Pamphlet, Wine Tasting Party, 1954

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This four-page pamphlet accompanied a wine tasting party sponsored by the Industrial Research Institute at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, on April 21, 1954. It featured the wines of two major California producers, Louis M. Martini of St. Helena in the Napa Valley, and the Wente Bros, in Livermore.
In the 1950s wine tastings were still a new and potentially intimidating activity for many Americans. Organizations like California’s Wine Advisory Board worked closely with producers to help educate the public in the appreciation of wine as part of a larger social, food-related tradition. So the first page of this pamphlet provides guests with a detailed guide on “the procedure as used by enologists in the organoleptic examination of wines,” i.e., how to taste wines. The first step advised examining the wine “for color and clarity,” followed by perceiving the wine’s fragrances and tasting it by “rolling it in the mouth so as to savor the flavor, body, and texture.” Swallowing the wine and noting its aftertaste are the final steps before clearing the palate with a sip of water or bit of bread.
The inside spread lists the wines to be tasted, a list that reveals the diversity of grape varieties grown in 1950s California. The five vintages from the Wente Bros, famous for their white wines, include a Dry Semillon 1951; Sweet Semillon; Pinot Blanc 1951; Sauvignon Blanc 1951; and Pinot Chardonnay 1951. The six vintages from the Louis M. Martini winery includes two whites and a rosé—Mountain Sylvaner 1951, Mountain Folle Blanche 1950, and Napa Gamay Rosé. Two reds—Mountain Zinfandel 1947 and Cabernet Sauvignon 1947—provided tastes of the Martinis’ signature vintages, and were followed by a chilled dry sherry, to round out the tasting.
The Industrial Research Institute was founded in 1938 under the auspices of the National Research Council, and is made up of representatives from industry, government, and universities.
Currently not on view
Credit Line
Gift of the Wente Family Estate through Christine Wente
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Work and Industry: Food Technology
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Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 9 1/4 in x 6 1/4 in; 23.495 cm x 15.875 cm
National Museum of American History
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