In the early decades of the 20th century, California faced the progress of the Prohibition movement. The rise of the dry front was parallel to the development of the winemaking business and of the arrival of Italian immigrants in the state. Italian winemakers, being concerned that the winegrowing business might be damaged by the Prohibition movement, started to organize. Andrea Sbarboro, founder of the Italian Swiss Colony, was one of the most prominent anti-prohibitionist in California. He committed himself to defending wineries and vineyards; his views were reported in articles and pamphlets. Sbarboro was not alone in his struggle against Prohibition. In San Francisco his words were echoed by Il Monitore Californiano, an Italian-American journal openly supporting the winemakers. Italians of California generally presented wine as a product of culture, consumed in countries such as Italy and France, where it was held as a key element of tradition and nutrition. Their opposition to the prohibition laws was not only due to the interests of the industry, but was also a cultural statement, therein promoting the consumption of wine instead of teetotalism as the solution to the perceived problem of alcohol in the United States. Even if the struggle against Prohibition was unsuccessful, the Italian-Americans of California contributed to the development of a new wine culture, largely based on a positive idea of Italy.

“Fresh Water Triumphs”: The Italian American Wine Industry’s Struggle against Prohibition in California

PINNA, PIETRO
2018

Abstract

In the early decades of the 20th century, California faced the progress of the Prohibition movement. The rise of the dry front was parallel to the development of the winemaking business and of the arrival of Italian immigrants in the state. Italian winemakers, being concerned that the winegrowing business might be damaged by the Prohibition movement, started to organize. Andrea Sbarboro, founder of the Italian Swiss Colony, was one of the most prominent anti-prohibitionist in California. He committed himself to defending wineries and vineyards; his views were reported in articles and pamphlets. Sbarboro was not alone in his struggle against Prohibition. In San Francisco his words were echoed by Il Monitore Californiano, an Italian-American journal openly supporting the winemakers. Italians of California generally presented wine as a product of culture, consumed in countries such as Italy and France, where it was held as a key element of tradition and nutrition. Their opposition to the prohibition laws was not only due to the interests of the industry, but was also a cultural statement, therein promoting the consumption of wine instead of teetotalism as the solution to the perceived problem of alcohol in the United States. Even if the struggle against Prohibition was unsuccessful, the Italian-Americans of California contributed to the development of a new wine culture, largely based on a positive idea of Italy.
THE ITALIAN AMERICAN REVIEW
PINNA PIETRO
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/631673
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