History of US Wine Industry

This article by Clare Malone offers a fascinating look at the history of the U.S. wine industry.  Here's one tidbit about Teresa Carrara an Italian immigrant who married a man named Franzia and who was mother-in-law to Ernest Gallo.  Seems she's  responsible for a huge chunk of today's U.S. wine production.

“She provided the seed money for Gallo, which probably does 40 percent of the wine business in the US; for our company, which does about 15 percent of the wine business in the US; and then her grandsons—yes, grandsons: Fred and Joe and John—started the Bronco Winery, which probably does another five percent of the business in the US,” Arthur Ciocca, former CEO of the Wine Group, remarked in a 1999 oral history project on the California wine industry for the University of California at Berkeley. “[She’s responsible for] more than half of the wine business [in the US].”

And there's this, and much more

Towards the end of Prohibition, California winemakers began to advocate for certain changes in regulation that would drastically alter their business structure and possibly put their lives at risk—they wanted to ship juice.

In 1929 they got their wish when the federal government overrode stipulations in the Volstead Act—the era’s defining policy—that outlawed selling grape juice concentrate. This was good news for California farmers, but bad news for the Chicago mob. One key ingredient to bootlegged wine was the syrupy juice derived from grapes—grapes that Capone’s network had, until the law was overturned, controlled.

The gangster was enraged and issued death threats again certain growers and shippers. The problem was big enough that the FBI decided to investigate, and Joe Gallo was on a list of grape shippers to be interviewed by authorities