Book Review: “The Treasury of American Wines” by Nathan Chroman, 1976


Dust jacket for “The Treasury of American Wines” by Nathan Chroman, 1976. Please click to enlarge the photo to full resolution.

I’m a geek when it comes to food history, but I’m especially nerdy about California’s wine history. Old wine books are often fascinating to me because they’re like time capsules, snapshots from a bygone era. The California wine industry has evolved so dramatically over the last four decades, it’s interesting to be reminded of past trends and early beginnings.

To place “The Treasury of American Wines” into historical context,  this book was published in the summer of 1976, perhaps just weeks before California’s triumph at the now-famous Judgment of Paris. I thought it was prescient (and perhaps just coincidental) that the very wine that won the Chardonnay category in Paris — the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay — is actually pictured on the dust jacket above, eighth from the right.

The dust jacket for “The Treasury of American Wines” offers a great look at the wine labels of yesteryear, and it was the main reason why I shelled out $6 for an otherwise outdated book. With vintages ranging from 1969 to 1974, some of these labels remain familiar and unchanged, while others represent varietals that have now fallen out of favor.

I’ve scanned and stitched the dust jacket in four different pieces. Please click the image above to see the photo at full resolution. Enjoy!

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