that time I left school and went to France 
and studied the art of wine making. 

Teiser: Where in France did you go? 

Biane: I was living with part of the family that was still 
in France. Their home was in Auch, which is in the 
southern part of France close to the Pyrenees. It s 
between Tarbes and Toulouse. There my primary work 
was in the vineyards as well as the winery. I also 
worked in a small winery producing Champagne. It was 
there I learned the art of producing Champagne. 

Teiser: You wouldn t have had experience with wine in this 
country because it wasn t... 

Biane: It was Prohibition. 

Teiser: So you knew about it theoretically, I suppose, while... 

Biane: I had been associated and raised in a winery, which 
was still making wine, even though it was during 

We must go back a bit. When we moved to the 
Cucamonga area I went to work for Garrett & Company, 
or Dad did. Prior to that the winery was run for one 
or two years by the Perelli-Minetti brothers. And 
during that time they were making wine and shipping 
it, as I recollect it, quite young (three months old) 
in 50-gallon barrels via water through San Pedro to 
New York. And this was during Prohibition, but it 
was handled through the kosher wine routes that were 
available to certain people at that time. Shortly 
after this period then Garrett & Company bought the 
vineyards and the winery and they then started 
operating with... 

Teiser: The Perelli-Minetti brothers had owned it prior...? 

Biane: No, they had leased it from Post & Klusman, and at 
that time Dad was the vineyardlst as well as the 
winemaker for Post & Klusman, so he made the wines 
for the Perelli-Minetti s. 

And then when Garrett & Company became the 
owners, all of the grapes at that time and for a 
number of years were shipped to mid-West and Eastern 
markets for use in home wine making. 

Teiser: You ceased making wine? 

Biane: We didn t make wine for a number of years. All the 
grapes were shipped. This is now going back, as I 
recall same, to 1921, 22, 23, 2^, f 25, when the 
population of the United States was very affluent. 
This was before we had the crash of 28, f 29, and. 
the 30 s. Prices of grapes were good and it was a 
means of operating a vineyard and selling your fruit 
at a very fine profit. 

Teiser: What varieties did you ship? 

Biane: We shipped all the varieties that we had at that time, 
which were the Zinfandel, the Mataro, the Mission, 
the Burgers, the Golden Chasselas. We even shipped 
the Blue Elba, which you don t even hear of any more. 
All of the grapes that we grew were shipable. 

Teiser: That you had been growing all the time? 

Biane: All the time. Now these were all wine grapes. None 
of these were table grapes, because in the Cucamonga 
valley where we were located in Southern California 
we raised nothing but wine grapes. No table grapes. 

Then came along the years of the Depression 
and the sale of grapes then became difficult because 
most of the people that were buying grapes to make 
wine at home were the people that were mostly affected 
by the Depression. They were the foreign-born people 
that had come to the United States that were working 
with their hands (builders, carpenters, masons, et 
cetera), and they were the people that didn t have 
jobs any more. And so there was no market for the 
grapes because there was nobody with money to buy them. 

So then we tried to devise a new way of trying 
to get our product on the market; at that time we 
started the production of wine tonics. Garrett & 
Company produced the Virginia Dare red and Virginia 
Dare white tonic. This was a dessert wine (port, or 
angelica) of 21 per cent alcohol; the alcohol was then 
slightly reduced by the addition of medicinal products 
such as beef extracts to increase the iron and other 
medicinal values. We also had to have a certain amount 
of total solids, which was generally derived through 
the use of corn sugar. These formulas were approved 
by the federal government as a medicine and as a tonic 
and were generally sold throughout the drug stores 
all over the United States. And we were not the only 
ones in the business. When I say we, I m speaking of 
Garrett & Company. But the Italian Vineyard Company 
made a Guasti wine tonic; the Vai Brothers made a Vai 
Brothers wine tonic. And the era of wine tonic lasted 
up to the repeal of the Volstead Act. 

Teiser: Was it consumed in quantity? 

Biane: Yes. Because even though it was a tonic, it was 

drinkable. People did drink it. And there was a lot 
of it sold. Also, at that same time, we developed 
wine jellies; we developed the grape concentrate; we 
developed sweetened grape brandies that were used as 
a syrup; we developed wine vinegars. Anything that we 
could possibly think of for the utilization of the 
grapes. That was our main object because we were all 
involved in growing of grapes. Then, getting back to 


Biane: my own personal history at this point, when I was 
through school, one and a half years at St. Mary s 
College, I went to France and studied there by working 
in the wineries and also working in a wine laboratory. 
And then upon my return from Prance I went to work 
for Fruit industries this was still during the 
Prohibition era; Prohibition had not been repealed. 





Could you see Repeal coming by 1930? 

No, except that it was being talked about, and of 
course it was one of the platforms which President 
Roosevelt ran on that if he would be elected, he 
would see that the repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment 
would come about. And at that particular time I had 
been working for Fruit Industries and we had gone 
into this production of wine in the home on a national 
basis, with headquarters in New York and Chicago and 
Los Angeles, and San Francisco. I was in the Chicago 
area and established the first outlets in the city of 

Was there a trade name for the product? 

Yes, Vine-Glo. And we had the labels, and we did a 
complete Job in the person s home, even to the point 
of corking, putting the foil on, wrapping in tissue 
paper, and laying it on your shelf. And the price of 
a unit which was a five gallon unit of, say, port 
wine, for instance cost you $18.75 for the five 

My word! 
to make? 

How many visits did the service man have 

Generally three visits and then its final completion. 
It was done very scientifically. We had a very fine 
chemist in Fruit Industries that established all 
procedures, Dr. [John R. ] Eoff, who was originally, 
I believe, and had gained considerable experience 
with the Canadian Wineries, Limited, in Canada. 
And he was a scientific winemaker, with all the 
knowledge of chemistry and what it embodied. He was 
my first experience with this kind of a man. And he 
is the one that established the Fruit Industries 
laboratories at 82 Second Street here in San Francisco. 

Through him we acquired a group of chemists at 
that point Vic Enders, who later was associated with 

Biane: Italian Swiss Colony; Mr. [E.M.] Brown, who later 
became associated with Shewan- Jones and then with 
Christian Brothers; Mr. Fellers, who became associated 
with Garrett & Company in New York; and possibly one 
or two more, and myself. Men that were possibly at 
that time, the best knowledgeable men available in 
the state of California to do what we were going to 
try to do. In putting things together to produce 
wines in the home.* 

Teiser: Most of you had learned the technology of wine making 
outside of this country? 

Biane: No, not necessarily. The men that I named, some of 

them had possibly learned in Germany, but other ones, 
I believe, were wlnemakers in this country prior to 
Prohibition or during Prohibition, making wines and 
tonics and things that were able to be sold during 
the Prohibition era. For instance myself, both this 
country and in France. So that was the type of men 
that formed the nucleus of the start of production 
for Fruit Industries. 


Biane: Then with the event of the repeal of Prohibition, 

certain of these people who made up Fruit Industries 
said, "Well, we are going to go on our own at this 
point; we re no longer going to continue to be 
associated with Fruit Industries." And Garrett & 
Company was one that pulled out in the original 
instance. The Rossis pulled out. Mr. [Horace 0.] 
Lanza pulled out. And various different ones pulled 
out and went their own way at that time. And various 
of these men that I named as production men went with 
various of these people. 

Teiser: So you really had formed a nucleus for the industry! 

Biane: That is right. That is right. And then from that 
point on Fruit Industries went on, of course, to 
become the largest wine operation in the state of 

*See also p. 16 for mention of Emil Cherski. 






California, tinder the guidance, from the standpoint 
of production, of Mr. [A.R. ] Morrow, who had been 
Involved with the California Wine Association prior 
to Repeal. 

Did you know Mr. Morrow? 

Oh yes, I was Mr. Morrow s assistant. 

I thought I remembered that you were. 
that you become his assistant? 

It was 

Biane: That s right. 

Teiser: I hear varying views of him. 

Biane: Well, I could give you my Impressions of Mr. Morrow. 

I worked for Mr. Morrow for many years. I was brought 
to the San Francisco area and the San Francisco office 
of Fruit Industries in 19^1 actually to understudy 
Mr. Morrow and to try to acquaint myself if I had the 
ability then to become production manager of Fruit 
Industries when Mr. Morrow stepped down. And Mr. 
Morrow had a great feeling for wine. Mr. Morrow knew 
the wines of the state. And to be production manager 
of Fruit Industries, you had to know and be acquainted 
with the wines of the state because you were going to 
bring those wines together and merchandise them as a 
unit or as a group of merchandising units going out. 
It called for the ability to blend wines of the state 
and for the complete utilization of all the wines 
produced in all the wineries. 

Now you re getting into a multiplication of 
problems. Mr. Morrow developed, along with his 
technicians, the method of classification of wines. 
And this method was actually originated back in the 
early days of the California Wine Association. The 
California Wine Association was a very large organi 
zation that made and also bought wines throughout the 
state of California, bringing them in to one location, 
which was Winehaven, over on the Richmond side of the 
Bay, and shipping them from there all over the world. 
Now Mr. Morrow was associated with that operation. 

My first recollection of Mr. Morrow was when he 
used to visit the winery at Brookside and come down 
and buy wine from Dad. He would come down and stay 
two or three days as a guest of the winery and go 


Biane: through the cellars and buy certain wines that we 
produced at Brookside at Redlands. These wines 
were shipped to San Francisco. 

Teiser: He was a discriminating buyer, I assume. 

Biane: He was a discriminating buyer and he only bought the 
best. And he had an uncanny ability to pick out the 
best. And so Mr. Morrow was what I call a true wine 
man. He had a feel for wine. He had a feel .of being 
able to bring wines together and make a real fine 
wine out of them. In Fruit Industries at that time 
we were crushing about 150,000 tons of grapes a year, 
and that was a lot of wine. We were bottling at that 
time close to 2,000,000 cases of wine. And they were 
being bottled in San Francisco, Guasti, Los Angeles, 
Chicago, and New York. 

Now the production manager of Fruit Industries 
was the production manager of all of the plants. He 
had to have a certain ability to keep things running 
in all parts of the country through, naturally, his 
managers at the locations. But Mr. Morrow was a man 
that was recognized by the industry as being a man of 
great honesty, would always give the opinion of the 
evaluation on the wine, whether it be good or bad, 
and he had the complete respect of the industry. And 
I learned a good deal from Mr. Morrow through my 
working and association with him for a number of 
years. And after Mr. Morrow retired, then I did the 
work that he was doing for Fruit Industries. 

Teiser: During these years, Mr. Taylor was part of the 

Biane: Mr. Taylor, during all this time that I ve been 

talking about, was general manager of Fruit Industries, 

Teiser: And what was his function? 

Biane: His function as general manager was to coordinate the 
sales department, the production department, and he 
handled completely the financial end of the company 
and the legal details of the company, which were 
great at that time because of the various contracts 
that we had with all the member wineries, and keeping 
things in tow, and in position that we were always 
right from the standpoint of the federal government 
in all of our activities. 


Teiser: You said that he had been a participant in establishing 
the organization? 

Blane: Yes. 
Teiser: How had he? 

Biane: Well, Mr. Taylor was a member of the Community Grape 
Corporation of Lodi, which was one of the large 
contributors to Fruit Industries, and Mr. Taylor had 
previous experience in the banking industry and the 
canning industry, and of the handling of fruit and 
the handling of vegetables and the disposition of same 
through marketing, and he came to Fruit Industries 
with that type of a background. Our problem was not 
so much the production of wine as it was the marketing 
of wine. To establish the markets. 

Now, however, one of the things that was a 
problem with Fruit Industries that we now see from 
hindsight was the multiplication of brands that we 
used. And that was brought about because each winery 
that was a member wanted its brand used. And so in 
New York, we had the Guasti brand, which was part of 
the Italian Vineyard Company. In Chicago, we had the 
F. I. brand, which was Fruit Industries. Here in 
San Francisco, we used a Greystone brand, which was 
part of the California Wine Association. Some place 
else we used a Winehaven brand, and some place else 
we used another brand, Cerrito, or others. 

And consequently we were merchandising wines all 
over the United States, but failed to create one 
standard brand at that time. And that is the reason 
that Fruit Industries, I felt, really didn t gain 
the success in the market that it should have. Because 
of that one factor. 

Teiser: When these wineries grouped together in this fashion, 
did they aid each other in working out problems of 
transition into Repeal? 

Biane: Yes. Of course, Repeal was brought about, however, 
not completely through the efforts of the winery and 
the liquor people. However, they helped. 

Teiser: I mean, adjusting to it. 


Biane: Yes. Well, let me carry this one thought a little 
farther. It was a political move by President 
Roosevelt as one of his promises if he were elected 
that he would effect Repeal, which he did. Now, to 
get into business again you realize that everybody 
was pretty well broke at that time because this was 
the tail end of the Depression. Fruit Industries 
was already an organization, trying to do something 
during Prohibition, so it was a normal thing for 
these people all to gravitate together and to continue 
to do something with an organization that they already 
had. Which they did, and it carried on, well, to 
this day. It s still operating today as the California 
Wine Association. 

Teiser: Did they for instance pool information about how to 
get financing? 

Biane: Well, the financing in those days was done through 

agencies that had been set up by the federal govern 
ment through the Hoover administration through 
federal banks. Well, start with Commodity Credit 
[Corporation], your Federal Land Bank, your Production 
Credit, and your Berkeley Bank for Cooperatives.* 
Those were the financing institutions behind the grape 
grower and those involved with Fruit Industries. Our 
grape growing was involved with Production Credit 
Association. Our wineries were involved with the 
Berkeley Bank for Cooperatives. And Fruit Industries 
was involved with the Commodity Credit [Corporation]. 
And our vineyards were relieved from the commercial 
bank pressures by the loans being transferred to the 
Federal Land Bank. 

Teiser: I see. Were all these available to an individual 
wine grower too? 

Biane: The things that I have named were all available to 
any group of growers who wanted to get together to 
avail themselves of these programs. 

Teiser: But it had to be a group? 

Biane: It had to be a group. It had to be a cooperative. 
But not to avail yourself of the Federal Land Bank 
or Production Credit. The only time you then moved in 

*See also pp. 51-52. 

Biane: to where a group was necessary was for your facility 
loan to build a winery, to process fruit the Berkeley 
Bank for Cooperatives came into play. 

You now had the winery; what were you going to 
do with your merchandise? At that particular point 
it was so easy to say, "Well, let f s go with this 
group, Fruit Industries, that are already merchandising 
all over the United States." So most of the wineries 
that belonged to Fruit Industries were cooperatives. 

Rancho del Oso was owned individually by a Mr. 
Jack Bare, and A. Perelll-Minetti & Sons [was not a 
cooperative]. And I will also say, at that particular 
time, in the original instance, there were other 
individuals, as I remember now. Mr. Lanza was an 
individual; the Rossi people were individual; Shewan- 
Jones, Mr. [Lee] Jones of Lodi with the She wan- Jones 
plant, he was an individual; the Italian Vineyard 
Company was a company. This was before Repeal. 

Then after Repeal, many of the co-ops that I was 
naming came into Fruit Industries. The Sonoma County 
Co-op [Cooperative], the Napa Valley Co-op [Cooperative], 
the Calistoga Valley Co-op, the Lodi Cooperative, the 
Cherokee Vineyard Association, Woodbridge Vineyard 
Association, Community Grape Products, Delano Growers 
Cooperative, Cucamonga Growers Cooperative, were all 
members of Fruit Industries. You see, now, these 
cooperatives were formed and availed themselves of 
these financial opportunities that were available 
there for a grower to band together and to create a 
production plant and to Join a marketing association. 

Teiser: It was complex, and you have a clear recollection of 

Biane: Well, I was involved with every step of it. I was 

part of it all the way along the line. I was sent by 
the company to France later or$ after the Vlne-Glo 
situation and before the repeal of Prohibition, to 
study the bulk process production of champagne as 
done by at that particular time by the Charmat 
process. Mr. [Eugene] Charmat. And I purchased 
champagne equipment at that time for Fruit Industries 
and made all the necessary arrangements, and it was 
shipped into Canada. But then something happened 
along the deal that Fruit Industries did not finally 
pick it up at that time. And it actually came down 

*In 1932. 


Biane: and was installed at the Vai Brothers plant in 

Gucamonga. And this was the introduction of the 
bulk process champagne to the United States. That 
was the first.* 

Teiser: That was just after Repeal? 

Biane: That s right. Right after Repeal. Then we did not 

get into it as Fruit Industries until later. I think 
it was probably 35 or 36 before we finally put in 
a bulk champagne operation, which we put in at the 
Guasti plant of the Italian Vineyard Company, of 
which I was in charge of production. 

Teiser: Were you operating that at the same time you were 

working in a general capacity for Fruit Industries? 

Biane: When I came back then after purchasing this equipment, 

I actually went to work for a member of Fruit Industries, 
which was the Italian Vineyard Company. With my 
experience in champagne I was employed to re-work and 
put into a marketable position the champagne inventories 
of the Italian Vineyard Company and the California 
Wine Association, who owned large inventories of 
champagne. These champagnes were all shipped to the 
Guasti plant where we employed the first transfer 
method. All these fine champagnes were put into a 
marketable condition. 

Teiser: What condition were they in when you came there? 

Biane: Well, it was just old, and it wasn t marketable. . .the 
corks were bad, the wire rusty. Some [bottles] had 
deposits. Actually it was the introduction of the 
transfer process, which is now very prominent in all 
the champagne houses. I was familiar with the process 
because I had done it in France.** 

Teiser: What had been operating that winery? Who d been in 
charge of it? 

Biane: The Italian Vineyard Company? 

*See also p. *4-6. "The transfer system used in the 
industry today is done with patented German equipment 
first produced after World War II." M.A. Amerine 

**See also p. 33. 


Telser: Yes. 

Biane: Well, a Mr. [Emil] Gherski, who was one of the chemists 
that I forgot to mention in that other group of Fruit 
Industries production men. Mr. Cherski was a chemist, 
and a very fine one, with his education in Warsaw 
and his final education in the University of Southern 
California at Los Angeles. He first worked for the 
oil industry, but gravitated some way to the wine 
business at Guasti, as chemist for the Italian Vineyard 
Company. He was also a registered pharmacist. Mr. 
Cherski was one of the better-educated chemists that 
the wine industry was fortunate in having. And he 
was part of Fruit Industries and was with Fruit 
Industries until his death, working right here in San 

Teiser: Is Mr. Strud his nephew? 

Biane: Yes, Mr. Stanley Strud was his nephew.* 

Now we haven t talked about the board of directors 
of Fruit Industries or the men that were involved and 
were very instrumental in bringing it about and making 
it a strong company. W.A. Spooner, director from 
Community Grape Corporation, Lodi; A. Perelli-Minetti, 
director from A. Perelli-Minetti & Sons, Delano; Elmer 
J. Shinn, director, Cherokee Vineyard Association, 
Lodi; Lee Shelf ord, director, Sonoma County Cooperative 
Winery, Windsor; George W. Fell, director, Florin 
Winery Association, Florin; Frank J. Biane, director, 
Cucamonga Growers Co-op [Cooperative] Winery, Ontario; 
Jack V. Bare, director, Rancho del Oso, Woodbridge; 
W.L. Kiggens, director, Delano Growers Co-op 
[Cooperative] Winery, Delano; Fred Snyde, director, 
Woodbridge Vineyard Association, Bradford; J.N. 
Ballantyne, director, Lodi Winery, Urgon, California. 

Teiser: Did you have a good deal to do with the Guasti family? 

Biane: Not too much. I knew Mrs. [Secondo] Guasti, Sr. I 
did not know Mr. Guasti, Sr. personally, because he 
had passed away about the time that I had come back 
from France.** Mrs. Guasti, however, was there for 

^Stanley Strud died August 21, 1966. 
**Secondo Guasti died in 192?. 


Biane: quite some time, and I knew her. I also knew her son 
we called Sec Guastl at that time. However, he died 
shortly afterwards,* Just a months after Repeal. And 
the reins of the Italian Vineyard Company then were 
handled by Mr. [James A.] Barlotti. 

Teiser: Mr. Perelli-Minetti was somehow... 

Biane: Mr. Perelli-Minetti was involved in there only from 
the standpoint of a consultant on the vineyard 
operation. Mr. Barlotti was the president and 
general manager of the Italian Vineyard Company, and 
he was the representative on the board for Fruit 
Industries. And then shortly after that, after a 
few years, a Mr. [Nicola] Giulii, who was the brother- 
in-law of Mr. Guasti, became president and general 
manager of the Italian Vineyard Company, and he 
withdrew the Italian Vineyard Company from Fruit 

Teiser: Why? 

Biane: Well, he thought they could do better on their own, 
and which he did try, and they operated for a number 
of years but really were not successful from a 
merchandising standpoint. About this time** the 
Italian Vineyard Company was sold to Mr. Lanza, all 
of their vineyard holdings and the winery. However, 
that portion of the winery that belonged to Fruit 
Industries was never sold because Fruit Industries 
had acquired the aging and finishing cellars and 
various other buildings and 12 acres of land. Mr. 
Lanza operated the winery for a number of years and 
then sold it to Garret t & Company.*** 

And Garrett & Company when we talk about the 
vineyards, we re talking large acreages, you know, 
four and five thousand acres. They really were real 
estate investments, more so than wine investments. 
And those people were very far-sighted in their 
thinking, Lanza and Garrett, but they Just couldn t 
hang onto the situation long enough for it to 
materialize on a real estate investment. But then 

*Secondo Guasti, Jr. died in 1933 


Biane: after Mr. Lanza sold to Garrett & Company, Garrett & 
Company were operating nation-wide, with plants 
again in Penn Yan and. in New York and at Guastl and 
Cuoamonga. Due to Internal problems they decided to 
cease business. It was a family business, and they 
decided to cease. The old Italian Vineyard holdings 
were then sold. 

The land was sold to an investment firm known 
as Vina Vista, and the winery was leased to Alta 
Vineyards. Alta ran it for a year or so Mr. Bev 
[Beverly W.] Goldthwaite of Alta Vineyards. Mr. 
Goldthwaite was an enterprising man that liked to 
put things together, and he at that time put his 
winery, near to Fresno, the winery known as Cameo 
Vineyards, and the Italian Vineyards Company which 
was then run as Alta Vineyards into the Guild* 
operation. And Mr. Goldthwaite became a guiding force 
in the Guild association. And the winery continued 
to be run by the Guild at the Guasti location up until 
a year ago, and then the plant was dismantled. But 
Mr. Goldthwaite was very instrumental in part of the 
development of the California wine industry after 



Teiser: My, there f ve been a lot of people who have put money, 
effort , planning. . . 

Biane: Oh yes. In the original instance of Fruit Industries, 
of course, Mr. Lanza was in and Mr. [A.] Setrakian 
was also part of the organization at one time. Many, 
many of the people in the wine business at one time 
or another were associated with Fruit Industries.** 

*It operated under the name Wine Growers Guild until 
1959* Guild Wine Company thereafter. 

**For further discussion of Fruit Industries in the 
early period, see pp. 2^-25. 



Biane: Now we get back to Southern California a bit, with 
some of the wineries down there in my recollection. 
We had the San Gabriel Vineyard [Winery], which 
was run by the Dlmateis family. 

Teiser: May I interrupt you for a minute? Your family is 
one of the few French families in the California 
wine industry. The de Latours and Mirassous are 
the only others I can think of. 

Biane: That s right. There are very few of the French. 
Teiser: Are there others? 

Biane: Well, yes, in Southern California we had another 

small winery and vineyards that belonged to Mr. La 
Fourcade, that was a French family, but they did not 
come back into the wine business after the event of 
Repeal. They had quite a large vineyard in the 
Cucamonga area and a nice winery in the Rochester 
district of Cucamonga. Mr. La Fouroade worked at 
Brookside in Redlands for a number of years before 
starting his own vineyards and winery. But as you 
say there were not too many French families involved 
in the wine business. 

Originally, yes, Mr. [Jean Louis] Vignes of 
Los Angeles was one of the first with commerical 
vineyards and winery. There were several German 
families in the original wineries in and around 
Los Angeles and Anaheim. When the wine business 
really came into being, it came in because of the 
large immigration, or the Influx, of the Italian 
people in the 1880 s. The French were the first 
people to follow the Spanish to Los Angeles. There s 
a lot of French history in Los Angeles. They started 
the French hospitals and had a French opera associa 
tion, also a French newspaper, L* Union Nouvelle. 
The original French people had a desire to return to 
France. They would come to the new world, would 
establish a good business, then they would go back 
to France to retire, either selling the business or 
turning same over to the younger generation. That 
happened throughout all of my family. Theophile 
Vachl I went back to France when his nephews took 


Teiser: When did he return to Prance? 

Biane: I don t know the exact year he returned. I have many 
French letters at home from Prance, communication 
between the families, and I might be able to determine 
that. But I would think it must have been right 
around 1850, somewheres in there, when he went back 
to Prance. The family came from lie d Oleron. Part 
of the family always remained there, continuing to 
operate a winery, a concentrating plant, and a vinegar 
plant. This is a small island off the coast of 

Teiser: But he d come in 1832? 

Biane: Yes. 

Teiser: How did he happen to? 

Biane: Well, the French were coming in through Mexico, you 
remember. Prance came into Mexico with Maximilian, 
and that must have been in the late 1700 s and the 
first part of the 1800 s. So many of the people 
from Prance come into California through Mexico. 

Teiser: And that s how he would have come to Monterey? 

Biane: No he had friends that came in via Mexico. He came 
via sail ship around the Horn of South America to 
Monterey, California. My grandfather and his brothers, 
which were my great uncles, all came around the Horn. 
They came to join their uncle, who was the Theophile 
Vache" [the first] who was here before them. After 
the younger men took over the business, he returned 
to France. Of the younger men, the only one that 
stayed here, that actually died here, was my grand 
father Adolph. His brothers all returned. He is 
buried in Santa Monica. 

Not only was that peculiar of my family but it 
was peculiar of many of the French people who came 
here. I think Monsieur Vignes also went back to 
Prance. He sold his wineries to his nephews and 
went back to Prance. And so that was more or less 
a trait of the French people; they came and they did 
and they created, but they didn t stay. I mean, 
they d turn it over and then went back home to Prance. 
Whereas the Italians, when they came, they came from 
a different type of people, as I ve been able to 


Biane: observe it. They were people of a different category 
than the French people. Most of the Frenchmen that 
came over were very well-educated men and they were 
knowledgeable of various sciences and agriculture 
and were from well-to-do families. Whereas the 
Italian immigration that came over were working 
people that worked in the vineyards, and were very 
shrewd and smart people that bettered themselves and 
went on to great and big things in the United States. 

Teiser: Well, thank you. I asked you to digress. You were 

starting to tell about the various Southern California 
wineries that you knew. And you were talking of the 
Dimateis. . . 

Biane: The Demateis family had a winery in San Gabriel, it 
being one of the older California wineries; they 
were related to the Vai Brothers. Jim and John Vai 
had a large winery in the Los Angeles and the 
Cucamonga area. They had come originally to be 
associated with Mr. Guasti of the Italian Vineyard 
Company. Mr. Claudio Ellena came, establishing his 
vineyards and winery in northeast Cucamonga. He 
came to California via Australia. Mr. Guasti at one 
time worked for Mr. Ellena in Italy. Through 
correspondence Mr. Guasti persuaded Mr. Ellena to 
come to the Cucamonga area to establish his vineyards 
and winery. 

Some of the wineries started after Repeal, like 
San Antonio Winery that s in business now; they 
started after Repeal, really as a small winery, and 
have kept on. The Filippi family in the Cucamonga 
area have a nice operation now; also they started 
later. Again they came into the area through Mr. 
Guasti and the Italian Vineyard Company and were 
associated with them and then went on to their own 

Teiser: Is it valid to make a comparison between the 
Southern California wineries and the Northern 
California wineries? 

Biane: Yes and no. The Northern California wineries were 
established at a later date. They were a different 

*For further discussion of Southern California 
wineries, see p. 28. 


Biane: type of winery than the Southern California winery. 
The Southern California wineries established them 
selves and catered mostly to the Southern California 
market, as well as to eastern market. Southern 
California was the birthplace of the wine industry 
of the state. The vineyards have moved around, a 
good deal in Southern California because of the rapid 
growth of the Southland. The first vineyards were 
in Los Angeles, then Anaheim, then San Fernando, then 
Santa Anita area, and then out to the Cucamonga area. 
We had the fringe area out into the Redlands, 
Beaumont, Yucalpa districts. 

Many of the Southern California wineries were 
large wineries. Take the Post & Klusman winery 
later became Garrett & Company and the Italian 
Vineyard Company, at one time, were the better known 
wineries in the state, merchandising their wines 
nationwide. The only one winery in Northern California 
that came close to this extent was the Italian Swiss 
Colony winery. Then the California Wine Association 
and those wineries involved with it became very 
strong the two big giants of the state were Guasti * 
(Italian Vineyard Company) and the California Wine 
Association. Mr. Guasti *s Italian Vineyard Company, 
with its 5000 acres of vineyard, was the largest 
vineyard in the world under one ownership. 

Teiser: Was there any difference in the type of wine they 
were producing? 

Biane: Yes. The Northern California wineries tended to 

produce dry wines exclusively, whereas the Southern 
California wineries produced dry wines and dessert 
wines, both. In the early days, as I remember it, 
there was no division between the North and the South 
or it wasn t talked about which area produced the 
best wines. It was just California wine. The 
distinction of area came into being quite a few years 
after Repeal. It was when the North Coast county 
wineries banded together and formed their association 
and had a public relations program that promoted the 
North Coast wineries. It was very effective and set 
them up as being something different from the balance 
of the state. At one time that distinction did not 

Teiser: About when did that come in, then? 

Biane: Well, I think that period must have come in as late 
as 19^6-7-8; right in there, in the 50 s was when 
that distinction came into being. When we were 
operating as Fruit Industries, there was a distinc 
tion, and we did have premiums on wines presented 
by various companies, but our Southern California 
wines in the dry wine category brought just as much 
on a relative value into the Fruit Industry pool as 
the wines from Northern California. Now what didn t 
bring quite that relative value was the wineries 
from the San Joaquin Valley. 

So there wasn t the distinction that the people 
have in their minds today. And I don t say that the 
distinction does not exist; it does exist because it 
was brought about by the University in establishing 
the various regions we have in the state, I, II, III, 
IV, and V. And the production of wines by region 
gives you a different category or constitution of 
wine. Regions I, II and III are the dry wine regions, 
and IV and V are considered the dessert wine regions. 
Now Southern California comes into Region IV, the 
same as Lodi, and V is the San Joaquin Valley. So 
that helped to establish a distinction between the 
areas and the wines that they may produce. Now we 
don t all agree with that. And Dr. [H.P.] Olmo of 
the University of California has been very busy in 
developing grapes that will make very good dry wines 
in all areas, in the Region V, Region IV, Region III, 
and so on. So these things will change as time goes 

Teiser: Some people believe that you can grow good dry wine 

grapes anywhere. 

Biane: By varying your locations and your conditions and 
your elevations. Well, we re now developing an 
area in Southern California that s even further 
south than the Cucamonga area, at Rancho California, 
Temecula, and we are in Region II and III there.* 

Teiser: I see. Because of the altitude? 

Biane: Well, because of the climatic conditions created by 
altitude, terrain, the proximity of the ocean, et 
cetera. As we progress, things change in the wine 

*See also pp. 56ff. 

Teiser: People try things that they thought weren t possible 
before, is that it? 

Blane: That s right. Well, we Just learn more about it all 
the time. And conditions necessity is the mother 
of invention, you know, and so you get pushed out of 
one place, you go to another. We re literally being 
pushed out of the Gucamonga area at the present 
time, so we are seeking out other places to raise 
grapes and put our winery because of urbanization. 

Teiser: How long were you with Pruit Industries? 
Biane: I was with Pruit Industries from 1930 to 1952. 
Teiser: Until just after Mr. Taylor left? 

Biane: Yes, Mr. Taylor left, and then I left shortly after, 
about a year later, or six months later. 

Teiser: Have you now discussed pretty much of what was 
important up to that time? 

Biane: Yes, pretty much up to that time. We ve gone through 
the people involved, with Mr. Morrow, Mr. Taylor, 
Mr. Bare, who were the forceful men of Fruit 
Industries, the people involved in wine production, 
viticulture and finances. However, I have not 
dwelled on the marketing phase, which I think should 
be brought in at this time. 

Mr. Paul Garrett of Garrett & Company had a 
sales organization. So you might say that the Pruit 
Industries sales force was inherited from Garrett & 
Company. Mr. Hugh Adams of Chicago was general sales 
manager, and Mr. Hall Adams of New York was eastern 
sales manager. They and their people, who were 
originally Garrett people, then became the sales 
force of Pruit Industries under the guidance of Mr. 
Hugh Adams of Chicago. All of the merchandising 
throughout the United States was done by them, and 
it was very successful. Incidently, Mr. Hugh Adams 
was one of the organizers and president of an 
organization that still exists today called Wine and 
Spirits Wholesalers of America, W.S.W.A. 

We had very strong representation in every 
monopoly state. A monopoly state is a state that 
sells wines and spirits direct to the public; the 


Biane: state acts as the wholesaler and retailer, thereby 
creating a revenue for the state. We operated 
in all 17 monopoly states. So Fruit Industries grew 
with the wine and liquor industry of the United 


Biane: One important factor I think should be mentioned, 
because we were in the production of concentrates 
and had same on hand. When we were sure that Repeal 
was going to be a reality we converted a million 
gallons of concentrate into brandy. With the event 
of Repeal, Fruit Industries had the largest brandy 
stocks in the United States. 

Teiser: Was Guasti an early brandy producer? 

Biane: Yes. Part of this brandy was made at Guasti. We 

made 4-00,000 gallons there, and the Community Grape 
Corporation in Lodi made 600,000 gallons, a total of 
1,000,000 gallons of brandy. Those brandies were 
sold at that time under the A.R. Morrow brand, 
Community Brandy, Victor Hugo, and various brands. 
Again, we had various brands of brandy, as we did 
our wines. But that was an important part of Fruit 
Industries, and it was really the start of the brandy 
business of California, which I feel is Just coming 
into its own now, with the efforts of many of the 
people now in the brandy business. 

Teiser: Was that a set-aside? 

Biane: Oh, you re talking about the grape prorate in 1938. 

Teiser: That went into brandy? 

Biane: Under the law, if you crushed 100 tons of grapes, if 
I remember the figures right, you had to produce 15 
per cent of it into alcohol (high-proof), 35 per cent 
into beverage brandy, and 50 per cent into wine. And 
it literally took one half of the grape crop off of 
the current market. You had to comply. If you 
couldn t do it, you had to haul the wine over to 
your neighbor s so he could do it for you. Or he 
made it, and you exchanged. It was the grape prorate, 


Biane: yes, and we had to all adhere to it. 
Telser: Did it produce any good brandy? 

Biane: Well, everybody had to produce brandy if they had a 
still, and those that produced good brandy, produced 
good brandy, and those that didn t, didn t. It was 
an unfortunate situation. However, the brandies 
could be tested and tasted and were classified and 
evaluated, and finally the good brandy disappeared 
first and the mediocre brandy remained. 

Fortunately for the brandy, the war came along, 
and people who were far-sighted bought up all the 
brandy certificates. A lot of the brandy was then 
re-distilled and cleaned up and made into good brandy. 
It was all sold during the war years. I m speaking of 
World War II that was the beginning really of the 
brandy industry of the state of California. It 
really didn t start to blossom until that time. And 
the reason it did was Just because there was a 
shortage of spirits made from grain, because it was 
against the law to make it from grain at that point. 
It all had to go for food. And actually the distillers 
were using their stills to make alcohol for the war 
effort rather than for beverages. But brandy could 
be made and sold, which was done at that time. 

Teiser: I see. Was that the beginning of the public taste 
for California brandy, do you think? 

Biane: Yes, that was the beginning of the public really 

taking to brandy, and brandy really being sold in a 
big way. 

Teiser; Christian Brothers went into it first in a big 
marketing program? 

Biane: Well, it was actually Seagram s that came in and 
bought up those certificates, and they owned the 
brandy. And then they made an association with 
Christian Brothers, and this brandy was then 
merchandised as Christian Brothers brandy. 

Teiser: It was quite good as I remember. 

Biane: It was very good. And that association still exists. 
And Promm & Sichel, who are the national distributors 
and handlers of Christian Brothers brandy, were also 


Biane: involved at that time. It was a very fine thing for 

the brandy industry and for the grape industry because 
of the utilization of the grapes of the state of 

Teiser: I see. Does that tie in then with this current trend 
in brandy production? 

Biane: Yes. Well, from that point on, the brandy has 

continued to become more and more popular an alcoholic 
beverage in the United States. And its rate of con 
sumption has increased every year, similar to the 
wine consumption. So all in all that brought the 
prorate year to a happy conclusion. Throughout my 
lifetime, with the exception of during the war years 
or during a frost year, grapes have been in surplus 
in the state of California. We were always dealing 
with a commodity that was in surplus. And it s a 
difficult thing to handle. It is no longer true today. 
Consumption has finally caught up with production. 

Teiser: If you make wine out of surplus grapes, then you have 
a high storage cost in relation to the value of the 

Biane: No, by there being a surplus of grapes, the demand 

is not there, and the cost then is of a lesser amount; 
therefore, your commodity becomes a cheaper commodity, 
and it gets down to the point where nobody makes 
money. The grower didn t make money, the handler 
didn t make money, the winemaker didn t make money; 
no one made any money out of the thing. 

So when you re dealing with a surplus commodity, 
or a commodity that is always in surplus, which the 
grapes have been in the state of California we ve 
grown them faster than we could utilize them in the 
raisin channel, the table channel, and the winery 
channel and so therefore, we ve had a difficult 
time in merchandising because it s always been that 
we had too much to sell. 

Teiser: But if you have a growing brandy market, it relieves.., 

Biane: It utilizes grapes. 

Teiser: Any number? 

Biane: Any number. Anything that utilizes grapes has a 




Biane : 


tendency to relieve this surplus, and once we get in 
balance, where the grapes are not in oversupply, 
but sufficient to supply the fresh table market, the 
raisin market, and the wine market, then we have a 
stable market. Today we do. So this has been the 
evolution of the grape industry in California because 
grapes grow so well in the state of California that 
many people plant them, and we actually had more than 
we could, use. But that s getting a long way from our 

No, it s certainly part of this whole picture, and 
you ve brought it up to date. 

Getting back to Southern California and some of the 
people there, we had several areas in Southern 
California which might be of interest. We had an 
area in Escondido. There were a number of small 
family wineries in Escondido, which raised very fine 
Carignane grapes, which were probably the best that 
there were in the state, made a delightful red wine. 
They also raised 

What period are you speaking of now? 

I m speaking now of pre-Prohibition, actually a little 
bit during Prohibition, and right after Prohibition. 
And we also raised a very fine Muscat grape in 
Escondido, very, very flavorful. Those were the two 
grapes it was best known for. Then we had naturally 
the Cucamonga, Guasti, and Etiwanda area in Southern 
California. A bit in Los Angeles, but not too much 
there. A little bit in San Diego, in the southeastern 
part of San Diego [County], but again not too much 
in there. However, as I mentioned before, the wine 
industry in Southern California has survived, but 
the pressures of urbanization have been very great 
on it. It has moved around in Southern California 
more than it has in any part of the state. When you 
think it started in Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San 
Fernando, and then finally ending up in the Cuoamonga- 
Guasti area, and now they re finding it difficult to 
stay in that particular area. 

Now, getting back to Brookside. 
when I left Fruit Industries 

In 1952 or 51, 

Teiser: I believe there were changes in Fruit Industries about 

*1952. See page 


Teiser: that time. Do you want to discuss them at all, or 
now, or later? 

Biane: We can discuss them now if you like. 


Biane: The change in Fruit Industries was brought about by 
a change in management, I would say, and because of 
age of people that started Fruit Industries, along 
with new ideas and new things coming into being that 
called for a change. The change involved management. 

Mr. Morrow had stepped aside and I had taken 
his place. Mr. Taylor was still the general manager. 
Mr. Hugh Adams, our sales manager, had passed away 
in Chicago, and in an interim period, I had also 
some of the duties of sales manager. Mr. Hall Adams 
in New York was getting along in age, and we had 
made a change there, put in a chap by the name of 
Mr. William (Bill) Martin in the New York operation. 
And then the board of directors of Fruit Industries 
thought that perhaps because of these changes taking 
place that there should be further changes, and some 
of the people in management didn t agree. Mr. Taylor 
at that point resigned. 

Teiser: Someone told me that Mr. Taylor at that time had 
drawn up a recommendation, which was not accepted, 
and that it was then that he resigned. But that, 
since, it has been proved that his plan or whatever 
it was, was valid. Is there any... 

Biane: Well, yes, that is right more or less. I think 
probably one of the bones of contention may have 
been myself. Mr. Taylor, I believe, had recommended 
me for the general manager of Fruit Industries, and 
that was not acceptable to the board. The board 
wanted me to stay as production manager, which I did. 
In other words, I stayed on after the change, and at 
that particular time, Mario Perelli-Minetti became 
the general manager of Fruit Industries, and the 
company continued to operate with making changes in 
the sales department and others as the new board 
policies dictated. Now, the plan that Mr. Taylor 
presented that you mentioned as not acceptable, it s 


Biane : 



hindsight on our part to say that it would have been 
successful if it had gone through, or wouldn t be. 
It s not for me to say. Some of us say, well, if 
this is going to be the case, or if things are going 
to change in the company, then perhaps we should not 
be associated with it any longer, which was my problem. 
At that time I felt if I was ever going to do anything 
with our portion of the family business, that I had 
to do it then, or it would be lost. I then decided 
to return to Guasti and to proceed with our winery 
again under our own management and our own brands and 
our own identification rather than be associated with 
an association such as Fruit Industries or California 
Wine Association. That s what took place. 

Many of the other member wineries have since 
elected to leave the ranks of Fruit Industries. It 
became an economic problem where you could receive 
the most for your grapes. So with the change in 
personnel, over a period of years you get a different 
viewpoint and a different evaluation in desired 
accomplishments. Fruit Industries, because of various 
wineries no longer being members, has become smaller 
but has still maintained the brands and the operation 
as the California Wine Association. 

The label matter that you mentioned: 
then go to fewer labels? 

Did they not 

Yes. At that particular time the California Wine 
Association embarked on the label called Eleven 
Cellars. That was versus a label I was promoting at 
that time as a national label called Ambassador and 
Ambassador Reserve. And I don t think our Ambassador 
would have been any more successful than Eleven 
Cellars, I don t know. But the Eleven Cellars has 
been their main label and has carried on for many 
years. However, it s never become a strong label in 
the market. And California Wine Association, even 
though they knew the problems that existed, have 
still continued to use various labels in various 

Teiser: That must take away a great advertising capacity. 

Biane: It does. We have seen what Mr. Gallo was able to do 
by one name, and... But you ve seen a little bit 
of that as well In United Vintners, with the Petrl 
family and with the conglomerate that they put together 


Biane: with many wineries involving many labels. And of 

course where that is going to go with the new owners 
of that* and with the new managers and operators 
will remain to be seen. 

*Heublein, Inc. 


(Interview #2 - August 19, 1969, at the Brookside 

Winery, Old Guasti. Morning. ) 


Teiser: Shall I ask some of the things that I thought of 
while we were going through the winery just now? 

Biane: Yes. 

Teiser: Well, for a general description of the building 

Biane: Well, this building was built in 190^ by Mr. Guasti. 
Teiser: That s Secondo Guasti, Sr. , is it? 

Biane: Yes. That s Secondo Guasti, Sr. And it s built of 
granite stone. This stone was all brought down to 
the valley from the mountains, a distance of some 
twelve to fourteen miles. The building is 600 feet 
long. The walls are three foot thick at the base 
and are 23 foot high. What we call Cellar #1 has no 
post in it, and the building being 100 foot wide 
gives you a very good span. The trusses at 23 foot 
height allowed the building of large tanks within the 
cellar without being bothered by the post. Cellar #2, 
also 200 by 100 feet, Joining Cellar #1, does have 
posts. However, it s used for a different purpose, 
with smaller tanks in this particular building. And 
then Cellar #3, which is again 100 by 200, has a 
basement under the whole 200 feet underneath, as 
well as having the upper building. So this makes a 
total of three buildings, numbered Cellar #1, 
Cellar #2, and Cellar #3, and Cellar #4 for the under 
neath portion or the cellar portion. 

Teiser: Do you mind if Miss Harroun shoots a few pictures 
while we speak? 


Biane: No, no. 

This [Cellar #2 building] is one of the larger 
buildings of this type of structure. All of this 
stone was hauled down by teams of mules from the 
mountains, and then it was put together here, not 
necessarily with the type of mortar we re using 
today, but it was mortar consisting of mostly lime 
and sand and very little cement, because the cement 
at that time had to be brought into California from 
Germany as there was no production of cement in 
California at that time. 

Teiser: Have you ever had to do anything to it? 

Biane: No, the walls and everything have withstood all of 

our earthquakes and everything here that we have had 
during the years. After all, it was built in 190^; 
these buildings are now 65 years old. So they re 
unique buildings. 

Teiser: And beautiful. You described how they used to bring 
the barrels up from the basement tihen you first... 

Biane: Oh yes. The basement that I was referring to under 
neath Cellar #3 used to store a lot of barrels of 
wine, and in the old days they used big barrels 
holding 160 to 180 gallons of wine. There were steps 
going down into the basement, and it also formed a 
ramp. And ropes used to be attached to the top of 
the ramp, brought all the way down, go around the 
barrel, and brought back up again and attached to a 
team of mules. And then the mules would walk out, 
and as the rope came up it brought the barrel up to 
the top of the ramp out of the cellar with the use 
of a team. 

Teiser: About what year are you speaking of? 

3iane: Well, this went on from the start of the winery, 
which should have been right around 1905 and *6, 
and must have carried on until some time in 1916 or 
17, when a small elevator was put in. It was a very 
small elevator. And then in 1937 or 38 we put in a 
larger elevator, an electrical elevator that s in 
use now. 

Teiser: Is this the winery where you worked, as a young man? 


Biane: That s right. At that time this winery was being 

operated by Fruit Industries. The Italian Vineyard 
Company was a member of Fruit Industries. My father 
at that particular time was the winemaker and the 
superintendent in charge of the Guasti operation for 
Fruit Industries. 

Teiser: Which was owned by Fruit Industries as a whole? 

Biane: Yes, as a cooperative. I went to work here in 

April 1932. I was in France at the time, working 
in a champagne house in southern France in a little 
town by the name of Auch.* Fruit Industries was being 
formed then, and so they were looking for somebody 
with a knowledge of champagne to work over and prepare 
for market the champagne that had been laying in these 
cellars since Prohibition was enacted. Both the 
California Wine Association and the Italian Vineyard 
Company had several hundred thousand bottles in this 
position. All of that champagne was shipped here to 
Guasti and my brother and I went through it and we 
did a lot of reconditioning; we did a lot of emptying 
the bottles, refermenting the champagne and redoing 
it completely again and recaptured all of that 
champagne for these two companies. And some of the 
brands are still in existence today. 

The California Wine Association still has the 
Asti Rouge champagne, which was the sparkling 
burgundy label, and the Golden State champagne, 
which was the white champagne. Those labels are 
still in existence today. 

Teiser: I was interviewing Mr. Block** briefly the other day, 
and he was mentioning the Golden State champagne. I 
think he had handled it. 

Biane: Yes. He came down here to visit me after he left 
you, and he told me that he was visiting with you. 

*See also p. 

**Sydney J. Block, New Orleans distributor of California 


Teiser: You were explaining to us Just now the cooperage that 
you have here from early to late. 

Biane: The cooperage that you ll find in wineries throughout 
the world is more or less adapted to the local area. 
In California when the wineries were first started 
here, people that were in the wine business had come 
from Prance or Italy or Spain, and there they used 
oak cooperage. And they had shipped over to California 
either the oak wood or the barrels themselves to be 
used in the wineries. 

Then, later on, it was found that the redwood 
tree of California did not impart a disagreeable 
taste to the wine. Therefore the California redwood 
could be used in making a container, which was a tank. 
And due to the size of the redwood and the straight 
timber that it produced, large tanks were then made, 
and they were really the first large tanks used in 
the wine business in the world, because of finding 
the California redwood would not Impart taste. We 
had tanks made of redwood here in the California wine 
industry holding a hundred thousand gallons of wine. 
Now that s a very large tank of wine, a hundred 
thousand gallons, though it is not uncommon to find 
throughout the wine industry tanks holding from ten 
thousand to forty and fifty thousand gallons of wine. 

Now we have, at this winery here, the oak tanks 
that were brought from Europe, oak tanks that were 
made in this country from oak grown in Tennessee and 
Kentucky and shipped to San Francisco and made into 
barrels and casks, which are large oak tanks, however 
in the shape of a barrel. And most of these were 
made by Windeler* of San Francisco. You ll find 
those tanks in this winery here, and you ll find the 
redwood tanks, and you ll also find the stainless 
steel tanks. 

Now the stainless steel is being used extensively 
in the wineries of California and other countries 
of the world because the production and the manufacture 

*The George Windeler Company. 



Biane: of stainless steel is now done in a more reasonable 
fashion, so that we can afford to use stainless 
steel in the winery. Some wineries of the state 
are usin^ them as storage tanks. Many of the 
wineries, such as ourselves, are using them for 
working tanks. 

You mentioned something about the welding? 

Yes. The new type of welding developed, I suppose 
for the space age, which is called Heli-Arc welding, 
which is a combination of electricity and gas. The 
new tanks are what we call butt weld, where the metal 
is Joined metal to metal with no lapping of the metal. 
And this creates a nice smooth surface, no danger of 
bacterial contamination by the wine getting in between 
the metal. And they have proven very satisfactory 
and are being used now extensively. 

Teiser: I notice you have many filters of various ages. Has 

there not been some improvement in the whole filtering 

Biane: Yes. The filtering of wine has always been something 
that is the winemaker s dream. Before the advent of 
electricity or the advent of wine pumps, which doesn t 
go back too far, you did not have a means of conveying 
wine through a filter other than by gravity. And 
the original filters that I remember were all gravity 
filters, where you elevated your wine and then you 
passed it through a mass, generally it was a washed 
fibers pulp. This did a fair job of filtering. 

Teiser: What kind of pulp was it? 

Biane: Well, this was a cellulose pulp, made from a mixture 
of wood, cotton and wool. We used to wash the pulp 
and then press it and then put it back in the filter 
again. It did not do a good Job of filtering. And 
it s because of this that the people of Europe 
accepted wine with a sediment in it, because they 
were never able to filter the wine to such an extent 
to eliminate all of the solids that might eventually 
precipitate in the bottle. 

Prom gravity flow there we went to pumps in 
the winery that would pressurize the wine against a 
filter pack. At that time there was developed 
filter papers and filter pads. We learned to use 


Biane: different filter mediums. The one that is the most 

prevalently used in the winery is diatomaceous earth, 
which was actually discovered and utilized by the 
oil companies, prior to its use in the winery, for 
the filtering of oil. And today diatomaceous earth 
is still used in the winery for rough filtration. 

Then the filter presses came into being, and 
they are used with a prepared pad. made of paper and 
asbestos. And then this is put together quite 
tightly, and you -can get various viscosities of 
these pads for a tightness of filtering, to where 
you can today actually filter wine free of bacteria 
Just by filtering same. 

Teiser: Then this ties in with changes in pasteurization? 

Biane: Not necessarily. The elimination of pasteurization 
in the wineries has developed by sanitation, more so 
than anything else. 

Teiser: When you first knew winemaking, was pasteurization 

Biane: Pasteurization was an accepted method at that time 
of effecting keeping qualities in the wine by 
destroying any bacteria that might be in the wine 
by pasteurization. Now the ill effect created in 
the wine at that particular point was the application 
of heat that caused the wine to oxidize much more 
rapidly than it should and give it a slight off 
taste that was not normally found in wines that were 
not pasteurized. 

As sanitation methods kept getting better and 
better in the winery, and the knowledge spread 
throughout all the winemakers of California on how 
to handle wine and how to prepare and keep their 
wines (the efforts of the University of California 
helped a great deal ) , it s very rarely that we have 
a wine that might be contaminated with a bacteria 
that is not desirable. And if It were to happen, 
then the answer is pasteurization. But wineries 
go I know many wineries including ourselves we 
might go four or five, six years and never have to 
pasteurize a wine, because there s no necessity of 
it. So today pasteurization in a winery is not 
something that is used commonly. It s something that 
might rarely be used. 


Teiser: Mr. Edmund Rossi spoke of the use of sulfur compounds. 
I suppose by the time you came into the industry they 
were established. 

Biane: Well, the use of sulfur in wine was developed by the 
French and the Germans. And it was one of the first 
things chemically used in the wine to give the wine 
keeping qualities. It was a simple thing that it did. 
It displaced the oxygen in between the molecules of 
the wine with sulfur dioxide, which eliminated the 
oxygen at that point; the bacterial or yeast growth 
was impossible because of the lack of oxygen. Now, 
the French found the use of a sulfur compound that 
was mined from the soil, and you were able to melt 
same, turning it to a liquid, and put it on strips of 
cloth and burn it within a tank or in a barrel and 
fill the barrel with sulfur gas, then introduce your 
wine which absorbed the sulfur gas. 

We found that with the normal use of this, it 
was not injurious to health. But with the abnormal 
use that developed, in France and Germany, where they 
got up to it-50 parts per million of sulfur in the wine, 
and where it was the nature of the people to consume 
large quantities of wine, there developed an effect 
on the kidneys of the men that were drinking large 
quantities each day. They found it necessary to pass 
laws in France and the United States establishing 
the amount of sulfur that you could have in the wine. 
And at the present time the laws in the United States 
are, I believe, at 300 parts per million.* 

Teiser: Have other techniques lessened the necessity for 
sulfur then at the same time? 

Biane: Yes. Now we have found other methods and products 
that are less offensive than the sulfur to maybe 
some people s palates; it is no longer necessary to 
use the amounts of sulfur that we used to use. But 
when it was the only thing we had back in the early 
thirties, it was used a great deal. 

It s still used, today for certain controls, but 
not nearly in the quantity that it used to be. The 
wines of today do not carry large amounts of sulfur. 
It used to be one of the reasons one uncorked wine 
and left it stand to breathe for several hours before 
using it, so that the sulfur dioxide gas could escape 
from the wine thereby not being offensive when 



Teiser: Is that why wine is allowed to breathe! 

Biane: You see, sulfur is in the wine in actually two forms. 
It s in a combined form, which means that it is 
combined with all of the other elements of the wine 
and it is part of the wine. And then it s also in 
a free form that hasn t combined, and it s laying in 
between the molecules composing the wine. When you 
taste a wine or smell a wine and you smell sulfur, 
you smell the free sulfur. Now if you allow it to 
be exposed to the air, the free sulfur will escape, 
and the wine will then not be so offensive to smell 
or taste, because you don t smell or taste sulfur 
that has combined. 

Teiser: I think I asked you to diverge when you were 

speaking of the tanks. The concrete tanks you told 
us when we were in the winery what you used the 
concrete tanks for. 

Biane: Yes. The concrete tanks were developed originally 
in North Africa, because there they had no wood. 
They developed very large vineyards and wineries in 
North Africa. They knew how to form and make concrete 
very strong, and so they developed concrete tanks 
generally in sizes of 30 to 75 thousand gallons 
capacity. They were generally built as a square tank 
because of the ease of forming, and these were good 
containers for the holding of the wine. Generally 
the tartaric acid would precipitate out of the wine 
and would adhere to the sides of the tank and coat 
the tank, so that actually the wine did not come in 
contact with the cement after it was in use for 
several years. 

Other countries developed a different method. 
Australia, for instance, after the tank was built 
and allowed to stand for a year, thoroughly dried 
out, they would go in and heat the concrete with a 
torch and paint paraffin on it. Because the heating 
of the concrete expanded the pores to a certain 
extent, letting them open up a blip, then the paraffin 
penetrated the concrete. Then you had a concrete 
tank with a paraffin lining on it, which made a 
very fine tank. And in Australia today, they still 
keep their concrete tanks paraffined. 

Teiser: Doesn t that require continual maintenance? 


Biane: Yes, it does. And if you visit wineries in Australia, 
you ll find a crew in every winery that is doing 
paraffin work on the tanks. At least I did when I 
was there. 

Teiser: Haven t we developed other, more permanent linings 
for concrete tanks? 

Biane: The concrete tanks are no longer being built and. used 
in California, because they were replaced by steel 
tanks. Prom concrete we went to steel, and this was 
for the very large wineries that wanted very large 
containers. And at the same time there were resins 
and paints and various products that were discovered 
that were used as a protection to the metal. These 
steel tanks were built in our large wineries in 
California, tanks of 300 to 600 gallon capacities. 
They are still being used today for those people who 
make very large, large quantities of wine. 

With the new system and the new method of 
handling stainless steel which I spoke of a while 
ago, we have stainless steel tanks in use in 
California with capacities up to 200,000 gallons. 
So that the stainless steel is what now has taken 
the place of concrete and many of your wood tanks 
in many of the wineries. Some people feel that 
eventually stainless steel could take the place and 
be the only cooperage that you would have in the 
winery. We personally at this time don t feel that 

Teiser: You like the wood? 

Biane: We feel that the wood is necessary for the certain 
aging qualities imparted to the wine by the wine 
being able to breathe through the pores of the wood. 


Teiser: We were looking at pictures of your harvesting of 
grapes in the thirties. A certain degree of 
mechanization had come in by then. 

Biane: Yes. Like anything else in any industry, you have 
your evolutions of procedure on how you do certain 
things, and the picking of grapes is no different 
than anything else. Grapes were normally picked by 
hand, put in a basket, and then pressed. In Europe 
the vines are grown similarly to the way they are 
grown here in California, and the harvesting system 
was to pick in baskets. In California we started 
picking in baskets, but because of not having 
sufficient weavers around here, I assume, and with 
the inexpensive wood we had, we made boxes, and we 
picked in boxes. The picker would pick by hand, 
carry his box to a designated row, and a team of 
mules or horses would come by and pick up the boxes 
and take box and all to the winery and dump the box 
into a hopper where the grapes would be crushed 
through a crusher. 

Then, where we developed large vineyards such 
as the Italian Vineyard Company here at Guasti, 
which at that time was the largest single vineyard 
in the world, some 5000 acres, they developed a 
small track and a small engine and gondola cars to 
go out into the field and pick up the grapes that 
would be dumped into the small cars from the boxes 
along the roadway. And then this whole train of 
cars would come in to the crusher, and these 
gondolas would be dumped over and the grapes pushed 
into a chain conveyer that would convey the grapes 
to the crusher. I remember when the chain conveyer 
here was powered with a steam engine rather than an 
electric motor. 

And then after that phase of picking we still 
were picking by hand, still bringing them to the road 
with boxes we did develop, or the automobile 
companies developed, a four-wheel drive vehicle, 
which we were then able to use in our sandy soils 
here. And we would then put the grapes from the box 
into a four-wheel drive truck that had a dump body 
on it. These trucks would then come in with a six- 
or seven-ton load, would back up to the hopper of the 

Biane: crusher and dump their full load. 

Other methods were used in some of the wineries 
up north where they have the large trucks come to 
the roadside. They would dump the boxes into the 
large trucks with the means of a small conveyer, and 
then the big truck with 20 tons of grapes would go 
to the winery. Here we never did that because we 
were closer to the winery with our grapes at all 
times. Now we re still picking grapes by hand; we re 
still putting them in boxes. But the boxes have 
changed now from wood to a plastic box, which is 
lighter and cleaner, and you re able to wash and not 
create added weight. It s a solid plastic container, 
which you re able to wash two and three times a day 
and keep the box very clean. Your fruit is always 
clean. No sand or dirt. The fruit is loaded into 
the trucks and brought to the winery. 

The new development of picking grapes is a 
mechanical harvester, which is still in its experi 
mental form, but we all feel that five years from 
now 80 per cent of the grapes will be picked 
mechanically. Maybe even shorter than five years. 

Teiser: Will that affect in any way the quality of the end 

Biane: I feel that the picking of grapes and the handling 
of grapes in certain countries throughout the world 
do have a definite bearing on the flavor of the wine. 
Here in the United States I would say no. Our 
conditions are so sanitary, and we handle the fruit 
so fast from the vine to the winery that we rarely 
have a change in taste or quality due to problems 
incurred in the harvesting of the fruit. 

Teiser: And the presumably rougher handling of mechanized 
equipment compared to hand picking? 

Biane: Well, the handling by mechanization is going to be 
a bit of a problem, but I think it will be handled, 
because when you think of them handling tomatoes and 
peas and all the various fruits, melons, that are 
much more fragile actually than grapes are, I think 
that the engineers will overcome any of the problems 
that might be incurred there. 

Teiser: While we re on the subject of changes, are there any 
other similar ones that have come into the wine 

Biane: Yes. Of course some of the biggest changes have 

come into the packaging of wines, the machinery and 
the equipment for the bottling of wines. And that 
is being developed on a world-wide basis, not just 
California. And this machinery is improving all the 
time. Again, with the complete use of stainless 
steel and almost perfect sanitation devices through 
out the equipment. This has been a big aid to 
getting a good bottle of wine on the shelf for the 

Teiser: It has come in with the trend toward not selling 
wine in bulk but establishing labels and... 

Biane: That s right. And selling in packages. Well, most 
all places throughout the world wine is sold to the 
consumer now in glass. There s still some of it sold 
in barrels, where the man takes the barrel home and 
transfers it to glass himself, but it ends up in 
glass as a rule. These improvements in the winery 
have been very good, and of course the use of 
electricity and the use of stainless steel as a 
metal in the winery it s practically impervious to 
the wine, and the wine does not pick up anything 
from stainless steel, where it did from copper and 
it did from brass. It dissolved the brass, the 
copper, and the iron, and then when that wine was 
aereated you had a chemical change and the iron 
would form ferric oxide and it would come down in a 
deposit as a solid, and you had a cloudy bottle of 
wine. The same thing happened with copper, and the 
same thing happened with brass. 

And so we went through the metal period until 
we moved to stainless steel, and now that we ve been 
with stainless steel for many years, it looks like 
it s going to be successful and that will be the 
type of metal that we use for wine. Now today our 
filters are made of stainless; our pumps are all 
stainless steel; our fittings on the tanks for the 
hose fittings and the attachments to the tanks, 
everything today in the winery is stainless steel. 

Teiser: What about the hoses themselves? 

Biane: The hoses themselves are still the rubber hose, made 
for wine however. These were developed many, many 
years ago by firms like Goodyear Rubber and various 
ones that made a very fine wine hose, and they re 
known to the trade as wine hose. These hoses last 
for years and years in the winery. I have hoses 
around here that must be 35 years old and are still 
in use. The only thing we ve had to do is change 
the connectors and put on stainless steel where we 
used to have bronze before. 







May I go back to ask you to pick up something else? 
When we were talking before, I think I asked you 
where you were born. I neglected to ask you the exact 
date of your birth. 

I was born in Redlands, California, at the winery at 
Brookside on March 18, 1909. 

And another date that I don t have is your father 
lived, did he, until fairly recently? 

Yes. I believe Dad passed away in 19&5 either 64- 
or 65,* that recently. He lived a long life. 

Yes. And your brother Frank? 

My brother Prank was four years older than I, 
he died of a heart attack about 1959-** 


Then, to come to the younger members of your family 
who are in the winery with you who are they? 

I have my two sons with me Michael Biane, who is 
the sales manager of Brookside Vineyard Company, and 
then I have my brother s son with me, my nephevr Rene 
Biane, who is the production manager for our organiza 
tion, and then my second son, Pierre Biane, is the 
vineyardist and property manager of our organization. 

^October 30, 196*4- 
**0ctober 21, 1958 

Brookside Vineyard Company s Biane family was among Che California First Families honored at a California 
Bicentennial Governor s Ball in Los Angeles, October 1969. At the affair, a Brookside exhibit emphasized the 
Importance of wine In the state s 200 year history. Shown enjoying the evening are (from left) nephew Rene 
Biane and wife Barbara, family head Phllo Biane and wife Jean, son Pierre Biane and wife Carolyn; and son 
Michael and wife Lisa. Brookside Is the nation s largest dtrect-to-the-consumer winery operation, with 16 
retail sales cellars and tasting rooms in southern California and 12 in Northern California, the latter 
operating as Mills Winery. 

Biane: So actually I have three-two of my sons and my 
nephew with me in the business. 

Teiser: I suppose the fact that you could see them coming up 
may have influenced you in coming back into it 

Biane: Yes. The nature of our family has been to stay in 
the wine business. We have in California for all 
these years. And so now the boys are in the business, 
and I assume that some of their offspring will 
continue with the business. 

Teiser: You have some grandchildren? 

Biane: Yes. I have eight grandchildren at the present time, 
of which three are boys. Rene, my nephew, has two 
boys and a girl. So there ll be quite a few Bianes 
around to carry on. 

Teiser: I read somewhere that your wife had come from an 
early California family. 

Biane: No. During my work for Fruit Industries, I worked 

in Chicago in setting up a plant when we were making 
wine in the people* s homes during Prohibition. I met 
my wife in Chicago, and my wife was born and raised 
in Chicago. 

Teiser: You mentioned earlier when we were not taping, that 
just after Repeal the people from the University and 
others came around to the winery to visit and to see 
what was going on, and that you remembered them 
Dr. William V. Cruess and so forth. 

Biane: Yes. Dr. Cruess used to visit here and Professor 
[A.J.] Winkler. And at that time Dr. [Maynard A.] 
Amerine was a very young man with the University. 
He used to come down. Harold Berg and Mr. [Maynard] 
Joslyn also used to visit with Dad. 

At that time our family had knowledge of the wine 
business that wasn t necessarily found in many of 
the other wineries, because both my brother and I 
studied in Prance, had worked in French wineries, 
and my father had continued to make wine and he had 
continued his studies of French literature and French 
books on viticulture and enology. We at that 
particular time were probably as well versed in the 

Biane: art of making wine as any winery in the state. Due 
to the fact that the University had not had the wine 
subject for years because of Prohibition, naturally 
they sought out people to converse with, and discuss 
various problems, that did have some knowledge and 
experience in the making of wines; that is why they 
used to visit with us. 

Teiser: You must have been generous with your knowledge and 

Biane: It s always been our policy to be that way. It was 
Dad s policy, and my brother and I continued along 
the same lines. And because of that policy we have 
trained many people that are in the wine business 
today that first obtained their knowledge at Guasti. 

Teiser: I think in the earlier interview you mentioned James 
A. Barlotti. Since you knew him, perhaps you could 
tell what sort of man he was. 

Biane: Mr. Barlotti vras secretary-treasurer of the Italian 
Vineyard Company when I first knew him. He was in 
the employ of the Guastis. After Mr. Guasti passed 
away, Mr. Barlotti became president of the Italian 
Vineyard Company. He was a well-educated gentleman 
from Italy; he spoke very good English, was very well 
read, and in my opinion did a very fine Job of managing 
and steering the Italian Vineyard Company during his 
time. At that time the Italian Vineyard Company were 
members of Fruit Industries, which I was employed by 
at that time, however working at the Italian Vineyard 
Company unit, which was Guasti. However it was being 
run by Fruit Industries. Now Mr. Barlotti, I don t 
know too much about him other than what I have stated, 
that he was a fine gentleman. He has now passed on. 
But from my standpoint in Southern California Mr. 
Barlotti was one of the pioneers of the industry here 
and did a fine Job. 

Teiser: Had he learned to make wine in Italy? 

Biane: No. He was not a winemaker. He was Involved with 
the financial end and over-all management. He was 
not versed in wine making. 

Teiser: Another thing you mentioned that you had brought 
the Charmat process to this country for making 
chamnagne . 




Siane: Yes. It was through the efforts of the Italian 
Vineyard Company and Fruit Industries that the 
original purchase of the Gharraat equipment was 
brought into this country. However, for some reason not 
known to myself, this equipment was diverted or not 
accepted by the company and was put in at the Vai 
brothers winery.* 

I was going to ask you the reason. 

I don t know the reason. This equipment was set up 
there, and that was the first Charmat equipment 
producing champagne in bulk in the United States. 
I had gone to Europe and met with Mr. Charmat in 
Paris and actually placed the order for this equipment. 
But I never did know the reason why it was diverted. 
They didn t go into it. We finally did, many years 
later purchase and have the Charmat process at this 
winery. However, the equipment at that time was 
built here in the United States and not in Prance. 

Teiser: Did you go to the Vai brothers winery with it and 
advise them on the use of it? 

Biane: No, I did not. They sent a man from France to 

install it and to set it ur> and to teach the people 
there how to work It. I don t recall his name. 
Yes I do Monsieur [George] D Arcy. Then Mr. D Arcy 
later went from Vai Brothers to the Roma Wine Company 
under Mr. [J.B.] Cella and established the bulk 
champagne process there. 

Teiser: They sent him from France and he stayed? 
Biane: Yes. 

Teiser: In another clipping I read that you yourself had also 
studied wine making in North Africa. 


Biane: Yes. I went to North Africa primarily for the 

observing of wine production in hot climates. Dad, 
knowing that we had a similar problem here in 
southern California, sent me to Algiers, where I 
spent some number of months observing the care and 
the maintenance of concrete tanks and the storage 
of dry wines in those large tanks as well as the 

*Now the Cucamonga Vineyard Company. See also p. 15 

Biane: methods of r>roductlon of dry wines when the fruit 

was warm, and what they had to do in order to carry 
on the fermentation without deterioration to the 
wine. Those procedures were then adapted here in 

Teiser: Had anyone gone there to apply from California to 
observe them before you? 

Biane: No. Because when I went it was still Prohibition 

here. But Dad had a feeling that Prohibition could 
never continue here and wanted to educate both my 
brother and I in the art of wine making. We went to 
Prance to study. 

Teiser: He was certainly farsighted. 

Biane: Yes he was, now that we look back on it. 

[August 19 t 1969, afternoon] 

Teiser: You were speaking about Mr. Post and Mr. Klusman. 
Would you repeat it? 

Biane: Yes. In the early days of Cucamonga, there were 
several men who came in from the gold fields of 
Alaska with considerable money and established 
vineyards and in some instances wineries here in the 
Cucamonga Valley. One of these gentlemen went by 
the name of Mr. [Morton] Post, and he associated 
himself with a Mr. John [H.] Klusman, who was a 
German immigrant coming to the Cucamonga Valley many 
years ago. 

They established the vineyards of Post & Klusman, 
which comprised some eleven hundred acres, and built 
a very beautiful winery on the corner of Foothill and 
Haven Avenue. The remains of that winery are still 
there today. Mr. Post and Mr. Klusman sold the 
winery and the vineyard to Garrett & Company in about 
1918 or 1919.* The vineyard and the winery stayed 
in the hands of Garrett & Company until the last four 
or five years, at which time it was sold to speculators, 
and the vineyards are being let go and the winery has 

*See also pp. 2-3. 

Blane: deteriorated to a point where it can no longer be 
used as a winery. 

Teiser: That s a little the story of some other holdings in 
this area. 

Biane: That s right. The Klusman family was an interesting 
family. There were three brothers, John, George, 
and Henry. And Henry was an expert in cement, and. 
the winery at Foothill Boulevard and Haven Avenue 
was built completely of cement, with beautiful arches 
and towers. This was before major reinforcing of 
concrete with steel. It was a beautiful structure; 
it s just too bad that it s not being preserved. 





When we were speaking before, you mentioned Mr. A.R. 
Morrow and his staff developing a system of class 
ification for wines. Was that ever written up? 

I wouldn t know. I believe that it would be still 
retained by the California Wine Association, and if 
you have an opportunity to talk to Mr. Mario Perelli- 
Mlnetti he would be able to get it for you, because 
I think he ll have the exact procedures outlined by 
the company. 

It s not similar to anyone else s, I presume? 

Well, at that time I believe it had some similarity 
to the way the California Wine Association classified 
wines going back to 1910, 1912, and in through there. 
But it was not used afterwards in that fashion as 
far as I know. It was a complete classification by 
tasting by a panel grading the wines A, B, C, D, and 
with an A+ or an A-, and the grading was involved on 
a dollar relative value. We used a 1-2-Jj- system: 
25 cents for dry wine, 50 cents for dessert wine, 
and $1.00 for brandy, which is the 1-2-4-, and it is 
the valuation of the wine related to a ton of grapes 
in production. And then the wine was classified in 
that fashion, evaluated by this panel. Then this 
relative value was placed on it and the total dollars 
arrived at on the contribution of a winery. That 
was then relative to a percentage of the whole. And 

Biane: that s the way they kept track of the pools in the 
cooperative operation. 

Teiser: That was complex. 

Biane: Yes, it was a complex program, but it was a very 
just one, because the committee was made up of 
knowledgeable members of the Association along with 
Mr. Morrow and Mr. Cherski, so that you had to agree 
with the majority. It was like almost a fair judging 
at that time, where you judged and evaluated the wine 
and determined the percentage of a pool that you 
were going to participate in henceforth until sold 


Teiser: Back to the Brookside Winery: when you returned, here 
after serving with the California Wine Association 
you returned in. . . ? 

Biane: 1952. 

Teiser: Your father was still head of the winery? 

Biane: No. Dad at that time was involved with the Cucamonga 
Growers Winery, which was a cooperative, and in turn 
was a member of Fruit Industries. Dad was president 
of that association. When I came down I built the 
winery by my home and felt out the market as to what 
I could do from a standpoint of merchandising the 
grapes that we were growing in the Cucamonga Valley. 

Teiser: Did you have acreage of your own at that time? 

Biane: Yes. We had the acreage of our own, which was part 
of our contribution to the winery. My brother was 
the winemaker and superintendent in charge of the 
Cucamonga Growers Winery, and my dad was president 
of the winery. Our family were the main contributors 
of grapes to the winery. 

Teiser: That is, your family vineyard holdings? 

Biane: That s right. The family vineyard holdings. Then 
when I felt the market out and determined that I 

Biane: could carry on, I approached the California Wine 
Association and we obtained from them the Guasti 
altar wine label, which was the altar wine label 
used throughout the United States. We had been 
making the altar wine for the California Wine 
Association, and the approbation from the bishop 
was given to my brother and myself and not to the 
California Wine Association. So they agreed to sell 
us the label, which we bought; that then put us into 
the altar wine business. 

A year or so later the other growers in the 
Cucamonga Growers Association decided that they 
would rather merchandise their grapes along with us 
rather than the California Wine Association, so they 
ceased being members of the California Wine Associa 
tion. That s when Brookside Winery was formed as a 
cooperative. And Brookside Winery has been running 
up to this point as a cooperative, even though the 
Biane family has been operating it. 

Telser: And still is? 

Biane: It still is. Now, as a cooperative it Just means 
this: that there are neighbors of ours that enter 
their fruit into the winery as a pool for a given 
year and are compensated, for their fruit upon the 
activities of this organization. I mean that s what 
it amounts to. And this has been going on now for 
18 years in that fashion. We, the Biane family, are 
still the main contributors. The brands are ours; 
the name is ours; the winery is ours. It s Just a 
means of taking some of our member growers, our 
neighbors, and forming an association with them in 
merchandising the fruit of this valley. 

Teiser: This gives stability to both the winery and the 
grower, doesn t it? 

Biane: That s right. It makes a home for his grapes at all 

Teiser: Does it stabilize prices? 

Biane: Not necessarily, because it s not a large enough 

volume to stabilize the prices at the grower level. 
No, it has not had that effect in this valley, 
because there s only been one cooperative in this 
valley, and that s ours. 


Teiser: This brings ut> the whole subject of cooperatives. 
There are some advantages? Tax advantages? 

3iane: There have been two advantages in the cooperative 
movement from the winery standpoint. And one of 
them has been a slight tax advantage, but it is 
very, very nil, because the grower does pay his 
taxes upon his returns just as anyone else does. 
There is no corporate tax at the corporate level, 
because even though it is a corporation it operates 
with tax exemption. Another thing is that it makes 
available to a cooperative the banking organization 
known as the Berkeley Bank for Cooperatives. This 
banking organization is, in turn, a cooperative 
bank owned by the borrowers, however operated under 
the rules and regulations as set down by the United 

Originally, the main money in this bank came 
from the United States through the Commodity Credit 
Corporation. And so the rules were all set up. 
There were three phases of federal banking inaugurated 
by the Hoover administration but actually put into 
operation by Roosevelt, and that was the Commodity 
Credit Corporation, which in turn established three 
separate divisions. One was Production Credit 
Association, which loaned the farmer money to bring 
in his crop. The other was the Federal Land Bank, 
which loaned the farmer money on his land on a long 
term. And the other was the Berkeley Bank of 
Cooperatives. After the Federal Land Bank stepped 
in and Production Credit stepped in, then the Berkeley 
Bank of Cooperatives stepped in from a standpoint of 
merchandising the product that the farmer raised. 

Now this all took place during the Depression, 
when credit was very hard to obtain and most of the 
people of California availed themselves of one, two, 
or three of these associations in preserving their 
farms, operating their farms, producing and 
merchandising their products.* That was the co-op 
movement here that started in 1933, *3^ f 35 and 
many wineries were started. Fruit Industries was 
the marketing agent for eleven cooperative wineries. 

*See p. 88 for the functions of these agencies in 
the wine industry. 


Teiser: It s been said recently "by some people that the 
cooperative movement is dead, it s outworn, it 
doesn t work any more. 

Biane: Yes. Well, the reason for that is this: that the 
need does not exist like it did at one time. And 
the three banks that I named have now moved into a 
position where they have repaid the money put in by 
the federal government and have established their 
own assets by the borrower paying into a fund and 
creating more assets with the bank, where the banks 
themselves have become cooperative banking institutions 
for the borrowers, who must be a cooperative however. 
And they obtain their money in the money market just 
as any other bank does and pay the same rates now as 
any other bank. So you do not have necessarily an 
advantage of co-op banking other than you might have 
at the end of the year earned through the bank process 
a discount of maybe one per cent over the going term, 
or more or less. It depends on how efficient the 
bank is run. Now that took place both in Federal 
Land Band and. Production Credit and the Berkeley Bank 
for Co-ops. 

Now in the co-op movement at the winery you are 
correct. The California Wine Association has receded 
into where there s Just two or three members.* The 
Guild, which was another large cooperative, has 
receded to just a few members, but more than the 
California Wine Association. And the United Vintners 
they were the very large cooperative that has now been 
bought by Heublein; I do not know the ins and outs 
of how they work. I know that the grower still has 
an interest in the thing some way, somehow. But the 
small cooperatives, such as ours and others, it has 
been very difficult for them to continue to exist 
under the cooperative laws as they are today. In 
fact, we are now contemplating to stop operating as a 
cooperative here. 

Teiser; Going into a corporation? 

Biane: We have to go into a corporate set-up, because we re 

^Subsequent to this interview, in December of 1970, 
it was reorganized and became a stock corporation. 


3 lane: 




Biane : 



having to buy too many commodities to resell in our 
retail stores which we make a profit on that is not 
allowable under your cooperative set-up. So our 
attorneys and our accountants are working on that. 
So Brookside Vineyard Company again will change its 
operation and no longer be a cooperative but will 
be run by the Biane family again as Brookside 
Vineyard Company, which has always been the property 
of the Biane family. The name, the labels, and 
everything has been ours. 

After you returned here, you reestablished the family 
business as Brookside? 

Yes. We reestablished the business as Brookside 
Vineyard Company, and then in 195^ we associated 
ourselves, or the cooperative members then associated 
themselves, with us again, and we formed a new 
cooperative as Brookside. And then they merchandised 
with us at that particular point, and they have 
continued to do that, using our brands, our labels, 
our management all the way through as a cooperative 
venture . 

Who then have been the principals in the Brookside 
Vineyard Company? 

From the cooperative standpoint? 
No. From the whole standpoint. 
Well, it f s been the Biane family. 

Was your father president of Brookside then when it 
was being formed? 

When it was originally formed, yes. 
father and ny brother and. myself. 

There was my 

What positions did you and your brother hold? 

Well, my father was the president, and I was the vice 
president, and my brother was production manager of 
the association, and we had another man who was with 
us in the family venture, a man by the name of Joe 
Aime, and he was secretary- treasurer of the associa 
tion. Joseph was originally with the Italian Vineyard 
Company; his dad came from Italy to work for the 
Italian Vineyard Company. Joe worked in the office 

Biane: here at the Italian Vineyard Company. And then with 
the event of Repeal, and when we started acquiring 
land and planting more vineyards, Joe became 
associated with the Biane family. My dad took Joe 
in as a partner of the Biane family. So we developed 
vineyards and the wineries, and Mr. Aime stayed in 
the family operation up to I think 196^. And he at 
that time elected to retire, and he ceased being a 
member of the partnership by disposing his interest 
back to the family. 

Teiser: Now it s back to an all-family set-up? 
Biane: Yes. Now it s all family again. 

Teiser: You say you built a winery near your home. Is that 
at Guasti? 

Biane: No. It s right down the road about three miles, and 
it s still part of this winery. We have three bonded 
premises here. We have one up on Haven Avenue, 
Cucamonga, [and] Guasti and Ontario. 

Teiser: When did you acquire that one on Haven Avenue? 

Biane: That is a leased plant. We lease from the Pioneer 
Vineyard Association, whose members became members 
of Brook side also. 

Teiser: When did you start leasing that? 

Biane: 1959- The primary owner of that operation is the 
Hofer family, and they are large landholders here 
in vineyards, and most of their land is in and 
around the airport, very expensive land, going out 
of vines very rapidly. So in our operation at the 
present time we have the Pioneer plant, which is 
the production plant; this plant at Guasti, which is 
the aging, finishing, bottling, and distribution 
plant, and belongs to the Biane family; and then the 
aging cellar (Ontario), which is down by my home, 
which is about five miles from here, which also 
belongs to the Biane family. 

Teiser: And you built that from scratch? 

Biane: I built it from scratch to start this program in 


Teiser: When did you acquire this cremise then? 



Biane : 

This premise was bought from the California Wine 
Association in about 55 56, someplace in there. 
It belonged to the California Wine Association, and 
due to the fact that they ceased operating in 
southern California, had no more members down here, 
and didn t have the marketing conditions that we 
used to have in the southland, they decided then to 
concentrate in the Lodi area. And you ll recall 
they moved from the Guasti plant and moved from the 
San Francisco plant and concentrated everything in 
Lodi. So we acquired this plant from them at that 

How much acreage is there in the cooperative now? 

Well, I would say in the cooperative now there s 
probably about, oh, there must be close to 2,500 acres 
in the cooperative between 2,000 and 2,500. 

That is in addition to your own, the Biane family 

No. That includes ours. We re operating about 900 
acres of that that is ours. 

Has that amount shrunk over the years? 
than it was twenty years ago? 

Is it less 

No. Prom a standpoint of this last operation, we 
have maintained pretty good. We crush anywhere from 
eight to nine thousand tons a. year, and it s stayed 
in there pretty well. However, many of the vines 
now, certain areas of the vines, are receding, and we 
are buying some grapes from other growers now besides 
members. Of course with this new operation now it ll 
be a different situation. 

Teiser: The other grapes you re buying now are from this area? 

Biane: They re all from this area, except we buy a few from 
Hanford. Mostly Muscats. We need the Muscat graues, 
and there are very few of them left here in 



Teiser: May I ask you about your new acreage? 

Biane: Well, knowing that we were having problems in here 
with our acreage on an over-all basis (Cucamonga, 
Guasti) primarily due to urbanization and taxation 
one brings on the other that it would no longer be 
feasible to stay in the wine business here for a long 
duration of time, therefore we were seeking other 
areas where we might grow grapes and make wine. And 
we traveled the state up and down looking for locations. 

Teiser: Did you look in the Mother Lode area? 

Biane: We, we did. We were up in Lake County, and we were 
all through that area then. Certain conditions we 
didn t like, frost conditions or one thing or another. 
We almost were made a deal in the Soledad area, King 
City, and were very close, but we Just hated to leave 
Southern California. The Rancho California program 
intrigued us. We were approached by them to start 
vineyard land down there, as we knew the area. 

Teiser: It was an old grape area? 

Biane: Not particularly a grape area, but grapes grew there. 
The climate condition was very adaptable to grape 
growing. The only thing that held it back was water. 
There wasn t sufficient rainfall, year in and year out, 
and the availability of underground water was not 
good. However, with the development of Rancho 
California and the big water development there to the 
tune of some three million dollars in forming a water 
district, developing water, and also becoming part 
of the Metropolitan Water District, it made the 
planting of the vines in that area very feasible. 
The cost of the land there was no greater or no less 
than it was in the North Coast counties, and no 
greater than it was in the Soledad area. However, 
the terrain was probably not as good for total 
cultivation, because it is hilly, but it s a beautiful 
area. And so we elected to go there. We acquired 
property there and started planting vines. This is 
the second and third leaf on growth on some acreage, 
and we ll continue to plant for the next two or three 
years . 


Biane: Along with that, Rancho California asked us If 
we would enter Into an arrangement with them whereby 
we would develop acreage of vineyards for them for 
resale, and that we would enter Into a oontraot 
with Rancho California or with the new owner to care 
for the vines for three years. So we established an 
entity down there and hired the proper personnel and 
entered into that phase of the operation. 

At the present time now we have some seven or 
eight hundred acres in the process of being planted, 
in the various stages of use, and our first small 
harvest will be this year off of vines of the third 
leaf, and we are contemplating another three or four 
hundred acres or maybe more, five hundred acres, 
next year. We anticipate that there probably will 
be developed down there in the neighborhood of three 
thousand acres. 

Teiser: Of your own land or all together? 

Biane: No. Not all ours. We are doing the developing on 
all of the vineyard land, ours and others 1 . 

Teiser: What kind of people would come in? 

Biane: Yourself, for Instance, would like to have forty acres 
of land and have maybe twenty of it in grapes and 
five in oranges and five in lemons and seven in 

Teiser: Small farmers. 

Biane: A small farmer. But you* re not able to do it, so 
therefore you must hire someone that can do it for 
you. You re still the farmer, so you hire someone 
to plant your vines and take care of them for you. 
You hire an expert to plant your citrus and take 
care of it for you. You hire an expert to do your 
avocados and take care of it for you. 

Teiser: Why do you bother to be a farmer then? 

Biane: You can do as much of your own work as you, 

individually, like. Now any portion of it that you 
like to do you don t contract for. You do it yourself. 
If you like to get out there and ride the tractor and 
do your own cultivation, you do it. If you want to 
do the irrigation, you do it. If you want to do the 



Biane : 

picking, you do it. I mean you can do any part of 
it you want to. 

But let me answer you another question there. 
You asked me, "Why bother to do it?" Why are these 
facilities available? Maybe you re not ready to 
retire to the ranch right now. Maybe you would like 
to continue with the work that you re doing for the 
next five years, but maybe it s feasible for you 
right now to invest in this land. And five years 
from now you re going to come down and build yourself 
a nice home and this is going to be where you re 
going to live. And so you have developed your ranch 
while you ve been an absentee owner. 

So it s partly a retirement project? 

Not necessarily. Just a lot of people think it s 
awful nice to retire to an operating ranch. They 
might have horses or other interests. They have 
something that is a true operating ranch. And we 
have them now. We were Just talking to some of our 
people, and I don t think it s divulging anything 
the president of Burlington Mills, Mr. Ely Calaway, 
bought 118 acres and we re developing it for him. 
Evidently he intends to retire to this ranch some 
day. Mr. John Poole of the Poole Broadcasting System, 
he was in here yesterday, and he s talking about a 
hundred acres or so down there to go into vineyards. 
So there are many, many people interested in the wine 
and vineyard business, and this is one way to get 
Into it. That folder* describes it. 

It s rather a new concept of land development. 

This Rancho California Is a complete Integrated land 
development of 87,000 acres, taking in ranching, 
industry, horse raising, a dairy, turkeys, anything 
you name they have prepared for. They have gone into 
it to the nth degree with the University in all of 
their phases. It s a designed community with all 

Teiser: What is the elevation there of your grape land? 
Biane: About 1500 feet. 


* Appendix I. 


Teiser: What types of grapes are you growing there? 

Blane: The type of grapes we are planting are all the 

varietal types that are popular now. It will remain 
to see how good we have pegged things as to their 
ability to produce there. We think they will. We 
think the soil is right, the climate is right. We* re 
in area III, which is similar, say, to Calistoga. 
So some years in some portions we might even be in 
Region II, but I think we re more in III. We re 
area IV here (Guasti), and the San Joaquin Valley is 

Teiser: If this works as well as you hope it will, would you 
move your wine making facilities? 

Biane: The wine making facilities, yes. And that facility 
that I m speaking of is the one we now have up on 
Haven Avenue. Not this one. In other words it would 
be the production plant. 

Teiser: You d move It there? 

Biane: We d move it there. As soon as we have more grapes 
there than we have here, we will move the facilities 
there. At the present time we ll be hauling grapes 
from there to here, which is not far; 60 miles. 

Teiser: Is it southeast? 

Biane: It s southeast of here, yes. And then when we have 

less grapes here than we have down there, we ll truck 
the grapes from here down there when we put the 
winery facility there. And eventually that will be 
the production facility. But I can imagine that 
there will be grapes in this area for the next twenty 
years. We have vineyards here that we don t think 
will be out of production twenty years from now. 

Teiser: What is the maximum potential acreage there? 

Biane: Well, this depends on how much of the rest of it goes 
into grapes. There s a total of 8?, 000 acres there. 
Out of that 87,000 acres I d say very easily 10,000 

*These are numbers of wine grape growing regions as 
defined by the Department of Viticulture and Enology, 
University of California, Davis. 


Biane: could go to vineyard if it s so desired. I don t 
think that that much will go to vineyard. I don t 
think there ll be that many people Interested in 
vineyard to that extent. 

Teiser: Would you anticipate that you d take the grapes from 
these vineyards? 

Biane: It depends. I m not sure. We can t tell what will 
happen five years from now, Just how big a marketing 
program we will have. I have made no commitments 
along those lines. 

Teiser: Is the hillside land hard to cultivate? 

Biane: No. It s rolling land, and we are taking only that 
portion of it that is not difficult. It s all going 
to be on stake and wire, and it s all set up for 
permanent sprinkling and mechanical harvesting. The 
steeper hill part, again, will be less susceptible to 
frost, and it would be available then for oranges, 
lemons, and avocados, or macadamia nuts, or whatever 
you might want to try. 

Teiser: Do you anticipate trying any new varieties there, 
doing any experimental plantings? 

Biane: Well, the new varieties are propagated by the 

University of California, and we have about 65 acres 
there devoted to complete experimental vineyards. 
And as new varieties are made available we will be 
planting them in the experimental plots. Actually 
I ll be making wine from grapes grown on the 
experimental plots down there this year. 

Teiser: Do they look good? 

Biane: They look fine. They were planted by Rancho California, 
not by an individual. 

Teiser: I see. What types of grapes are they? 

Biane: Well, you name It and it s there. Riesling, Cabernet, 
Johannisberg Riesling, Emerald Riesling, Chenin blanc 
Just go right down the list, they re all there. Pinot 
noir, Chardonnay, all of them. They re all there on 
an experimental basis. We have planted also on you 
might call an experimental basis even in the developing 
of our vineyards. We have been quite careful not to 


Biane: plant real large plots. I don t think we have 

anything at the present time except on our own piece 
down there more than ten acres of one variety. We 
might have that variety repeated on another ten acres 
over here, but the owner is not going to get over 
ten acres at this particular moment of one variety. 
We don t know how they re going to produce as to 
quantity and. quality. 

Teiser: Do you have any Indication that there will be subtle 
differences within a mile or half a mile? 

Biane: No, we don t feel that. We feel that the area will 
be a given area. We think that the wine produced in 
that area will be very good. We think that the 
grapes that will grow in that area will be very 
hardy. We will not have growth like they have in the 
San Joaquin Valley, because we don t have sufficient 
heat units. We will have a similar and typical type 
of growth that they have in the Sonoma-Calistoga 

Teiser: Are your stocks here phylloxera-resistant? 

Biane: Phylloxera needs a fairly heavy soil in order to 

develop. The reason it needs a heavy soil to grow 
in, it needs a soil that will crack, allowing travel. 
This is a sandy soil and it does not crack. Therefore 
we do not anticipate phylloxera to be a problem in 
the area. 

Teiser: That gives you a great advantage. 

Biane: That s right. We don t have to graft the vines to 
fruit wood. They have not planted resistant stock 
in the Soledad area. They are planting with original 
stock. I don t think we ll have any trouble in 
either place [Guastl area or Rancho California].* 
Where we had the trouble before was on much heavier 
ground, for instance like in Anaheim district and 
various other places where they have very heavy 

*For further discussion of Ranoho California, see 
pp. 82-8*4-. 

:- - 



Teiser: Would, you discuss the remarkable variety of wines 

that you produce, the variety and the unusual types? 

Biane: Well, I ve been associated with the production end 
of the wine business all my life. And as such I ve 
been instrumental in developing new varieties of wine, 
both for the California Wine Association and our 
selves. When we originally started to work here 
developing our own business, we specialized naturally 
in dry wines, knowing that the future was in dry 
wines. However, we did not feel that the dry wines 
being presented at that time were wholly palatable 
to the majority of the American palates. So we set 
out to find out what would, be palatable and then to 
prepare our wines in that fashion. We further set up 
at that particular point our retail sales outlet of 
our own, where we had tasting rooms and had direct 
communication with the public. 

What year did. you set up your first tasting room? 
We had our first tasting room set up in 195^ 
Oh, right away. 

Yes, right away, because we were conducting retail 
sales. And then we continued to put in the tasting 
rooms. We put In the greatest number up to 1965. 
So I had actually a nine-year period of developing 
16 tasting rooms here. 

Teiser: May I interrupt and ask another question that relates 
to this? Had you intended when you came back here 
from Northern California to sell a good portion of 
your wines direct? 

Biane: No. That was not my intention at the time. Right 
at that particular time I knew I did not have known 
labels, so it was going to be necessary that I sell 
my wine in bulk, and I did have a reputation 
throughout the ^United States as a production wine man, 
and I had entres to many bottlers. So I produced dry 
wines and then went into the bottler s plant and 
showed him how to take care in the bottling of those 
wines so they wouldn t have trouble with them. And 
we were successful with that. I had 3^ accounts in 

Biane : 
Biane : 

Blane: the United States doing this kind of business until 
the larger wineries in California decided that they 
were going to do all of their bottling in California 
and sell California bottled wines, and made a very 
large push for all markets in the United States. 
This caused many of my customers to go out of 
business, because the large California wineries 
could be stronger competitively in the market than 
they could be, even though they were local people. 
And so my avenue ceased to exist in the disposition 
of my wine. I could see my own operations here, 
however, going quite well in selling direct to the 
public. And I could see that I was not going to be 
affected by the large wholesaler or the large winery 
at this particular point. So I proceeded then to 
move into this phase of merchandising. 

We did it on a little different scale than other 
people had done it Insofar as we put up very nice 
sales cellars, very attractive. We were accepted by 
the people of California as being a Southern California 
winery, and they liked our presentation. So that 
developed this field for us wherein we then became 
very, very conscious of what the people liked and 
disliked. And then at that point we started to 
prepare our wines to their liking, and all of these 
mellow wines came into being. Now by a mellow wine, 
that s a table wine that Just has a trace of sweetness 
that takes the rough edges off of the wine from the 
standpoint of the tannin and sharpness that might be 
in the wine; it makes the wines more acceptable to 
the American people insofar as the wine is more 
compatible to the food that they re eating. 

Now you folks, coming from San Francisco, live 
in a very small area of California and the United 
States that is quite a bit different than all the 
rest of the United States, insofar as your eating 
habits in San Francisco are not typical eating habits 
of America. In the first place, you re Continental, 
and you re a sophisticated city, and you have 
different tastes than the rest of the people in the 
United States. So we, in preparing our wines, 
prepared them for the general American public, and 
that called for a big repertoire of wines. 

The American public, being cognizant of certain 
wine names, said, "Oh, I don t like it. It s sour." 
A burgundy or a claret or something. So we had to 

Biane: come up with names that they didn t associate with 

a known wine. For instance, I have one called "Rose 
Suave" that s very popular just because they like 
to say it. It f s a nice name, Rose Suave. 

Teiser: Did you think of the name? 

Biane: Yes, that s one of my names. We have many of them 
like that. We have another wine called "Vertdoux 
Blanc," which is a coined name, and we have a wine 
called "Dido Noir," a coined name. They re words 
that are easy for the American people to say, but 
they do have a connotation to them. It was an 
association with them. And so in developing our 
repertoire of wines, we also developed wines that a 
lady coming from Kansas City or Omaha, Nebraska 
could sit down and taste the wine and like it. We 
developed wines of that nature. Our "Black Velvet" 
wine has become very popular. Our "Golden Rose" is 
very popular. Now those are not European names. 

Teiser: What is Golden Rose? 

Biane: Golden Rose is a muscat type wine in that it s 

similar to Christian Brothers "Chateau La Salle" 
type of wine. How they became similar I don t know. 
We had our Golden Rose on the market several years 
before they came out with their Chateau La Salle. 
No one has a Black Velvet such as we have. Now that 
is a wine all by itself. It s a very popular wine 
with us. 

Teiser: That s not what is known as a flavored wine, is it? 

Biane: No, it s a natural wine. However, it does have some 
other grapes besides our own in this local area, 
brought in in the way of grape concentrate, and added 
to our wines. We bring in some grape concentrate 
from the state of Washington, and we use a little of 
that in the wine. But it s a very pleasant wine that 
people like. 

We also developed names such as "Hausmarke Rhine" 
and "Hausmarke Rote." Those are very pleasant 
tasting wines. The Hausmarke Rhine is of a 
Liebfraumilch type, which is pleasant to most American 
palates. The Hausmarke Rote is the German red wine 
carrying the same mellow characteristics. Now those 
are two wines completely our own. Our "Vino Rosado" 


is a wine that is well accepted. There is a wine 
that is patterned, I would say, after the Portuguese 
pink wines. That Vino Rosado is Portuguese, and it 
would be similar to Lancer s wine except that it 
wouldn t carry the carbon dioxide gas to the extent 
that Lancer s has. St. Emilion is a varietal wine, 
very highly accepted. However, no one else in the 
state has planted it but us. We are the only one 
that has it. It s a very prominent grape in Prance 
as well as Italy. Now the St. Emilion that most 
people think about people that are acquainted with 
wine they think of St. Emilion as being a red wine. 
It is not. There is an area of France that is called 
Salnt-Emilion that a red wine comes from, but that 
is not the St. Emilion that I am talking about. The 
St. Emilion that I m talking about is a white grape, 
and it s a varietal.* 

So those are 

a few of our wines that we ve made 

Telser: The Malvasia bianca is a...? 

Biane: The Malvasia bianca is again a varietal wine. However, 
we make ours different than the other few producers 
in the state. We make ours like a Hungarian Tokay. 
Now Hungarian Tokay is a nice light dessert wine, 
and that s what this is like. 

Now we do have our flor sherries, which is a 
specialty too. 

Teiser: Yes. Would you repeat what you told us about the 
background of your flor sherries? 

Biane: Yes. Our flor sherries are produced in the normal 

way that we produce flor sherries in California, not 
the way they exactly produce them in Spain. In Spain 
the flor sherries are started at the fermentation 
point, being introduced to the barrel, and fermentation 
takes place, and the flor yeast then takes over and 
forms the film and develops the ranolo flavor. Here 
in California we take a white wine already produced 
and introduce it to the barrel and innoculate it with 
a flor yeast. And the procedure is for the flor 

*The grape is usually spelled "Saint-Smilion, while 
the Brookside wine is swelled "St. Emilion." 


Biane: yeast to change the alcohol contained in the wine 

to aldehydes. The chemical test for your flavor is 
an aldehyde test. 

When your flavor has developed sufficiently, 
this wine goes back to the winery and can have added 
to it wine spirits, raising the alcohol to 1?5 per 
cent. Now Just at this session of the legislature 
we ve had the standards of identities of California 
wines changed where our flor sherries can now be 1? 
per cent. So we will be making them now at 17 per 
cent, which will bring them much closer to their 
Spanish counterpart than we were able to do before. 

Then after this is all done, in which generally 
you re in your second year by this time, then these 
wines are blended as to a sec or a oreme at that 
point. And then they go into a solera system for 
further aging, which takes another six years before 
it ll come out at the bottom. And so you have anywhere 
from eight to nine years in the production of a flor 
sherry as we do it here at Guasti. Other people 
might have different methods. 

Teiser: Is anyone else in the state making it? 

Biane: Yes. There are other people making flor sherry. Now 
whether they do it in the individual barrels or 
whether they do it in the bulk process, I don t know. 
There is a bulk process for making flor sherry, and 
it s done under pressure and done very quickly, and 
it s done generally in a champagne tank that they 
make bulk champagne in. And they can turn it out in 
a year and a half or two years, where it s taking us 
many more years. 

And some people are doing a very excellent job, 
and the one that I think is doing a fine job and has 
certainly given the people good worth for their 
money is Gallo. I think some of the sherries that 
Gallo has made have been excellent, and they are 
made, I m sure, with the submerged method of the 
propagation of the flor yeast, and then blended with 
his other wine. They come up with a fine wine. I 
take my hat off to him in the production of that 
Livingston sherry that he puts out. If you haven t 
tried it you should. It s very good. 

But we make it in the way I outlined to you, and 
we produce what we think is a fine sherry. 


Telser: And you ve been bottling it for some years? 
Biane: Yes. 

Teiser: You have here [looking at wine list]* some fruit 

Biane: Our fruit wines come from Denmark. I have friends 
in Denmark. We cannot make our wine here in 
California the way that wine is made, or in the 
United States as far as that goes, because that wine 
is made through a maceration process. We would have 
to make it in a rectifying plant, which we don f t 
have. In this the fruit is semi -crushed and put 
with brandy and left for a year or so. And then the 
liquid is drawn off and then a sugar solution, a 
syrup, is added to it, and that becomes the wine. So 
you have your flavor extracted by brandy and then 
sweetened with a simple syrup solution, and you have 
the true fruit flavor with no fermentation. Now when 
you have fermentation, many times it detracts from 
flavor. We re not able to make the wine here under 
our existing laws. Otherwise I would. 

Teiser: When we were looking through the winery, you were 
mentioning that you had some wines with a slight 
carbonation. Are there many of them? 

Biane: We have four wines like that. Vino Rosado is one, 
Golden Rose, and Cask No. 7 and Cask No. 11. Now 
Vino Rosado is a rose wine; Cask No. 11 is also a 
rose wine but of a different nature; Cask No. 7 is 
a white wine; and Cask No. 3 is "the Golden Rose which 
carries a very distinctive muscat flavor. 

Teiser: I keep hearing that more carbonated wines should be 
coming on the market, that people like them. 

Biane: The slight carbonization of wine enhances the flavor, 
and because we are so used to carbonization in the 
United States with all of our carbonated drinks, sodas 
of all types, soft drinks, et cetera, they are very 
acceptable to the American public. 

Teiser: I think Dr. Maynard Joslyn mentioned that a lot of 
Europeans, of course, drink wines mixed 

*Appendix II 


Telser: with carbonated water. 

Biane: That s right. Many of the European wines carry 

varying degrees of carbonization, either retained 
from the time of fermentation or added afterwards. 

Teiser: I mean they just mix at the table carbonated water 
with wine. 

Biane: Yes, they mix carbonated water with wine. That s 

Teiser: You make your own brandies? 

Biane: No. We have our brandy prepared and made for us by 
other concerns, under our direction and selection, 

Teiser: And you make your own sparkling wines? 

Biane: No. Our sparkling wines are not made by us either. 
Our sparkling wines are made by the people in 
California that are equipped and do make sparkling 
wines. Now we do not have the equipment for it here. 
And if you re going to make sparkling wines you must 
specialize in them and you must put out at least, the 
minimum, 100 to 150 thousand cases a year. We do not 
use anywheres near that much in our operation. 
Therefore it does not behoove us to go into the 
production of this. We do supply the wine to the 
people that do put it up for us, and it is our wine 
put through their process, with our direction again. 
And sometimes we ll supply our own yeast under these 
conditions for the secondary fermentation. 

Teiser: You make regular wines and premium wines? 

Biane: Yes. We have a selection of wine for everyone s 

desire or p ocketbook, whatever way you want to say 
it. Now we have very fine wines in our premium wine 
in the higher priced wine, which is our Assumption 
Abbey line. Then we have what we call Brookslde 
Estate Wines, which are not quite as high priced as 
the Assumption Abbey line. Then we have the Vache 
line, which again are lower priced than the Assumption 
Abbey, but they are higher priced than the Brooks! de 
line. And then we have the Brookside line, which we 
term our "popular priced wine." Now the same wine 
could, during its lifetime be in each category. As 


Biane: a young wine it could be in the Brookside line. 

Then it could move to the Vache line, and then it 
could move over to the Assumption Abbey line, Just 
depending on its age. And it doesn t always mean 
that young wines are not always palatable. 

It Just so happens that this [paper] arrived 
at my desk today. Our Brookside Ruby Port took the 
gold medal for a Ruby Port in the whole state of 
California, which sells for 85 cents a bottle. I m 
just trying to say that even though the wine may be 
inexpensive and not an expensive wine, it can still 
be a very good, good wine. And as it goes through 
its aging process it moves through the various 

Teiser: It costs to store wine, doesn t it? 

Biane: Oh yes. We have to pay taxes on it every year. You 
have evaporation losses. You have the care, the 
container, the facilities to house it. All these 
things are very costly. So as wine becomes older, 
naturally it carries a higher price. But also, under 
normal circumstances, it should be a better wine as 
it becomes older. 

Teiser: To what maximum, do you think, for most table wines? 

Biane: Well, I don t agree with long aging of table wines 
a maximum of five years, including bottle aging, on 
table wines. Oh, I could probably push that up to 
seven years including the time in the bottle. But 
especially California table wines I think generally 
three to four years in wood and then a year to three 
years in the bottle. There s always exceptions to 
the rule, but normally I would say that that s the 
way I would look at it through my ^0 years of 
experience in the wine business in California. 
However, that does not hold true of very fine dessert 
wines. Now the very fine dessert wines can be aged 
much, much longer. And if they are, why then you 
come up with a wine that is very smooth, is very 
delicate, is very palatable, and it s to be used as 
a dessert wine more to sip than to drink. Today some 
of our dessert wines can be 11 to 15 years old, in 
the Assumption Abbey line. 



Teiser: I m looking at the other products the wine vinegars 
and cooking wines and Jellies on your list. Those 
you make? 

Biane: Yes. 

Teiser: The salted cooking wines? 

Biane: Now the salted cooking wines were actually developed 
and it was a means of sale during Prohibition that 
classified them as a food rather than a beverage. 
They were salted to the extent that they were not 
palatable, or you couldn t drink them as a beverage. 
That made then cooking wines available to all the 
chefs throughout the United States if they so desired 
to use them, and they were in the food category. With 
the event of Repeal, that market was still there. 
People had become used to using salted wines. 

Another thing that it does for you, it allows 
you to sell them in a grocery store that doesn t 
have a liquor license. So you go into the grocery 
store and you can buy it. For instance Alpha Beta 
[grocery store chain] does not have liquor in their 
store, but they can have these cooking wines in their 
store, the salted cooking wines. Now also that 
pertains to our "Kitchen Magic," and that particular 
price list doesn t have our marinade on, which is 
one of our newer ones. We are the only winery, as 
far as I know, that really makes a true marinade. 
You buy a less expensive piece of meat, and you cover 
it with this marinade. 

Teiser: Is it seasoned? 

Biane: It s slightly seasoned, but not too much so. It 

does not contain any salt, therefore will not draw 
the blood from the meat. And you just cover it with 
a marinade, add a couple of teaspoons of olive oil 
and you can marinate it for 2b or ^8 hours. You can 
also use part of the marinate during the cooking 
process if you so desire. It s a wonderful product. 
We have people coming back and back for it, Just to 
buy that one thing. The other one that we have that 
is very popular too is the "Cooking Magic," and that 
again is a seasoned wine but that does contain salt. 




Biane : 

But that is just for immediate cooking. In other 
words, if you want to saute or you* re going to cook 
hamburgers or something like that. 

Then we have the wine Jellies that are a bit 
unusual. These are made under our formula, again 
something that we developed during Prohibition and 
used the wine in the production of wine Jellies. 
And then naturally we have our wine vinegars which 
we produce and sell at the store level as well as 
at the commercial level. We do a fairly large job 
on wine vinegar, which is another division of ours. 
We sell that primarily to producers of other 
merchandise, such as Lawry s or Bernstein s, for 
their products. They make all kinds of products that 
use wine vinegar. It s used for manufacture. So we 
produce that too here as well as the wine. 

Well, you have many strings to your bow. 

Yes, we go the full gamut. As I think I mentioned to 
you, our product line is probably as big or bigger 
than any other winery in the state. 


Teiser: You don t sell your wines through other retail 

Biane: No. In California only through our outlets. 
Teiser: But you do in the East, bottled, your own label? 
Biane: Yes. Not in a big way, however. 

Teiser: You bought the Mills Winery; did that involve only 
its stores? 

Biane: No. It has a very fine winery in Sacramento out on 
Folsom Boulevard on the way up to Tahoe. It was 
built there in 1910, and it s a very well known 
winery in Sacramento. The owner that I bought it 
from, Mr. Kershaw [Paul Kershaw, Jr.], his was the 
original winery that went into the multiple, or 
duplicate wine -grower s license as a means of 
distribution. And he s the one that actually started 


Biane: the multiple sales operation. We were in it in a 
big way in Southern California. So we were 
interested, as we knew the possibilities of the 
operation, being in it ourselves, so when it was 
offered for sale we bought same. And now it s 
integrated to the point that it s Brookside Vineyard 
Company, d.b.a. Mills Winery. All of our products 
are now being sold throughout the Northern California 
Bay Area. There are 12 retail sales cellars as well 
as the winery. 

Teiser: And you re continuing to operate the winery? 

Biane: Oh yes. 

Teiser: Is there acreage attached to that? 

Biane: No. There is no vineyard acreage. There is five 
acres where the winery is situated. 

Teiser: And you buy grapes from that area? 

Biane: No. We buy some wines in the Lodi area, and we 

supply our full line of wines from Guasti. We ship 
from here up there. 

Teiser: Would you be increasing production facilities in 
Northern California? 

Biane: No. The Northern California operation would not be 

increased. At least our present thinking is that way. 
I don t know what time may bring. 

Teiser: How many outlets then have you altogether at the 
moment ? 

Biane: Twenty-eight. We have 16 in Southern California and 
12 in Northern California. 

Teiser: Are you developing them? 

Biane: We are redoing all of them, moving some to new 

Teiser: Are you the only winery in the state doing this type 
of selling to any extent? 

Biane: No, there are others. Two wineries here in Southern 
California each have seven: San Antonio and Pilippi 
Vintage [Company]. 


Teiscr: Pllippe is here? 

Biane: Pllippl Is located here. They re In the Etiwanda 

Teiser: Where is San Antonio? 

Biane: San Antonio is headquartered in Los Angeles. Steve 
Riboli is the owner there. They re on Lamar Street 
in Los Angeles. His uncle started the winery. 
However they started in the wine business after 
Prohibition, not before. 

Teiser: You must like this kind of merchandising since you re 

Biane: Well, it allows a small producer, such as us, means 
of getting to the public which would otherwise not 
be possible. Now you might say, "Why do you make 
that statement?" Well, the reason for that statement 
is this: that there are more wineries than there 
are wholesalers in the state of California. And 
generally wholesalers will not carry multiple brands 
of wine because the brand that they do have in the 
wholesale house, the owner of that brand, doesn t wish 
him to carry another brand that irould be competitive 
to his wine. And it makes sense. 

Therefore, if you re not in the wholesale house, 
you re not apt to get into the wholesale house. If 
you can t get in, you can t get your wines distributed. 
And to get your wines distributed even after you re 
in the wholesale house, you must have and give aid 
to the wholesaler in the way of men on the street 
introducing your wines, selling them to the retailer, 
servicing the shelves, those many things that the 
wine companies do. If you re a small concern, you 
don t have the finances to do that. So therefore you 
find yourself in a problem of not being able to get 
your merchandise in front of the public. 

I found myself in that position in Southern 
California. So In order to get my merchandise to 
the public, there was only one way for me to do it, 
and that was through this route. And I either had to 
do it like that or call it quits. Either one of the 
two. I couldn t have continued. 

Teiser: Working with a wholesaler would have meant developing 
a large sales program and sales force, I presume. 

Biane: Which is very difficult to do and which requires today 
a lot of financing. 

Teiser: I saw in one of the newspaper clippings of an inter 
view with you that you said that you had had many 
offers to buy this winery and had no intention of 
selling it. Was that a correct quotation? 

Biane: Yes. We do have people coming in who would like to 
know whether this operation would be for sale, that 
they are representing an Eastern concern or some 
people with money that would like to get into the 
wine business that has already a built-in distribution 
arrangement such as ours, and they would like to 
invest their money in such an operation. Well, it 
is feasible that we might be interested in selling, 
so they do come and ask. Well, our answer has always 
been, "No. We re not interested in selling. We 
still have to work and so we don t wish to get out 
of the wine business." So we still have not entertained 
any of those offers. 


Teiser: That brings up the whole subject of these two rounds 
of Eastern corporations* incursions into the 
California wine business the first during World 
War II, and the recent one. What do you see as the 
future of the independently owned- winery? 

Biane: Well, it s hard for me to say. I feel that anybody 
that s in the wine business today and has good 
outlets now, as most everybody does have in the wine 
business, I think the future is excellent. I think 
there are other people in the distribution field 
that are going to pick up further wineries and 
distribute their products. I mean, a lot of people 
that distribute nationally that could have a wine 
line, and they ll pick them up. 

Teiser: You think they ll manage them better this time than 
they did in that earlier round? 


Biane: Well, it s hard for me to say. I think the answer 
to that is yes, because wine is more acceptable now 
to the American public than it was then. They moved 
into it as an expedient during the war, because 
they were able to do something, able to stay in the 
liquor field. After the war we got into a very 
chaotic condition in the wine business, and it wasn t 
a good investment. They moved out. Now they re 
back in again, and the wine business looks good, all 
phases of the thing, for the long pull. I think 
they ll stay in it this time. 

Teiser: They ll have to manage it well to stay in business... 
Biane: That s right. 

Teiser: People speak now as if there s never going to be a 
big surplus of grapes again. 

Biane: There could be a surplus of grapes again a surplus 
of grapes developed throughout the world. Grapes 
grow very readily in many climates and many conditions 
and many soils, and grapes could be overplanted in 
California again. However, because of the economic 
factors involved, they re not apt to be for a number 
of years. Land is quite expensive now. The develop 
ment of vineyards is quite expensive. It s going to 
keep people with not too great a financing program 
behind them out of the grape business. In other 
words, to buy the ground, plant grapes, and bring 
them to production is going to cost you approximately 
$2,200 to $2,500 or more an acre investment, starting 
with raw land and bringing it to completion in five 
years time. 

Teiser: Does that include the purchase price of the land? 

Biane: Yes. Now how many people are going to get into the 
business? The people that are going to get into the 
business are those people who do have outlets and 
know what they re doing. For instance, National 
Distillers, Paul Masson, those kind of people; 
they re the ones that are planting the grapes. The 
National Distillers are with Almaden now. Heublein 
are talking about planting five to six thousand 
acres of grapes. So those are the kind of people 
that are going to get into the grape business. Now 
that is no different than the things that took place 
in Europe many years ago. You still have some small 





farmers, grape farmers, that are going to sell to 
these people, too. But you re not going to see too 
many small wineries start up again, I don t believe. 
I could be wrong. 

You know, I m going to have to call this quits 
pretty soon. I do have some work to do. It s 
almost four o clock. 

All right. I have another group of questions, 
we ll hope to continue. 




(Interview #3 - September 9, 1970, at Brookside 

Winery, Old Guasti) 


Teiser: As we drove along from Los Angeles today we saw a 

lot of smog. Does that affect the growing conditions? 

Biane: Yes, smog has an effect on all plant life, as well 
as animal life. However, different plants will 
react differently. Fortunately, the grape vines 
have not reacted as adversely as some of the other 
plants. Certain varieties have. The Pedro Ximenes, 
I would say, has reacted more adversely than other 
varieties to the point where I would not recommend 
planting Pedro Ximenes in this particular valley 
at this time, knowing the smog problems. 

Another one that reacted very adversely to smog 
is the Carignane. Because of the upsetting of the 
sun s rays due to smog, the plant is not getting 
sufficient sunshine to convert the acids to sugar, 
and we have loss of sugar and cannot obtain complete 
maturity in either of these varieties. 

On other varieties, I have not noticed as great 
a deterioration, but we know there is a deterioration 
to the plant. It is not growing as vigorously as it 

Teiser: In the Rancho California land, you are free of smog, 
are you? 

Biane: Yes. We are away from high populated districts. 
We do not have an inversion condition to trap the 
pollutants such as we have in the Los Angeles basin. 

Teiser: Do you anticipate ever a time when general pollution 


Telser: control will be sufficient to clear this area of 

Biane: I think by the time that comes along, this area 
will be pretty much taken up by urbanization and 
we don t have as much farming in this area. I do 
feel that we have made considerable strides on 
control of smog, and that we do not have as much smog 
in the area now as we had four or five years ago. 
So we are making strides with the controls. 

Teiser: Are there other sections in Southern California that 

you anticipate could be brought into grape production? 

Biane: Yes, as land becomes more dear in a given area, one 
searches for other land somewhere else, and will put 
up with some type of adverse conditions there to 
utilize the land for the planting of grapes, and 
will overcome the adverse conditions. You ve seen 
this happen in Europe. That s the only reason in 
Europe you have the very steep hillside vineyards. 
The vines will grow, so therefore they put up with 
the problem. That will take place some day here. 
We will utilize hillsides because of being able to 
do so, and it will be economically feasible then, 
where it is not now. 

Teiser: How will mechanical agricultural methods combine 
with hillside land, however? 

Biane: Today with earth moving equipment, we can take care 
of that situation, and adapt mechanical harvesting 
to hillside harvesting. 

Teiser: Are you implying then, we d contour hillsides? 

Biane: That s right. In other words, the land we are now 

using at Rancho California, we are now only utilizing 
possibly 50 to 55 per cent of the total that we are 
buying, and that is the most readily usable because 
of the position that it lays in. It was the easiest 
to plant and the easiest to care for. But as time 
goes on, we anticipate to use more of this land, 
with contour farming on the hills. I am sure in the 
next ten years vines will be planted on all of the 
land possible. 

Teiser: You have quite a laboratory there. 


Biane: That s right. 

Teiser: You mentioned, I think, when I spoke to you on the 
telephone, that you were crushing grapes this year 
from Arizona. 

Biane: Yes. The grapes became available in Arizona because 
of the labor problems caused by Mr. [Cesar] Chavez. 
Some of the growers decided that they would not be 
able to harvest all of their grapes for the fresh 
fruit market. Therefore they did not thin, they 
did not girdle, and they did not use giberellic 
acid spray; which is a product that you spray on the 
grapes that loosens the bunch. It is a hormone 
that causes the stem to grow faster, so that the 
berries will not be compact. 

Therefore, we had vineyard-run Thompsons in 
Arizona that could be used for wine making. Due to 
our shortage of grapes in California this year 
because of the frost problems, I purchased some of 
these grapes to make our vin ordinaire from this 
type of fruit. Because they were not forced, the 
fruit was very good, having a very good sugar /acid 
ratio and produced a good white wine. 

Teiser: This was the first year that you have done this? 
Biane: This was the first year that I ve done this. 
Teiser: Do you anticipate then that Arizona could supply.... 

Biane: Oh, yes. In the years to come there will be many 
states in the United States that will be raising 
grapes that are not now doing so. As consumption 
increases and the demand is greater, this enhances 
the grape price, and again allows you to go into 
areas that were not as well adapted as others 
because of the increased price. This you will see 
develop as you are now seeing it in both the states 
of Washington and Oregon. 

Now we have a large production of grapes in 
Washington and Oregon, California and now Arizona. 
Now it will continue to spread, and we will find 
certain areas in many other states that you will 
be able to raise grapes profitably. And as the 
demand increases, then these areas will be utilized. 





Biane : 

Biane : 


Will there be, as grapes are grown in other than 
Mediterranean climates, new types of wines developed 
in the United States, do you anticipate? I mean, 
not Just the kinds you re developing now? 

Yes. As time goes on there will continue to be 
more types of wines developed due to the area in 
which they are going to be grown. Now we are 
utilizing only a small portion of the temperate 
zone of the United States to raise grapes. The 
zones run parallel to the East and West. We are 
only using the west coast at the present time. 
Arizona is also in the temperate zone. New Mexico 
is in the temperate zone. Parts of Texas are. You 
can see the potentials. 

There will be some disadvantages because of the 
Caribbean and the tropical storms resulting from 
same. You get summer rains in some of these areas 
which are not good for the growing of wine grapes. 
However, they could be put up with, as they are in 
other parts of the world at the present time. You 
get summer rains in Prance; you get summer rains in 
Italy, and they put up with them. That is due to 
the Influence and the close proximity of the 
Mediterranean and the currents that flow through 
there. Now we have the same kind of condition a 
little bit different that is caused by the 
Caribbean influence in a lot of our Southern states. 

So the American wine industry is not bounded by 
California, Ohio and New York? 

No, it is not. 

You re looking ahead of course, 
people are. 

I wonder how many 

Well, Just any of us that are in the wine business 
and have studied this problem, and have searched 
for new areas, know that these potentials exist. 
We are experiencing a flourishing grape and wine 
business in Arkansas at the present time. There 
are some very fine wineries producing wines in 
Arkansas . 

I was interviewing Dr. [A.J.] Winkler a few weeks 
ago and he was saying when he was a boy in Texas, 
his German family grew grapes and made wine. 


Biane: There is a wild American grape in Texas called the 
muscadine. It is the rootstock used by most of the 
European countries now behind the iron curtain. I 
found those vines growing in Russia, Rumania, and 
Hungary. The rootstock that they were growing was 
the muscadine grape vine from Texas. 

Teiser: Had they imported it because of the phylloxera? 

Biane: They imported the vine from Texas and then they 
planted it only to produce rootstock. You found 
them in the government experimental stations where 
they were making and developing the rootstock, and 
then giving them to the farmer so they could plant 
the proper rootstock and then graft the variety 
after that on to it. The reason is primarily to be 
resistant to phylloxera. 

Teiser: What about Baja California? I see that there has 

recently been discussion of that as a grape-growing 
wine area. 

Biane: Baja California has similar conditions that we have 
in California, except that it is more arid. Less 
rainfall. But as water develops, and water can 
be supplemented for rainfall, you ll see more areas 
of Baja California come into grape plantings because 
they have the same prevailing west winds and the 
same cooling effect in the summertime that we have 
here however not as great as we have here. 

Teiser: Is the land in this area reclaimed land? 

Biane: This area that we are right in here now was 
originally a desert. 

Teiser: So that land can be brought in? 

Biane: The soil was very good, as most desert soils are very 
good. The only thing you don f t have is water. Now 
most deserts could be made to bloom with water. 
That s what this was here; this was a desert. The 
streams that came down from the mountains did not 
go clear across the valley, therefore it became 
desert. But with the advent of the turbine pump for 
a deep well, we were able to bring the water from 
underground to the surface and use it. 

Teiser: Is that what made the Guasti development possible? 


Biane: Well, no. The Guastl development was originally 
put in here on a dry farm operation because the 
turbine pump had not come into existence until... 
oh, !?, 18, 19~ along in there. 

Teiser: Oh, I see. 

Biane: Up f til that point it was difficult to lift water. 
This country here was set out in vineyards with 
100 per cent use of dry farming, in other words, 
depending only on rainfall. We brought in the deep 
wells by having the use of the turbine pump, which 
incidentally was designed and patented right here 
in Pomona, by Land and Bolder. That was the first 
turbine pump, made by this Pomona firm. Then it 
was later bought out by Peerless Pump. 

The pump is a series of stages of bowls submerged 
in the water in the bottom of the well that pumps 
from one bowl to another going up and developing 
enough pressure to raise the water from the bottom to 
the top. Until we had that pump, we didn t have 
water here other than what we trapped from the streams 
into reservoirs at the base of the mountain and then 
brought into the valley. That was only enough for 
domestic use, and not enough for irrigation. 


Teiser: Getting back to Rancho California,* you now have 

another harvest season there. Can you tell anything 
further yet? 

Biane: We crushed our first Chenin blanc grapes Tuesday 

morning. They are under fermentation now. We are 
looking forward to seeing how this wine is going to 
turn out. They look beautiful. The sugar /acid ratio 
was fine. We were happy with the appearance of the 
bunch, and the looseness of the bunch. We have no 
disease whatsoever; the grapes were clean. We think 

*See also pp. 56-61. 


Biane: they are going to come up with a very fine wine.* 

Next week we will make some Johannisberg 
Riesling. Then, the following week we will be 
picking some Petite Sirah. So we will have three 
commercial lots this year from Hancho California. 

Teiser: Very exciting! 

That is all the questions I have on that 
general subject. Do you have any other comments? 

Biane: My only comment that I can make on it is this, that 
it is still my personal feeling that with the 
increased demand for grapes, I think that there will 
be quite a few acres of grapes planted in the Rancho 
California area because I think it is better suited 
to grapes than it is to almost any other of our 
agricultural pursuits. 

We cannot farm profitably small lots of land in 
grain or corn or such crops. We must go to fruit of 
some type. It can either be citrus, or it could be 
peaches, apricots, and plums, or similar fruits, or 
it could be the grape vines. 

Because of the demand for wine that is being 
created in the United States, I think a big portion 
of this land will eventually end up with grapes. 
Now another good thing about grapes is that they 
don t have the demand for water that citrus has, or 
some of the other crops. In other words, grapes 
thrive on 20 to 22 inches of water a year. If you 
have in rainfall 15, 18 inches, well then the extra 
water you have to put on is not that great. So it 
would be a good crop to raise, because water will 
be expensive. 

Teiser: You have an agricultural zoning possibility? 

*The Chenin blanc did turn out very well. It 
contained 7.8 grams per 100 cc. in total acid and 
11.? per cent alcohol. Light greenish straw tint 
in color. Good aroma, true Chenin blanc, very clean 
to the taste. Under these conditions it will age 
well and maintain an excellent bottle life. P.B. 
December, 1971. 

Blane: Yes, most of us that are starting agricultural projects 
at Rancho are putting our land into the agricultural 
preserves. That is even more permanent than agri 
cultural zoning, insofar as we agree to keep this 
land in agriculture voluntarily for many years. 

Teiser: If you should take it out then you must pay taxes in 
arrears, is that the plan? 

Biane: In placing your land into an agriculture preserve, 
you do so for a ten year period. If you wish to 
withdraw, then your taxes start to increase to the 
point where during that ten years time, you are back 
up to the standard tax rate of other properties. At 
that time you phase out of agricultural pursuits. 

Teiser: So it is possible, if events should change.... 

Biane: If events should change, it is possible to change at 
any time. And where urbanization does creep on to 
you, and where the demand is so great that the 
purchaser will say, "I will pay so much for the land, 
and. I will pay the back taxes as part of the cost of 
the land," then you can make your sale at that point. 
Then everybody is happy, and no one has lost any 
money, including the county. 




The industry patterns, I think we touched upon them 
earlier, but... in general, do you see the wine 
industry as being large companies, medium-sized 
companies, and small companies, all three or what 
will the pattern of the industry be in the next 
decade, do you think? 

I don t feel that our pattern will be any different 
here in the United States than it is in other 
countries of the world where they have had the wine 
industry for literally hundreds of years. There you 
find all three phases of operation. I think you ll 
find big business in the wine business, large 
corporations. They probably will dominate the field 
as far as volume is concerned. 

On the other hand, viticulture and wine making 
is a way of life with lots of people. Therefore you 


Biane: will have, and I think will retain, the family 

operation of the wine business. This can be quite 
large or it can be quite small, depending on the 
ambitions of the people Involved. I think that 
you ll have all phases of it. 

Now we ourselves are quite small in comparison 
to the large producers of the state. On the other 
hand, we are quite large compared to some of the 
very small producers of the state. I think you are 
going to find this existing throughout. 

Teiser: You think the small ones will not drop off? 

Biane: All small ones will not drop off, because some small 
wineries are not in the wine business to make a lot 
of money. A lot of the small wineries are in business 
because of their desire to want to raise some grapes 
and make some wine and have a fine wine on the market. 
It is not always an independent economic factor with 
them to make money. Then you will have family 
businesses where it is an economic factor to make 
money, and you ll find those are larger and they are 
more aggressive and they cover a wider field of 

The first operation that I spoke of would 
probably let the customer come to them to buy their 
products, rather than they going out to sell the 
products. So you ll have that, because the wine 
industry or the wine business is a very interesting 
business. Again, as I say, it can be a way of life 
and it can also be a hobby. Some people will make 
it a commercial venture even though it is a hobby 
with them. 

Teiser: [Laughs] Another wine man I was talking with said, 
"There s no business in the world that has so many 
amateurs in it! " 

Biane: Well, that s a good statement. And it s a good thing! 
I like to see that because it creates Interest in 
your product and you must have interest in your 
product in order for it to be accepted. I think it 
is terrific! I think all the amateur people trying 
to make their own wines will in turn appreciate a 
good wine when they purchase same. 

Teiser: What is the correlation between winery size and 


Teiser: quality? There is a traditional one, but is it 

Biane: It is hard for me to answer that question because 
there are so many factors that enter into the 
situation. You can have a very small winery, and 
if they lack the knowledge of making a good wine 
then they will not make a good wine, even though 
they are very small. On the other hand, you can 
have a very large winery with the finest of equipment, 
with the best knowledge available to them, and they 
will produce very good wine. So you have no 
correlation between good or bad or better quality or 
lesser quality because of size. 

I will say this, that the smaller wineries have 
a better control of their fruit than the large winery. 
Where the fruit is a factor, which it always is, to 
have a good quality wine, that the small winery can 
bring in a smaller quantity of fruit when it is at 
its acme of ripeness, and have the perfect sugar/acid 
ratio. Then it will produce a very fine wine if 
properly handled. 

Now a very large winery, having many hundreds 
of tons of this particular type of grape, can t bring 
it in right at that particular point. Therefore, 
the smaller winery does have the advantage of that 
providing he is well qualified in all of those aspects 
of his wine making, as well as having the equipment 
to handle it. 

Teiser: What about the winemaker as grape grower? There are 
not very many winemakers who supply all their own 
requirements, are there? 

Biane: They are few. Most modest-sized wineries, and even 
the big ones now, all have vineyards of their own 
as well as buying fruit. Gallo has some of the very 
largest vineyards in the state. However it is not a 
very big percentage of his crush, but he does have 
a lot of large vineyards. You ll find this the same 
way with Almaden and Paul Masson and the Christian 

Teiser: Is there a desirable balance for a winemaker between 
bought and grown? 




You ll find that the grapes that they, these wineries, 
grow are generally the newer type varieties, and the 
wineries have planted these varieties because the 
average grower doesn t want to make the investment 
of the change-over. Now the grape vine lasts a long 
time and thrives for many years. Therefore you don t 
like to eradicate a vineyard Just because the variety 
of fruit is not as desirable as it used to be, or as 
desirable as a new fruit is at the present time 
newly developed type of fruit. So you ll find that 
the wineries that have vineyards keep abreast of the 
new varieties, experiment with them, work with them. 
In fact they develop plants to give the smaller 
grower for him to plant, and make a contract with him 
to take those grapes, to get him to change his variety 
in his fields. 

Gallo, I know, has done that a good deal, 
doing it increasingly? 

Are others 

Yes, Christian Brothers has done a good bit of that. 
I think even before Gallo, Christian Brothers was 
doing it. Paul Masson has always made available any 
of their cuttings at a very modest price to anybody 
that wanted them. Mr. Karl Wente had very fine 
virus-free vineyards; and he has not tried to make 
money from them, Just get his costs out of them, so 
that growers would have a virus-free plant. 

So I would say that the people in the wine 
business, as a rule, are very generous and sympathetic 
toward the advancement of better viticulture and. 
better varieties of grapes. You will always find 
that it is actually the industry themselves, the 
people within the industry, that promote and foot 
the bill. Now even though we might have the University 
do it, you ll find that the industry has given grants 
to do it. So it is the people in the industry doing 
it. It is also to their benefit to do so. 





Getting on to your own personal activities, your 
work with the Federal Land Bank* began long ago, 
did it not? 

That is right. Actually the term "working with the 
Federal Land Bank" is not quite a proper statement. 
It was my work with the growers that the Federal 
Land Bank recognized. 

Teiser: I see. 

Biane: Starting in business or even being associated with 

businesses during the early *30s, one quickly became 
interested in the banking facilities established by 
the government that would aid farmers. The federal 
government, through Commodity Credit [Corporation], 
established three separate divisions to aid farmers.** 
We in the grape business took advantage of these 
services and employed all three units: the Federal 
Land Bank to finance our vineyard land, the Production 
Credit Association to produce our crop of grapes, 
and the Berkeley Bank for Cooperatives to build the 
facility to process the grapes into wine and to make 
moneys available for the merchandising of same. 

In my many years of association in the wine 
business, I worked with the farmers and made these 
services known to them. On the fiftieth anniversary 
of the Federal Land Bank, they asked Congress to 
recognize certain individuals by passing a resolution 
which, in turn, was signed by President Johnson, 
recognizing these services of the individuals and a 
plaque was created and presented. I was fortunate to 
receive such a plaque in recognition of my services 
in this field. 

*In 196? Mr Biane was awarded a medal by the 
Federal Land Bank System for his contributions to 
American agriculture. 

**See also pp. 51-52. 

Teiser: Your work in this regard started when you were with 
the California Wine Association? 

Biane: That is right, when I was with Fruit Industries and 
California Wine Association and then in a small way 
down here. 

Teiser: Then I d like to ask about your work with the Wine 
Advisory Board. Did you take part in the creation 
of the original marketing order? 

Biane: Yes, during my time with Fruit Industries I was 

involved in the starting of the Wine Institute and 
also laying the groundwork in the pattern of the 
marketing order, which turned into the Wine Advisory 
Board, and I have been associated very closely with 
both organizations all my life. They, in my opinion, 
have been very beneficial to the grape grower as 
well as the wine industry of the state of California. 

I think the marketing order has been one of the 
more successful marketing orders, where you could 
actually point to the benefits derived, compared to 
any of our marketing orders that we might have in 
the state. We have many of them. I have been a 
member for many years of the Wine Advisory Board. 

Teiser: Was there much opposition to it originally? 

Biane: Well, let me put it this way, it s an order that has 
to be renewed every three years. 

Teiser: There was one year when it was only renewed for one. 

Biane: That was because of the uncertainty of what the 
assessment should be. 

Teiser: Was there dlssention over the assessment of dessert 
wines as compared to table wines? 

Biane: That s right. 

So if it had not been a successful program it 
would not have been renewed every year, because it 
is renewed by vote of vintners and growers. I say 
it was successful because we have had it for so many 
years. The money has been well-shepherded and it 
has been well placed. It has been done by the efforts 
of the board and it s been done very seriously. I 


Biane: You Just can t bypass the fact that sufficient 
monies to carry on certain work is always desirable. 

Teiser: So things, on the whole, seem to be going ahead? 

Biane: Oh, yes. They are going ahead very rapidly now. 

We have finally reached the very enviable position 
of the demand catching up with the supply of grapes. 
For many, many years we have always had an oversupply 
of grapes in the state of California. That oversupply 
existed in the three segments of the industry, in 
the raisins, in the table grapes and in the wine. 
Today, we are in balance not because of the frost 
that we had, because the frost just hit certain areas 
of the state and primarily in the wine grapes. So 
I think at the present time, the demand now being 
created for especially wine is exceeding the planting 
that is going on, from the standpoint of good wine 

We ve had a lessening of the planting of the 
Thompson Seedless in the San Joaquin Valley. That 
is a healthy position. And the table grapes haven t 
been over-planted in the last few years, so that is 
healthy. There haven t been many years in my career 
of working in the wineries where this type of 
situation existed, and it is very comforting. 

Teiser: That ends the list of subjects that I have, but 

perhaps there are things that you think should be 
mentioned in addition. 

Biane: Well, in ending, I would like to state that the 

people that I ve been associated with all my life 
have worked hard, very hard and for me now to see 
this very successful phase, where there is a demand 
for our products and there is an acceptance of our 
products and that we are not looked down upon, has 
been very gratifying. 

The wine business of the United States not only 
California, but all the wine business of all of our 
states that are making wine has now moved into its 
rightful position of being a very honorable profession, 
and not only that, one that is looked upon with envy 
because it is a profession that lends itself to the 
dignity of man. We are using things that are made 
available to us the grapes, the sunshine, the water 
everything that is involved in wine making. You 

Blane: create something from this that is enjoyed by the 
masses. It s gratifying. 

I am thankful that I have endured long enough 
to see this take place, because for many years I 
didn t know if we were going to make it or not. 

Transcribers: Betty Dubravac, Arlene Weber 
Final typist: K. Sugimoto 



> : 

in the 13,500 Mesa Grande district of 
f< :i;v-hD California has been zoned primarily for the 
(;f,;iuction of a wide variety of tree crops and vineyards. 

This determination was based on in depth studies 
v:! . 1 (,y ^;;ronomists and soil engineers before devel- 
- ; -fnt of the land was commenced. Experience of 
!. .-.ffs during the subsequent four yc t irs has confirmed 
r -pinions of the experts. 

lif^t commercial harvest of lemons was in January 

1909. Valencia oranges were ready to harvest a few 

"~i tt-.v, i.itrr. Grapefruit and other citrus is on its way. 

>!", .ivocndos and walnuts are making excellent 

I .oil! R.mcho California and a major California vint- 

( ,ivf conducted extensive test plantings of grapes. 

; i.i.irly those ki jwii ,.s the "Napa VaMey varieties" 

; !-i li.c i>roil:i(.ti .m of fino quality table wines. Re- 

; cf t .i-M tesis h.ive boon termed "highly success- 

f l mtiiiijb no,v hsve been extended to a broad 

ii- h.isis. 

" --Jily dc^irdl)!..- acic. ige currently is> available in 

this area for the planting of citrus and other tree crops. 
for the development of vineyards, and for other com 
patible uses. 

Approximately half the Mesa Grande acreage has 
been acquired by professional growers and investor- 
owners. More than 1,000 acres are in production. 
Among the owners are individuals, partnerships, syndi 
cates and even publicity-owned corporations. 

Many buyers have been attracted to Rancho Cali 
fornia by the pleasant and relaxing "Country Commun 
ity" atmosphere which it offers. The entire 87.500 acres 
(three times the size of San Francisco) remains pleas 
antly rural, yet you travel paved roads and enjoy aM the 
desirable utilities. 

For example, those who live in this "Country Com 
munity" enjoy access to 50 milc-s of well-maintained 
bridle trail--,. They can fish in Vail Lake, one of the finest 
bass lakes in the State. They have at their disposal the 
facilities of the Plaza area with its interesting shops 
as well as beauty shop, barber shop, market, bank. 
gas station, restaurant, motel, and other necessities. 


O T) 
X > 


























Hnncho California is owned by subsidiaries of Kaiser 
Ali.mmum & Chemical Corporation. Kaiser Industries 
Corporation and Mdcco Corporation. 

Mer-a Grande is in the Northeasterly section adjoining 
Rancho California Road approximately 5 to 9 miles East 
of Hip.hway 395. 

Parcels unge in si<:e from ?0 acres; terrain varies fiom 
level to hilly. 

All landowners are members of the Rancho California 
Water District. Current water price is $20 per acre foot 
for agricultural water. 

Electricity to be supplied by Southern California Edison 
Co. Sewers are not required. Butane or propane g^s 

Architectural controls on improvements. Restrictions 
preclude dairies, trailer parks, hog ranchr;^, certain 
poultry operations and other unattractive uses. Other 
restrictions cover setback lines, signs and fencing. 

Purchase prices range from $1,100 to $1,900 per acre. 

M-3 (master holding zone-Riverside County). Allow:-. , 
agricultural uses not prohibited by deed restrictions. 

?b% down, balance amortized monthly over ten years 
at 7 , ? % interest; discounts are available for cash 

Dependent upon the terrain, virtually all agricultural 
uses including citrus, avocados, row crops, grapes, de 
ciduous fruits and dry farming. Best land use is soph 
isticated agriculture and offers excellent investment 

f . ..nt.ents of 110 feet on primary roads; 88 feet on 
vuirKlaiy roods. Rojdi wil! initially be constructed on 
-i toot graded section with portion:-, being surfaced 
.<r,(J (V- dicjilLd to the County. 

Visit Coldwell, [Banker & Company sales offices optn 
daily in the Visitor Center located in the Ranrho Cali 
fornia Plaza, just east of Highway 395. one mile north 
of Ternecula. Telephone (714) 676 2541. 

ict .ii C.iiifornn is !>/.f>"0 inast(-r-p!jnn"d acres of Southern California countryside with large areas developed for thorojf i- 
CM tiirs? ranches, citrur, tind avocado proves, vineyards, dairy farms, row ond f O-k! crops and other diversified ar.ricui ur il arras h.wu been developed fo r commercial, residential, fccieali iiial and light industry use. 

Price List 

O/,/> CIMST/, CA 

Brookside "Under 3 Flags" Lore Part oi Siate s Heritage 

I his is tli.- vr.i i- that the citi/ens of San 
! >> ...i .in ( , I, lir.iting the 2IK)th anniversary 
il i!i. i. i itx\ founding. 

( .lili.iM.i s Wine Institute also has pro- 
,1 ,1 1 K.y as "the bicentennial of wine 

. : . .. Ill ( .lIllOTIll.l." 

July H> I7ti ), l- alher Junipero Serra for- 
m.illv I Mimlid A/iv/mi dc S<m Diego do 
\. i ii/ .-. simultaneously Caspar de Portola 
r.i!s:l I lie .Spanish Hag at the military 

An inli i;ial task at the new mission was 
tin- pi. :-.!ii .-. ol vineyards tor the production 
nl vn i Min-nt.d wines to be used in the trndi- huich rites. Hence, the "birth" of 
( .ihliiini i wines. 

I .ith i Si ;i:i founded eight more missions In- death in 17M, the ninth being 
Wnic-u i/i-/ C.loriow ()/<iv;io Cardinal i/ 
/<< . IIT Si ni/ico //r / lglc\ia San Kin iiti- 
u nltirn 

Sun Diego to Ventura 

l<\ eoini idenee, Hrooksidc Vineyard Com- 
p.inv s uineiies throughout Southern Cali- 
fiiini.i i.mge from San Uiego to Ventura in 
tin ti .nlh. 

HiimVsTile. xvhich is celebrating its own 
I iTlh .iiniiversary, is iiiiique in that it has 
i>|Vi.tted (onlinuously under the same farn- 
ilv TH.III .. .-ment since 1S.32. This is remark- 
.il.le sim-c history shows that our vintners 
h M- s -r\i-d the public and clergy while 
California was under three flags Mexico s 
(IS22.1.SI8). the California "Bear" (\S4fi- 
KVM.diid the United States ( 1S50). 

Rrcioksidv s Beginning 

On the island of Oleron off the coast of 
l- iaix i s District, the Vache fam 
ily \\.is noted for its vineyards and winery. 
I. m. d bx ||,,- \,.\ v \\orkl Theophile Vaclie 
Milid around the Horn to California in 
IMO. Mi- established a wine business and 
pl.itili-d the historic- Valliant N ineyards near 
^iii ,1 ian H.mtista, inland from Monterey 

He x\.is later joined by three nephews 
.iml tin- family became well-knoxvn as vint- 
"is in I., K Angeles, Kcdlands, and other 
.11 h < .ihfornia settlements. 

E \v;,vr PRESS 

a jvi/i/iVKiioii of 

Kia v iKsrnr: \~I\-K: MID COWA\Y 

(.-..-. / /.:... i:,,,iiti. Calif inlt 

ul i "i-:> ><! >:< :;M ,v. /.,, ci.-iuv:rt 

i- <-.. . /.<u Angela U.Ut*. Address niil 
I. ttlitot." J) T!/ /urri/j 

Another I Vench \\-ineinaker, Marins Biane, 
married nepheu- Adolphe Vac-he s daughter 
Marcelline. Nfarins son Philo is today presi 
dent of Brookside Vineyard Company and, 

"K - 


in a continuation of the Bordeaux heritage, 
his sons Michael and Pierre and nephew 
Rene arc fifth-generation members of the 
winegrowing family. 

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BROOKSIIJE V1\EYARI) COMPAW was 72 years old when this cintaRe photograph itm (dtfn in 
"downtown" Lot Angeles. While the renf.on for f/iiv withering nf honctew carriages hni been /rn; >iith 
the pawape of time, it is apparent that the driver of the Brookside Vineyard s "company cur" is- ac\ttfbi 
aware of the photographer s presence. The year: 190-1. The place: Broadway between 8tli and <jtl> streets. 


ITAUA\ \ l\l .) ,\ni) COMI A\\ iin.v //ic nmfl Italian immigrant Srrondo Cna\ti wne to the wini-- 
maktng rntfrpriH hi 1 c<ttahti\hfd in SfUl Hnnurdinii Connttj at the turn of the rrn/im/. At onr linif\ 
/lis .5,000 nr r.-.v </ i-.tapca ita.v i/ic icorld t \nrurxt rinryanl. The community of Old f. iiruri in (/ir /ir</r< 
/ (/ ttncyanlt ic.v named in his memory. It ii now the "home" of BtttokMc Viiuijanl Company 
Which a- cs its auard-winninK U ines in the world s largest underground old stone u-inr cellar. 

\\ |NK l.vsl I l I ll: PlKITIV 

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PREeeings ... 

OIK- of tin- prime objectives of the Wine 
/ ir.v.v is to provide news and background 
information as entertainingly as possible. 
In dealing, as we have for the past few 
\iars, \\ith the eomplcx subjects of viti- 
ciillure anil oeiiologv and stalislics the Wine 
/ icvv has hud lo be read.ible and under 
viand. ihli lo the ,i\ < i.u .r reader. 

It HIM wineirlieit of n surprise, llicn, to 
ri i i tithj iricii v a conilttiininition from the 
Institute nf Scientific Information of the 
CSS/f .\ctnlciny of Srfcnrc* in Moscow. In 
ashina for hack miirs and inclusion on the 
Wine Press ttUltllnH list, the Institute icnVc.v: 

"\\ e receive more than 17.000 journals 
published in 100 countries of the world. 
\\ e are dying to supply our readers with 
maximum information about the latest 
achievements in science and technology. 

"Vour journal icill be studied carefully 
nilh the fine of revictcin" it in our Ab 
stracts } out nal. " 

\Vc complied, at the time feeling that 
han might have been misguided as to what 
Urooksidc Vineyard Company s quarterly 
really is. On second thought, we were re 
minded that librarians of other scientific 
institutions, universities, hospitals, and re 
search organizations also have requested 

Rear/lout irhat nc have repeatedly noted: 
\Vinr is a vubjcct of universal interest. 

Condoli iices to Irv Marcus whose excel 
lent and authoritative U l iicv i- Vines maga- 
/ine was referred to by AttvcrtMny. .\<: 
as a "trade publication for the /wiring 

Fans of "Believe It or Not" and "Strange 
as it Seems" items are sure to be disap 
pointed in a recent report from Corsica. 
According to the French Center of Sub 
marine Archaeology, a diver discovered a 
2000-year-old Homan wine jar in the depths 
of the Mediterranean, opened it, took a sip 
of the wine and it was awful. 

m Wines 


BKKL/.KIU. B .S BF.AN S air liot and devilishly good. Fry four diced slices of 
bacon in a goud-si/cd skillet. \dd :: green pepper, diced, and one oniori, thinly 
sliced. Slir i .n live minutes u] ile cooling. Add I cups cooked red kidnex beans, 
1 cup tomato eiiilliks, i poun 
.spoon chili pov\(!i r. i c:np I m 

or Brooksidc Salted Burgundy conking wine may be substituted; if so, omit sail 
when preparing). 

1 c.ralcd 1 armesan cheese, ! cup catsup, 1 t.ible- 
uksidi 1 Buiguncly, salt lo t.isli- and .stir Ilioroughly. 
)i 10 minutes. (Note 1 : Brookside s Cooking Magic: 


BHANOV BALLS are toothsome! Tom 4 cup Assumption Abbey (or Biookside 
or A.H. Morrow) Brandy over 2 cups finely-crushed vanilla wafers. Melt 12 /.. 
semi-sweet chocolate bits, then blend in 2 3 cup sweetened condensed n.iH Add 
chocolate mixture to crumb niixiuve. Shape into balls, roll in finely-chopped nuts. 
Wrap balls individually in foil or plastic wrap, store for seven days to "marry." 
Ser\ c and enjoy. 

Ty Intu. 521 N. U Citnega Boulevard. Lot Angeles 90048 

Telephone (213) 652-96(0 

Repfesenlin; Biookside Vintyaid Company, Old Guasti. 
and its Betail Sales Cellars Tallin; Rooms 

Hit "I" ! 

coom n 

IliSO Will 

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KIOSS CuilHijk.iy 

iscomno- i 

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1101 til HIT 

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INDEX Philo Biane 

Adams, Hall, 24, 28A 

Adams, Hugh, 24, 28A 

Aime, Joe, 53-54 

Almaden [Vineyards], 75, 86, 90 

Alta Vineyards, 18 

altar wine, 50 

Ambassador (label), 29 

Ambassador Reserve (label), 29 

Amerine, Maynard A., 44 

As sumpt ion Abbey (label), 68 

Asti Rouge (label), 33 

Ballantyne, J. N. , 16 

Bare, Jack V., 14, 16, 24 

Barlotti, James A., 17, 45 

Barton, Dr. Benjamin, 2 

Berg, Harold, 44 

Berkeley Bank for Cooperatives, 13, 14, 51, 52, 88 

Biane, Prank [Francois] J. , 3, 16, 33, 43, 47, 49, 53 

Biane, Marius, 2, 3, 6, 10, 33, 43, 44, 46, 47, 49, 53, 54 

Biane, Michael, 43 

Biane, Pierre, 43 

Biane, Rene, 43 

Block, Sydney J. , 33 

brandy, 25-27, 68 

Brookside (label), 68 

Brookside Estate (label), 68 

Brookside Vineyard Company, 43, 53 and passim 

Brookside Winery, passim 

Brown, E. M. , 9 

California Vineyardists Association, 5 

California Wine Association, 10, 12, 13, 15, 22, 29, 33, 48, 

^9, 59, 52, 55, 89 
Calistoga Valley Cooperative, 14 
Cameo Vineyards, 18 
Canadian Wineries, Ltd., 8 
carbonated wines, 67 
Cella, J. B. [John Battista] , 46 
Cerrito (label), 12 
Charmat, Eugene, 14, 46 
Charmat process, 14-15, 45, 46 
Chavez, Cesar, 79 


Cherokee Vineyard Association, 14, 16 

Cher ski, Emll, 9, 16, 49 

Christian Brothers, 9, 26, 64, 86, 8? 

Commodity Credit Corporation, 13, 51, 88 

Community Brandy (label), 25 

Community Grape Corporation, 4, 12, 16 

Community Grape Products, 14, 25 

Conn, Donald D. , 4, 5 

cooking wines, 70-71 

cooperage, 34-39 

Cruess, William V., 44 

Cucamonga Growers Association, 50 

Cucamonga Growers [Cooperative] Winery, 3, 14, 16, 49 

Cucamonga Vineyard Company, 46 

D Arcy, George, 46 

Delano Growers Co-op Winery, 14, 16 

de Latour family, 19 

Dimatels family, 19, 21 

Eleven Cellars (label), 29 
Ellena, Claudio, 21 
Enders, Vic, 8 
Eoff , John R. , 8 

Federal Land Bank, 13, 51, 52, 88 
Peil, George W. , 16 

Fellers, , 9 

F.I. (labeTTT 12 

Filippl Vintage Company, 72, 73 

Florin Winery Association, 16 

Fromm & Sichel, 26 

Fruit Industries [Ltd.], 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 

16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 28, 28A, 29, 33, *&, ^5, ^6, 49, 51, 


Gallo, [Ernest], 29, 66, 86, 87 

Garrett & Company, 2, 6, 7, 9, 17, 18, 22, 24, 47 

Garret t, Paul, 3, 24 

Giulii, Nicola, 16 

Golden State (label), 33 

Goldthwaite, Beverly W. , 18 

Greystone (label), 12 

Guasti (label), 12, 50 


Guantl , Secondo, Jr., 1? 
Guastl, Secondo, Sr. , 16, 21, 31, 45 
Guasti, Mrs. Secondo, Sr. , 16, 17, 22 
Guild Wine Company, 18 

Heublein, Inc., 30, 52, 75, 90 
Hofer family, 54 

Italian Swiss Colony, 3, 9, 22 

Italian Vineyard Company, 3, 7, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 
33, 40, 45, 46, 54 

Jones, Lee, 14 

Joslyn, Maynard, 44, 67 

Kershaw, Paul, Jr., 71 
Kiggens, W. L. , 16 
Klusman, George, 48 
Klusman, Henry, 48 
Klusman, John H. , 2, 47, 48 

La Pourcade family, 19 

Lanza, Horace 0., 9, 14, 17, 18 

Lodi Cooperative , 14 

Lodi Winery, 16 

Martin, William [Bill], 28A 

Masson, Paul [Winery], 75, 86, 87 

Mills Winery, 71, 72 

Mirassou family, 19 

Morrow, A. R. , 10, 11, 24, 28A, 48, 49 

Morrow, A. R. (label), 25 

Napa Valley Cooperative, 14 
National Distillers, 75, 90 

Olmo, H. P., 23 


pasteurization, 36 

Perelli-Minetti, A., 16, 1? 

Perelli-Minetti, A. & Sons, 14, 16 

Perelli-Minetti brothers, 6 

Perelli-Minetti, Mario, 28A, 48 

Petri family, 29 

phylloxera, 61, 81 

Pioneer Vineyard Association, 5^ 

Post & Klusman winery, 2, 6, 22, 4? 

Post, Morton, 47 

Production Credit Association, 13, 51, 52, 88 

Prohibition, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 13, 14, 28, 33, 44, 47 

prorate, 25 26 

Hancho California, 56-61, 77, 78, 82-84 

Rancho del Oso, 14, 16 

Repeal, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 44 

Riboli, Steve, 73 

Roma Wine Company, 46 

Rossi, Edmund, 37 

Rossi family, 3, 9, 14 

San Antonio Winery, 72, 73 

San Gabriel Vineyard [winery] , 19 

Seagram s, 26 

Setrakian, A. , 18 

Shelf ord, Lee, 16 

Shewan- Jones, 9, 14 

Shinn, Elmer J. , 16 

Snyde, Fred, 16 

Sonoma County Cooperative Winery, 14, 16 

sparkling wines, 68 

Spooner, W. A., 16 

Strud, Stanley, 16 

sulfur dioxide, 37, 38 

Taylor, Walter E. , 4, 5, 11, 12, 24, 28A 
United Vintners, 29, 52 

Vache, Adolphe [Adolph] , 2, 20 
Vache, Emile, 1, 2 
Vache, Marceline, 2 


Vache, Theophile, 1, 19, 20 

Vach6, Theophile II, 2, 20 

Vai brothers, ?, 15, 21 

Val brothers winery, 46 

Vai, Jim, 21 

Vai, John, 21 

Victor Hugo (label), 25 

Vignes, Jean Louis, 19, 20 

Vina Vista [investment company], 18 

Vine-Glo [label], 8 

Virgina Dare (label), 3, ? 

Virgina Dare Winery, 2, 3. See also Garrett & Company 

Weller, L. R. , 3 

Wente, Karl, 8? 

Willebrandt, Mabel [Walker], 4 

Windeler, George, Company, 3^ 

Wine Advisory Board, 89, 90 

Wine Growers Guild, 18, 52 

Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, 24 

Wine haven, 10 

Winehaven (label), 12 

wine tonics, 7 

Winkler, A[lbert] J. , 44, 80 

Woodbridge Vineyard Association, 14, 16 

Wines Mentioned in the Interview 

"Black Velvet", 64 

champagne, 5, 14, 15, 33, V5, 66 

"Chateau La Salle", 64 

Chenin blanc, 83 

"Dido Noir", 64 

"Golden Rose", 64, 6? 

"Hausmarke Rhine", 64 

"Hausmarke Rote", 64 

Johannisberg Riesling, 83 

"Livingston Sherry", 66 

Malvasia bianca, 65 

Manischewitz (wine), 3 

Mo gen David wine, 3 

Petite Sirah, 83 

port , 69 

"Rose Suave", 64 


"St. Emilion", 65 

sherry, 66 

sherry, flor, 65, 66 

Tokay, 65 

"Vertdoux Blanc", 64 

"Vino Rosado", 6^-65, 6? 

"Virglna Dare", 3 

Grape Varieties Mentioned in the Interview 

Blue Elba, 6 
Burger , 6 
Cabernet, 60 
Carlgnane, 28, 77 
Chardonnay , 60 
Chenln blanc, 60, 82 
Emerald Riesling, 60 
Golden Chasselas, 6 
Johannisberg Riesling, 60 
labrusoa* 3 
muscadine, 81 
muscat, 28, 55 
Mataro , 6 
Mission, 6 
Pedro Ximenes, 77 
Plnot noir, 60 
Riesling, 60 
Scuppernong, 3 
Thompson Seedless, 91 
Zinf andel , 6 

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. 

13 4594