Winemaking during Prohibition
The Volstead Act specifically allowed individual farmers to make certain wines “on the legal fiction that it was a non-intoxicating fruit-juice for home consumption”, and many people did so. Enterprising grape farmers produced liquid and semi-solid grape concentrates, often called “wine bricks” or “wine blocks”. This demand led California grape growers to increase their land under cultivation by about 700% in the first five years of prohibition. The grape concentrate was sold with a warning: “After dissolving the brick in a gallon of water, do not place the liquid in a jug away in the cupboard for twenty days, because then it would turn into wine.” One grape block producer sold nine varieties: Port, Virginia Dare, Muscatel, Angelica, Tokayi, Sauterne, Riesling, Claret and Burgundy.
The Volstead Act allowed the sale of sacramental wine to priests and rabbis. This was used as a loophole to purchase wine by imposters as well.