Category: Wine Country Postcards

Wine Country Postcards

Dive into the world of historic wine postcards! Gail Unzelman takes us into the past through the lens of incredible and beautiful postcard artwork.


Wine Country Postcard Stories: Turrill & Miller (Part 1)

Some of the prettiest, and earliest, postcard views documenting the pre-Prohibition California wine industry are those published from photographs taken by Turrill & Miller. And all of them that are in my collection have been immediate and longtime favorites. I recently stumbled upon an online site of The Society of California Pioneers, San Francisco, that features the photographic work of Turrill & Miller, especially their wine country images. It’s a great story.

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Wine Country Postcard Stories: Turrill & Miller (Part 2)

Including the “Beautiful California :: Wine Industry” series, there are some two dozen postcards in my California Wine Country collection that can be identified as Turrill & Miller photographic images — all are in Sonoma or Napa counties. Also, there are probably another dozen or so not bearing a Turrill & Miller imprint that could well be from their camera. The California Pioneers online video “survey” titled “An Escape to Wine Country” presents about three dozen images; it is not clear how many became postcards. There are about twice as many Napa images (29), and I have fifteen of them as known postcards. A thorough survey of the T & M photographic wine country archive (550+images) at the Society would be a valuable endeavor. In the meantime, traveling first to the Sonoma County area, here is a fine showing, with good stories.

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Wine Country Postcard Stories: The Multiple Lives Of Greystone Cellars: A Busy Story

For the half-century of its modern life, most people have commonly referred to the magnificent, mammoth stone wine structure just north of St Helena in Napa Valley as Christian Bros Wine & Champagne Cellars. Historians readily call it by its birth name, Greystone. The years in between were busy years. Within a decade of its completion in 1889 by Bourn & Wise Wine Co, Greystone began its succession of property owners. In 1894 Charles Carpy, a Napa Valley wine pioneer and power in the industry, acquired it. When Carpy became a founding member of the giant California Wine Association that year, so did Greystone.

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Wine Country Postcard Stories: Here’s To Grapes And Wine – A Salute To Toasting Postcards

Toasting is one of our oldest social customs, evolving from prehistoric ritual, to royal banquets, to conviviality and friendship, to romance and love. Though the custom is ancient, the word “toast” dates back only to 17th century England, where it was used specifically to describe drinking to the ladies.

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Wine Country Postcard Stories: Surprising Advertising

The California Wine Industry has embraced the use of postcards since their introduction in the U.S. in 1898 as an efficient, expressive tool to publicize their wines. The postcard front picture-image could be the winery itself, or the vineyard, cellar, tasting room, bottles of wine, or any other wine scene identifying a specific winery — with room on the back for a message and the address for mailing.

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Wine Country Postcard Stories: Wine Wonders At Italian-Swiss Colony, ASTI | Part 2

Officially, Madonna del Carmine, or El Carmelo to the parishioners, the chapel was dedicated in 1909. Before this blessed day the devoutly Catholic Asti community attended church in Cloverdale until 1893, and then fourteen years in the Asti schoolhouse. Winemaker Pietro Rossi, their beloved leader and CEO of ISC, promised them they would have a church. In 1908 work was begun on his plan to remodel the old, unused greenhouse on the property.

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Wine Country Postcard Stories: Wine Wonders At Italian-Swiss Colony, ASTI | Part 1

In 20th Century California wine lore, there is probably no winery more famous, more advertised, or more visited than Italian-Swiss Colony in northern Sonoma County, 85 miles north of San Francisco. Established in 1881, its 2500-acre site was located on the gentle slopes of the Russian River Valley between Geyserville and Cloverdale on the line of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. They called it Asti. The agricultural colony was the brainchild of Andrea Sbarboro (1840–1923), a prosperous S.F. businessman who felt the need to help his fellow Italian immigrants in the depressed business conditions of the day.

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Wine Country Postcard Stories: Russian River Wine Lore At Korbel

Sonoma County’s 115-mile Russian River is a vital Northern California resource and its “Russian River Valley” is a premier American Viticultural Appellation, established in 1983. Flowing from its headwaters to the north near Ukiah in Mendocino Co, it meanders in every direction through the heart of wine country to make its way to the Sonoma Coast and the Pacific Ocean. The beloved River provides essential water for residential and agricultural uses, and has been a San Francisco Bay Area popular summer vacation destination since the 1860s.

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