The Prohibition Era destroyed the burgeoning American wine industry, but home winemaking actually increased thanks to an obscure provision of the Volstead Act that allowed people to make 200 gallons of “nonintoxicating” cider and fruit juices each year. Unable to sell wine directly, many growers shipped grapes, grape concentrate, and compressed grape bricks directly to consumers. The bricks came with this helpful warning label:
Warning: Do not place this brick in a one gallon crock, add sugar and water, cover, and let stand for seven days or else an illegal alcoholic beverage will result.
That’s from Karen MacNeil’s Wine Bible, which I finally finished this weekend. Though 900 pages long, the writing is lively and interesting throughout and it’s a great resource for wine history and as a guide to the major regions. Highly recommended.