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When the Rivers Ran Red: An Amazing Story of Courage and Triumph in America's Wine Countryby Vivienne Sosnowski
Synopses & Reviews
Today, millions of people around the world enjoy California's legendary wines, unaware that 90 years ago the families who made these wines--and in many cases still do – turned to struggle and subterfuge to save the industry we now cherish. When Prohibition took effect in 1919, three months after one of the greatest California grape harvests of all time, violence and chaos descended on Northern California. Federal agents spilled thousands of gallons of wine in the rivers and creeks, gun battles erupted on dark country roads, and local law enforcement officers, sympathetic to their winemaking neighbors, found ways to run circles around the intruding authorities. For the state's winemaking families--many of them immigrants from Italy--surviving Prohibition meant facing impossible decisions, whether to give up the idyllic way of life their families had known for generations, or break the law to enable their wine businesses and their livelihood to survive. Including moments of both desperation and joy, Sosnowski tells the inspiring story of how ordinary people fought to protect to a beautiful and timeless culture in the lovely hills and valleys of now-celebrated wine country.
When Prohibition took effect in 1920, only a few months after one of the greatest California grape harvests of all time, violence and chaos descended on Northern California. Federal agents spilled thousands of gallons of wine in the rivers and creeks, gun battles erupted on dark country roads, and local law enforcement officers—sympathetic to their winemaking neighbors—found ways to stonewall the intruding authorities. For the state's winemaking families—many of them immigrants from Italy—surviving Prohibition meant facing a crucial decision—give up their idyllic way of life, or break the law to enable their livelihood to survive.
Sosnowskis intimate history provides us with a new view into Prohibition America, away from the flappers and speakeasys of Chicago and New York, and into the lovely hills and valleys of wine country, where families hid vintages and prayed for the days when they could resume the craft that they loved. When the Rivers Ran Red tells of the extraordinary adventures of the stalwart efforts of immigrant families—the Seghesios, the Foppianos, the Nichelinis and the Cuneos—who saved one of Americas most beloved traditions.
About the Author
Vivienne Sosnowski is the Editorial Director of all three Examiner newspapers, the Washington Examiner the San Francisco Examiner and the Baltimore Examiner. A gifted photographer whose work has been exhibited, she divides her time between the East and West coasts, including a home in the wine country of Sonoma County.
Table of Contents
The Land Was Sacred to These Families
'No Nation Is Drunken Where Wine Is Cheap'
'These Vines Are Like Members of My Famil
'It Was a Clamoring Mob'
'To Hell with Prohibition'
'If We Hadn't Bootlegged, We Wouldn't Have Survived'
'Moonshine Is Almost as Ubiquitous as the Radiance from the Moon Itself'
'We Never Wore Shoes in Summer,' or A Million Dollars to Go Away to France
'The Reign of Bludgeon and of Force'
'The Worst and Most Cruel Experiences to Which a Thrifty and Prosperous Rural Community Was Ever Subject'
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