Way Back When: Island Winery Closing Down

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Way Back When: Island Winery Closing Down
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It was the end of an era on Santa Cruz Island (Image: courtesy of the Santa Cruz Island Foundation)

By Betsy J. Green

California had been “dry” since July 1 of 1919, and this caused a big adjustment for local vintners, even out on the Channel Islands where wine had been produced since the late 1800s. 

“The long-established wineries of Santa Cruz Island, 30 miles off the coast of this city, probably will be dismantled … and the vats, casks, and other equipment sold to South American companies.” [Spoiler alert – the entire United States would go dry in January, 1920.]

“There is on the island, one of the best collections of old handmade and hand-carved Spanish casks … The island’s present store of wine is being shipped to Japan.” The winery was not used again, and is currently being converted into a museum.


Betsy's Way Back When book -- 1919 -- is now available in local bookstores and at Amazon.com. This is the sixth book in her series of the history of Santa Barbara, one year at a time. Learn more at betsyjgreen.com​

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Flicka Nov 23, 2019 02:47 PM
Way Back When: Island Winery Closing Down

Interesting they didn't get on the bandwagon some other wineries did, making wine for religious use. That whole probation era was not terribly successful, plenty of "rum runners" to fill the void. But it did bring in the criminal element, like Al Capone, to make big money. At least it didn't last as long as the senseless laws against cannabis.

Factotum Nov 24, 2019 07:26 PM
Way Back When: Island Winery Closing Down

Women wanted prohibition because fathers were spending their pay checks and the bar and abandoning their families. So prohibition was not going against the will of the people. It just never got enforced which is why it failed and created a crime wave. Original intent is as sound as trying to prevent people getting stoned on pot and becoming slacker burdens on the rest of us.

a-1580125418 Nov 24, 2019 07:02 PM
Way Back When: Island Winery Closing Down

FLICKA - Almost any law that is against the will of the people and proven unfounded eventually gets revoked. If every winery made wine for "religious use" as a way to avoid prohibition laws, there would probably be a lot more drunk priests, nuns, and altar boys out there in the 1920s. I can drink one or two glasses of wine without effect. I have not smoked pot since I was in high school many, many years ago because I hated how a few puffs off one joint would render me almost completely incapacitated, as the cannabis seemed to get stronger and stronger over the few years I indulged as a teenager. So I am not sure having "senseless laws against cannabis" when a single toke these days, with the inherent intense levels of the psychoactive drug THC, is necessarily senseless. Personally, I worry about all the pot smokers out there that now legally drive while under the influence of THC and the well-known and studied loss of motor skills, among other effects. Perhaps Steve Martin was correct when he said after smoking pot "let's get small."

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