America's Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition

 
 
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Project History

Photo, The Bancroft Library, Posing at Picnic

The Bancroft Library, one of the largest and most esteemed special collections libraries in the United States, is located within the University of California, Berkeley, California. With a core collection that encompasses the history of California and the West, it also houses the Mark Twain Papers and Project, the Center for Tebtunis Papyri, the Rare Books Collection, the University of California Archives, the History of Science and Technology Program and the Regional Oral History Office. ROHO’s California Wine Industry Collection has continued expanding, with images and documentation dating back to the mid-19th century.

To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of National Prohibition’s Repeal in 1933, the Bancroft Library embarked on its first original documentary film in 2004. The subject was the legacy of Prohibition, with a particular focus on the wine community. Former CNN Producer, Carla De Luca Worfolk, who proposed the project, began working closely with noted Food and Wine Historian, Dr. Victor W. Geraci, and her past CNN colleagues - Larry Woods, a former CNN National Correspondent for more than twenty years, and Kari Birdseye, a former CNN Executive Producer for ten years - to develop the project.

Photo, The Bancroft Library, Buena Vista

The documentary brings to life never-before-seen archival photographs and film clips, and features nearly 40 original interviews including those who experienced Prohibition, historians, legendary winemakers, wine executives, legal scholars, members of Congress and public policy experts. It also highlights the last videotaped interviews with Robert Mondavi and Brother Timothy, and the last public appearance of Ernest Gallo. In addition, the historical nature of the story dictated archival searches for images and background research in libraries throughout the country, including the Library of Congress, National Archives, UC library system, media organizations, museums, wine libraries and private family collections. Photo, The Bancroft Library, Bank of Italy

The project’s fundraising campaign, which has raised more than $400,000, has taken place under the auspices of the Regents of the University of California. It has featured a gala Bancroft Library event and private solicitations through the Friends of the Bancroft Library, which includes many individuals, companies and foundations.

The first screening of the feature-length documentary was held at a private event at UC Berkeley’s Dwinelle Hall on October 23, 2008. Read about upcoming screenings.

The Bancroft Library and producers of the film are grateful to the many talented media professionals who supported this effort, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area. Beyond Pix Studios managed the documentary’s production and post-production. Polarity Post Audio Production performed the sound engineering and sound design, and Video Arts- San Francisco provided an additional on-line facility and final mastering.


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