Concannon Vineyards Sherry Wine Bottle

Concannon Vineyards Sherry Wine Bottle

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This bottle once held Sherry produced by Concannon Vineyards in Livermore, California, in 1929, at the height of Prohibition in the United States. National Prohibition, the 18th amendment to the Constitution, was passed by Congress in January 1919 to prohibit the manufacture, transport, sale, export, and import of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Lasting almost 14 years (Repeal took effect on December 5, 1933), Prohibition had a tremendously negative impact on the American wine industry. Yet this Sherry was produced legally during Prohibition, due to an exception in the law, which permitted certain wineries to make wines for sacramental and medicinal purposes. The Concannon family made altar wine for the Catholic Church during this period.
The bottle includes a stamp indicating that taxes had been paid on the wine and the permit information: “Bonded Winery 616 / 11th Permissive Dist. Calif. / Permit Calif. A 854"
Concannon Vineyards was established by James Concannon, a native of County Galway, Ireland, who arrived in Boston in 1865 and San Francisco in 1878. As a rubber stamp salesman whose territory extended into Canada and Mexico, he was a well-traveled entrepreneur. In 1883 he bought 47 acres of land in California’s Livermore Valley and established vineyards there, with a winery to follow in 1895. James’s son Joseph took over the business and kept it going through Prohibition. By the 1950s another generation—Joseph Jr. and James (Jim)—were running the company. Although the winery has been owned by the Wente family since 1992, the Concannon family is still very much involved in the management of the operation. John Concannon is now the fourth generation vintner at his family’s historic vineyards and winery.
Object Name
bottle, wine
date made
place made
United States: California, Livermore
Physical Description
glass (bottle material)
paper (label material)
cork; glass; metal; paper (overall material)
overall: 9 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in; 24.13 cm x 6.35 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of James and John Concannon
See more items in
Work and Industry: Food Technology
Food: Transforming the American Table
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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