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Film Screening: America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition

January 17, 2020 |5:00 pm to 8:00 pm PST

America's Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition Documentary Film

In commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the beginning of Prohibition on January 17, 1920, the Wine History Project presents a screening of a rare and insightful film about the impact of Prohibition on California winemaking made by Carla De Luca in collaboration with the Bancroft Library and historian Victor W. Geraci. Prohibition profoundly impacted the lives of farmers and winemakers in San Luis Obispo County including Paderewski, the Busis, the Dusis, the Rottas, the Pesentis, the Yorks, and James Anderson.

This is the first time the America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition film has been screened in San Luis Obispo County.

After the film screening, the Wine History Project will host a dynamite panel of writers and producers responsible for writing, filming, and producing the documentary including Carla De Luca, Emmy Award-winning producer at CNN, Dr. Victor W. Geraci, former director of the Oral History Center at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, and Mary Orlin, James Beard and Emmy Award-winning multimedia wine journalist and educator. The panel will discuss the era of Prohibition and the impact it had on the wine industry in California.

Prior to the screening, the Wine History Project will host a reception featuring historic vineyards and wineries of San Luis Obispo County along with appetizers by Debra Collins of Del Monte Cafe.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please contact Karen Peterson at karen@winehistoryproject.org.


About the film America's Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition.

Runtime 55 minutes


The documentary brings to life never-before-seen archival photographs and film clips, and features nearly 40 original interviews including those who experienced Prohibition, historians, legendary winemakers, wine executives, legal scholars, members of Congress and public policy experts. It also highlights the last videotaped interviews with Robert Mondavi and Brother Timothy, and the last public appearance of Ernest Gallo. In addition, the historical nature of the story dictated archival searches for images and background research in libraries throughout the country, including the Library of Congress, National Archives, UC library system, media organizations, museums, wine libraries and private family collections.

Covering a span of one hundred years of winemaking up to the present day, the film tells the story of how the leading entrepreneurial wine families overcame obstacles to rebuild the American wine industry, which had been decimated after National Prohibition and its Repeal. From within this historical context, the film also explores the most significant news-making subject areas in today’s media that reveal Prohibition’s legacy: laws governing direct shipping of wine to consumers; scientific research that influences alcohol and health policy; and the changing global marketplace. By examining these topical issues, the documentary directly connects our past to our present, and explains how two Constitutional Amendments enacted decades ago – the 18th and 21st - continue to uniquely affect the production, distribution and commerce of alcoholic beverages throughout the 50 states and overseas.

The Bancroft Library embarked on this original documentary film in 2004. Former CNN Producer, Carla De Luca Worfolk, who proposed the project, began working closely with noted Food and Wine Historian, Dr. Victor W. Geraci, and her past CNN colleagues - Larry Woods, a former CNN National Correspondent for more than twenty years, and Kari Birdseye, a former CNN Executive Producer for ten years - to develop the project.


About the Bancroft Library

The Bancroft Library, one of the largest and most esteemed special collections libraries in the United States, is located within the University of California, Berkeley, California. With a core collection that encompasses the history of California and the West, it also houses the Mark Twain Papers and Project, the Center for Tebtunis Papyri, the Rare Books Collection, the University of California Archives, the History of Science and Technology Program and the Regional Oral History Office. ROHO’s California Wine Industry Collection has continued expanding, with images and documentation dating back to the mid-19th century.



January 17, 2020
5:00 pm to 8:00 pm PST
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Paso Robles Pioneer Museum
2010 Riverside Avenue
Paso Robles, CA 93446 United States
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Wine History Project
(805) 439-4647