University of California Berkeley
University of California Bancroft Library/Berkeley
Regional Oral History Office
WINE MAKING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND
RECOLLECTIONS OP FRUIT INDUSTRIES, LTD,
With an Introduction by
Maynard A. Amerine
An Interview Conducted by
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
TABLE OP CONTENTS Philo Biane
INTERVIEW HISTORY lv
THE VACHE FAMILY AND MARIUS BIANE 1
THE PROHIBITION YEARS AND FRUIT INDUSTRIES 3
THE POST-REPEAL YEARS 9
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WINERIES 19
BRANDY AND SURPLUSES 25
FRUIT INDUSTRIES CHANGES 29
ADVANCES IN EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY 3*f
GRAPE PICKING AND WINE HANDLING 4-0
THE BIANE FAMILY AND OTHER SOUTHERN CALIFORNIANS ^3
CLASSIFYING WINES 4-8
THE BROOKS IDE WINERY AND THE COOPERATIVE MOVEMENT 49
OLD AND NEW VINEYARD LAND 56
WINES AND THEIR MERCHANDISING 62
OTHER WINERY PRODUCTS ?0
MULTIPLE RETAIL SALESROOMS 71
THE WINE INDUSTRY OUTLOOK ?4
SMOG, URBANIZATION AND LAND UTILIZATION 77
RANCHO CALIFORNIA 82
OWNERSHIP PATTERNS AND INDUSTRY PRACTICES
GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY INSTITUTIONS
THE WINE INDUSTRY IN THE UNITED STATES TODAY
APPENDIX I RANCHO CALIFORNIA
APPENDIX II WINE LIST, 1971
(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.
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
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 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.
The Bancroft Library
University of California at Berkeley
6 September 1972
(Interview #1 - San Francisco, May 8, 1969)
THE VACHE FAMILY AND MARIUS BIANE
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
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 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.
THE PROHIBITION YEARS AND FRUIT INDUSTRIES
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
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
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
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
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.
THE POST-REPEAL YEARS
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
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?
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
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
Teiser: Did they for instance pool information about how to
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
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
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.
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
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.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WINERIES
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?
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
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
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
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
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
BRANDY AND SURPLUSES
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
Teiser; Christian Brothers went into it first in a big
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
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.
FRUIT INDUSTRIES CHANGES
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
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.
(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?
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
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
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
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
ADVANCES IN EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
GRAPE PICKING AND WINE HANDLING
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
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.
THE BIANE FAMILY AND OTHER SOUTHERN GALIPORNIANS
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
THE BROOKSIDE WINERY AND THE COOPERATIVE MOVEMENT
Teiser: Back to the Brookside Winery: when you returned, here
after serving with the California Wine Association
you returned in. . . ?
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
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
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.
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
Who then have been the principals in the Brookside
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
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?
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
OLD AND NEW VINEYARD LAND
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
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
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
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
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
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
WINES AND THEIR MERCHANDISING
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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.
OTHER WINERY PRODUCTS
Teiser: I m looking at the other products the wine vinegars
and cooking wines and Jellies on your list. Those
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.
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.
MULTIPLE RETAIL SALESROOMS
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
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
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
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
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.
THE WINE INDUSTRY OUTLOOK
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
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)
SMOG, URBANIZATION AND LAND UTILIZATION
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,
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
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
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
OWNERSHIP PATTERNS AND INDUSTRY PRACTICES
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
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
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?
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.
GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY INSTITUTIONS
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
**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
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- rci.il 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
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
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.
MESA GRANDE INFORMATION
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
Orh.cr arras h.wu been developed fo r commercial, residential, fccieali iiial and light industry use.
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-
inM.il huich rites. Hence, the "birth" of
( .ihliiini i wines.
I .ith i Si ;i:i founded eight more missions
In-l.ne 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-
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 llorde.mx 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,
in a continuation of the Bordeaux heritage,
his sons Michael and Pierre and nephew
Rene arc fifth-generation members of the
i f i
1 v vvv ^ ;
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.
PHOTO COUHTESV AMERICAN CEMFNT CCHIIIRATIOX.
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
J . "i *f*S VS _/ V
" -> .. . _!-. -tJr^y /i jl
- ^v^ Mk
il l!|| ! ffii - -
S= * Ej) S J *
^ x Cv-^V^-
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.
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
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" !
ICI 5.H1 liMtb
U!0 Wi.liingm !>
1101 til HIT
PA sun. A i
ISO [ill (.!.,.( i.,l,:
hill .1 C.ll Vill if.
2I w.lih,,. llit
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
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
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, flor, 65, 66
"Vertdoux Blanc", 64
"Vino Rosado", 6^-65, 6?
"Virglna Dare", 3
Grape Varieties Mentioned in the Interview
Blue Elba, 6
Burger , 6
Carlgnane, 28, 77
Chardonnay , 60
Chenln blanc, 60, 82
Emerald Riesling, 60
Golden Chasselas, 6
Johannisberg Riesling, 60
muscat, 28, 55
Mataro , 6
Pedro Ximenes, 77
Plnot noir, 60
Thompson Seedless, 91
Zinf andel , 6
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