Spitting Jug

This simple, ceramic jug was one of several used in the tasting room at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in California’s Napa Valley in the 1990s. Placed on the tasting room bar, it was available to patrons during the course of sampling a range of the winery’s products. When tasting many wines, it is often desirable to avoid palate overload or intoxication by not swallowing every drop in the pour. A taster may take a sip and note a wine’s aroma, flavor, complexity, mouthfeel, and finish before spitting out the sip or dumping the rest of the pour into the jug.
The idea of welcoming the public for tastings at California wineries grew out of the post-Prohibition push to promote and market the state’s wine. As early as 1934, the Beringers opened their Napa Valley winery to the public and, the following year, a speaker at the Conference of Vintners and Allied Interests suggested its members invite the public to learn about wine and “be imbued with [its] lore” by visiting actual vineyards and wineries. Peter and Robert Mondavi at Charles Krug opened a tasting room in 1949 and many others followed. As tourism in wine country expanded in the 1960s, wineries became more sophisticated about reaching new audiences through wine-related educational programs and experiences. By the end of the 20th century, winery tours, tastings, salesrooms, and events were essential parts of most winery business operations in California and in other wine regions around the country.
Object Name
jug, spitting
Physical Description
ceramic (overall material)
handmade (overall production method/technique)
overall: 20.7 cm x 11.5 cm; 8 5/32 in x 4 17/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
See more items in
Work and Industry: Food Technology
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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