April 28, 2004
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

A specialist on food and wine in the Regional Oral History Office of the University of California, Berkeley will discuss the rise of Santa Barbara County’s wine industry at the next History Forum at California State University, Bakersfield.

Historian Victor Garaci’s talk from 4 to 5 p.m. on Friday, May 21, in the Albertson Room adjacent to the Doré Theater, will be based on his new book, “Salud!: The Rise of Santa Barbara’s Wine Industry,” which will be released in May by the University of Nevada Press.

According to a summary of the book, provided by the University of Nevada Press, “In 1965, soil and climatic studies indicated that the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria valleys of Santa Barbara County offered suitable conditions for growing high-quality wine grapes. Thus was launched a revival of the area's two-centuries-old wine industry that by 1995 made Santa Barbara County an internationally prominent wine region. …

“California has produced wine since Spanish missionaries first planted grapes to make sacramental wines, but it was not until the late 20th century that changing consumer tastes and a flourishing national economy created the conditions that led to the state's wine boom. … Geraci uses the Santa Barbara wine industry as a case study to analyze the history and evolution of American viticulture from its obscure colonial beginnings to its current international acclaim. …

“California is today one of the world’s major wine producers, and Santa Barbara County contributes significantly to the volume and renowned quality of this wine production. ‘Salud!’ offers a detailed and highly engaging overview of an industry in which the ancient romance of wine too often obscures a complex and highly diverse modern ‘vintibusiness’ that for better, and sometimes for worse, has shaped the regions it dominates.”

A scholar of agricultural and public history, Geraci has published articles in the Journal of Agricultural History, the Journal of San Diego History, and Southern California Quarterly. He has a doctorate in history from UC Santa Barbara.

Geraci will have copies of his hard-bound book available for purchase ($29.95) and signing at the History Forum. Copies are also available by calling the University of Nevada Press toll-free at (877) NVBOOKS (682-6657), or online at www.nvbooks.nevada.edu.

The History Forum talk is free and the public is invited. Refreshments will be served. For more information, please call the CSUB History Department at (661) 664-3079.