OLD BOTTLE ART - ENO-NOSTALGIA Page 7
PAUL MASSON WINERY
Paul Masson came from Burgundy to California to work
for Charles LeFranc, who owned what became Almaden Vineyards. Masson
started his own business in the 1880s, purchasing property in the Santa Cruz
Mountains' area of Saratoga. It was the La Cresta property and Masson
imported cuttings from France and started a vineyard. He later married
LeFranc's daughter and was instrumental in marketing LeFranc's wines
Paul Masson was a viable brand of, at least, "decent" quality wine
back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Napa Valley was prominent, of
course, with brands such as Christian Brothers, Charles Krug, Beaulieu Vineyard
and Inglenook. Beringer Brothers was a long time producer, but its wines
had slipped in quality until its purchase by the Swiss company called
Meanwhile, Sonoma had Sebastiani as a major winemaking entity, along with the
huge Italian Swiss Colony brand.
In the Santa Clara Valley, the Almaden winery and Paul Masson were major
players. Mirassou was just getting started in those days and there were
some lovely fortified wines coming from the Richert winery in Morgan Hill and
Llords and Elwood over in Fremont (of all places!). Southern Santa Clara
County had a modest wine industry with the San Martin Winery cranking out nice
fruit wines and the Hecker Pass Highway had some old and new little
wineries. Mountain View was home to the Gemello Winery, a small cellar run
with great skill by Mario Gemello.
There was also a modest winery run by the Jesuit Brothers at the old Novitiate
Winery in Saratoga.
Paul Masson, though, was a very large California wine company and we pay tribute
to it here in our own small way.
Welles, who had done an ad for a Spanish Sherry, was enlisted by the Paul Masson
winery to be its spokesman. Welles would intone "We will sell no wine
before its time," which became extremely popular as an advertising
See Mr. Welles' ad for Paul Masson "Champagne," Click Here
See Outakes of Mr. Welles' ad where he's drunk,
See The Finished Ad Where He's Not Loaded, Click Here.
See Orson Welles "Beethoven" Ad for Paul Masson, Click Here.
Ad for Paul Masson Burgundy from 1980
Since you'll only have dinner once tonight, why not do it right the first time?
Paul Masson made wines from some U.C. Davis hybrid varieties. Rubion was
made of Ruby Cabernet, a cross of the prolific Carignane with the lower yielding
and more complex grape, Cabernet Sauvignon.
An old pamphlet featuring uses for wine...
Another version of the same...
A guide to Paul Masson's sparkling wines.
A magazine ad from 1973.
An ad for sparkling wine from 1970.
An old postcard showing a tour group at the old Paul Masson winery in Saratoga.
Here's an old letterhead from a New York-based wine company
which sold California wines...
The caption of the vineyard scene notes "3000 acre vineyard at Wineville,
Anybody have a clue where "Wineville" is or was?
To help sell these wines, many producers in Portugal would "bottle"
their ros wines in clay or stone flagons...some people thought these were a
The Cribari winery offered a range of "fortified" wines,
Black Pearl wine from Missouri...
Anaheim had a bottler of "Port" way back when!
From a French sparkling wine...
An early "critter" label!
Here's a ballsy label.
The Larkmead label still exists, but they no longer make
An old label of the Rocche Costamagna winery in the Barolo town of La Morra.
An old ad for "sherry" wines from Almaden.
Back in the 1980s, Souverain had a winery in Sonoma (originally called
"Chateau Souverain) and one in the Napa Valley.
Today the Sonoma facility is owned by Francis Ford Coppola and the Napa winery
is "Rutherford Hill."
A postcard from the early 1900s....the only Inglenook winery in Rutherford.
I wonder if this Arco Claret tasted anything like gasoline?
Bottled in San Francisco...
Nice old Brandy...
Here's an ad in a the "program" for the Golden
Gate Bridge "Fiesta"...the opening of the bridge in 1937.
Italian Swiss Colony took out an ad to invite people to cross the bridge and
visit their winery in Sonoma.
Jo-Berg as it used to be called.
Probably this was made by Hanns Kornell for Joe Heitz.
Pinot St. George was made by a number of wineries in Napa and Sonoma back in the
1950s and 1960s.
The grape is called Negrette in France and comes from the Fronton region...
We don't know much about the Beclan grape. There's an assessment of the
viability of Cabernet Sauvignon in the post-Prohibition era and a prominent UC
Davis viticulture expert said he thought Tannat, Petite Sirah and Beclan were
likely more commercially viable in California than Cabernet Sauvignon!!!
The grape is still planted in California apparently, but typically has been
found mixed in with other reds in, say, a Zinfandel field blend.
Our friends at the Pedroncelli winery had this cool design back in the 1970s, or
They used it a few years ago on a Zinfandel bottling which was done solely in
But we love this classic, retro design.
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