Early in the 1900s, the area that surrounded downtown Los Angeles was home to more than 80 wineries that produced table wines, ports, sherries and sparkling wines.
As a matter of fact, there were more wineries in the L.A. area than in the rest of the Golden State combined. Los Angeles probably would be California’s Napa Valley today but for one failed experiment in “civilizing” the country: Prohibition.
A fortunate few wineries had made arrangements with local places of worship to produce wines for holy and medicinal purposes. The loophole was that the churches were excluded from Prohibition.
In L.A., the winery that was given the right to produce sacramental and medicinal wine was San Antonio Winery. By the time the new millennium arrived, it was California’s only pre-Prohibition winery still in existence and continually in production.
It could be asserted that San Antonio Winery’s “sibling” on the East Coast is the Brotherhood Winery in New York’s Hudson Valley, about an hour-and-a-half by car from Manhattan. You can read about the winery’s fascinating history here.
Like San Antonio, it survived Prohibition by making wine for churches, and it’s touted as the longest continuously operating winery in the United States.
Also as is the case at San Antonio, there are several ways for guests to experience Brotherhood Winery, including regularly scheduled tours, private group tours and special events in the Grand Salon.
Part of the fun of wine enjoyment involves embracing its rich history. No matter which coast you’re on, you can experience that history in spades at the San Antonio Winery and the Brotherhood Winery.