The Volstead Act
The Volstad Act and its Effect on the WIne Industry
While it is interesting that Volstead was not reelected in 1922, most historians believe that this was because of low farm prices and not his famous piece of legislation. Officially known as the National Prohibition Act, it was passed as the means to enforce the 18th amendment which had been ratified 9 months earlier. Congress overrode President Wilson’s veto to make it law.
The legislation made the export, manufacture, sale or possession of alcoholic beverages illegal in the United States. If a drink had over one-half percent alcohol, it was considered alcoholic under the law. The Volstead Act gave federal agents the power to enforce Prohibition.
The law also made it legal for a head of household to produce 200 gallons of homemade wine each year. This led to a large demand for grapes to be fermented into wine. Several regions in California Wine Country, including Lodi, responded to this need. Cesare Mondavi, Robert and Peter’s father, was involved in this trade at the time.
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