CITY NEWS AND NOTES
5
This waxed-paper wrapped, 85 year-old object is a one-pound
block of dehydrated grapes. It was primarily used for home wine-
making. Unknown thousands of wine grape bricks were produced in
the late 1920s by Marius Biane at the Italian Vineyard Co. in Guasti,
California. They were shipped by rail all over the United States. Wine
grape bricks were mainly available for sale in drug stores along with other
elixirs. When dissolved in water, they were marketed as a healthy fruit drink.
As a young lad, René Biane remembers seeing wine grape bricks being dehydrated within
expansive wooden molds in a huge warehouse at the vineyard. He states, "Known as a ‘wine grape
brick,’ this particular product was made during Prohibition, probably 1928 or 1929. It was composed
primarily of California dried fruit along with sugar. The idea was to soak in warm water, dissolve same.
Fermentation would take place in about two weeks, you would then have wine. How good it was is again
questionable, but it was 13% alcohol. However, it states clearly on the label that the use of this product was illegal."
Wine historians believe this wine grape brick, housed within the permanent collection at
Museum of History and Art
, is the only one known in
existence. Call
(909) 395-2510
for further information.
One of a Kind
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