Tiny's Guide to Enjoying Wine, California 1945
Prohibition had seen the decimation of the Californian wine industry. In 1919 there were 2500 wineries. By 1933 there were less than 100 still in existence. The late 1930s saw wineries begin to grow again but WW2 halted any serious growth. 1944 saw the formation of the Napa Valley Vintners Association and a new confidence in the future of Californian wine was abroad. It was time for local restaurateurs to educate the public about the pleasures of wine drinking.
This quick-reference guide from Tiny Naylor’s, a popular chain of diners in California, was directed towards men who would be doing ordering. Humorous and non-patronizing, it is a charming snapshot of an earlier and more innocent era. The how-to guide explained the old adage of pairing red wine with meat and white wine with fish but pointed out that almost any wine goes with almost any food. It also introduced the concept of the aperitif and dessert wine – though from the bemused expression on the character’s face, this took a while to sink in.
It also pointed out, rightly, that champagne and sparkling wines, are good for any occasions and especially for celebrations.
It took a long time to persuade Americans to swap beers and cocktails for wine while dining out but steadily tastes changed. According to the Wine Institute of America, table wine consumption has leapt from 27 million gallons in 1940 to 770 million in 2014, the most recent year for which figures are available.
Tiny Naylor – who was 6ft 4in tall and weighed 320 lbs – first opened Biff’s restaurant and then this highly successful Tiny’s chain which had branches throughout California. This Tiny’s menu is from the 1940s.
Courtesy Private Collection.
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Each product is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu where available.