Author, The War on Wine: Prohibition, Neoprohibition, and American Culture
This week, Ira spoke with Victor W. Geraci, author of The War on Wine: Prohibition, Neoprohibition, and American Culture (University of Nevada Press). In this vino episode of “Ira’s Everything Bagel,” Victor talks about his family’s long history with wine and vineyards; why the wine industry couldn’t develop in America for the first 200 years; why Americans turned to distilled spirits before a wine culture developed; how California became the epicenter of the wine culture; why John DeLuca (president and chief executive officer of the Wine Institute from 1975 to 2003) inspired him to write the book; how DeLuca tried to give that trade organization a moral imperative and led the fight to make wine a beverage of moderation; the importance of Leon Adams; the politics of wine; what the war on wine symbolized; the most surprising thing he discovered in his research; and the danger of corporate greed making wine just another alcoholic beverage.
In 2013 Victor W. Geraci retired from his Associate Director position at the UC Berkeley Bancroft Library’s Oral History Center. Upon completing his Masters in History from San Diego State University (1992) he went on to complete his doctorate in American history from UC Santa Barbara (1997). Between 1997 – 2003, Victor held positions as Assistant and later Associate Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University.
While at CCSU Victor served as the History Department’s Director of the Secondary History / Social Science Teacher Education program, taught American history courses, and helped establish a Master’s Degree program in Public History. His main areas of research include American Agriculture (Post-Civil War to Present) with specific focus on the California Wine Industry.
In 2003 Victor came to UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library Oral History Center as a Food and Wine Historian/Specialist and in 2007 became the Associate Director. He has written journal articles and reviews in Gastronomica, the Southern California Quarterly, Journal of Agricultural History, The Public Historian, JIWA, Connecticut History, and the Journal of San Diego History. Victor’s book publications include the co-authored Aged In Oak; The Story of the Santa Barbara County Wine Industry, The Lure of the Forest: Oral Histories from the National Forests in California, and The Unmarked Trail: Managing National Forests in a Turbulent Era. He has also authored Salud: The Story of the Santa Barbara Wine Industry, Making Slow Food Fast In California Cuisine, Wine By Design: Santa Barbara’s Quest for Terroir, War on Wine: Prohibition, Neoprohibition, and American Culture, and the co-edited book Icons of American Cooking.