Pamphlet, “A Wine Tasting,” Claremont Hotel, 1952

This pamphlet accompanied a special fundraising event, a wine tasting held for “the pleasure and edification of the members and friends of Cottonwood Branch of the Children’s Hospital of the Eastbay,” at San Francisco’s Claremont Hotel on October 24, 1952. It featured three of the major wine producers in California at the time: Korbel Champagne (Sonoma County), Louis M. Martini (Napa Valley), and Wente Bros., (Livermore Valley).
In the 1950s, most Americans were still unfamiliar with wine, one of the legacies of national Prohibition, which outlawed the production, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages from 1919 to 1933. Although home winemakers were allowed to make up to 200 gallons for their own use per year, commercial production by professional vintners was largely suspended (exceptions were made for sacramental and medicinal wines). By Repeal in 1933, Americans’ taste for dry table wine was but a distant memory. While it took many years for wineries to resume production, it also took time to reintroduce Americans to the idea of enjoying wine with a meal. Various industry organizations and wine producers were experimenting with ways to do this and wine tastings guided by well-known winemakers became an effective way of educating people.
The pamphlet advises attendees on how to approach wine through the senses of sight, smell, and taste: “Do these things and know the thrill of discovering for yourself the love of that which is beautiful to the sight, good to the smell, and uncommon and interesting to the taste.” Pages devoted to each of the three producers—Korbel, Martini, and Wente—follow, as do the names and tasting notes of the 19 vintages included in the event.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 9 in x 4 1/16 in; 22.86 cm x 10.31875 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Work and Industry: Food Technology
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of the Wente Family Estate through Christine Wente

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