When the Rivers Ran Red: An Amazing Story of Courage and Triumph in America's Wine Country

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Macmillan, Jun 9, 2009 - History - 256 pages

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.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Tonari - LibraryThing

This book explores Prohibition and its effect on the American society, focusing on the impact it had on the rising California Wine Industry. It's quite an interesting topic not much known in Italy due ... Read full review

WHEN THE RIVERS RAN RED: An Amazing Story of Courage and Triumph in America's Wine Country

User Review  - Kirkus

How the Napa and Sonoma Valley wineries survived Prohibition.California's wine country is an oft-romanticized region, and newspaper executive Sosnowski, a first-time author, seems to have fallen sway ... Read full review


No Nation is Drunken where Wine is Cheap
These Vines are like Members of My Family
It was a Clamoring Mob
To Hell with Prohibition
If We Hadnt Bootlegged We Wouldnt Have Survived
Almost as Ubiquitous as the Radiance
A Million Dollars to Go away to France
The Reign of the Bludgeon and of Force
The Worst and Most Cruel Experiences

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About the author (2009)

Vivienne Sosnowski has been an editorial director of newspapers, including the Washington, D.C., Examiner and the San Francisco Examiner. A gifted photographer whose portraits of wine country pioneers were the genesis of When the Rivers Ran Red, she divides her time between a home in the vineyard county of Sonoma and another in Vancouver, Canada.

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