Grape Crate Label, Mont’Elisa

Grape Crate Label, Mont’Elisa

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By the 1880s, fruit growers and shippers were marking the ends of their wooden shipping crates with colorful paper labels made possible by advances in lithographic printing. The labels identified the source of the fruit, while the designs, images, and names helped encourage brand recognition among buyers. California growers used such labels on grape crates until the 1950s, when printed labels on corrugated cardboard boxes replaced the old wooden crates.
This label for Zinfandel grapes, branded “Mont’Elisa Beauty” along with an image of a pretty young girl, was used by the Riolo Brothers, Italian Americans who packed and shipped grapes out of Roseville, California, near Sacramento. The label boasts that the grapes were not irrigated, indicating a traditional approach to vineyard management called “dry farming,” a practice that concentrates the flavors in fruit.
Object Name
fruit crate label
date made
before 1950
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 4 7/16 in x 13 in; 11.27125 cm x 33.02 cm
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Nanci Edwards
See more items in
Work and Industry: Agriculture
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Food: Transforming the American Table
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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What were these grapes typically used for, and where were they sold? Were Zinfandel grapes typically table grapes at this time, or were these meant for home wine makers? I’v never seen table grapes marked as non-irrigated. Also, when was this made in relation to mid or post prohibition?

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