Lithograph postcard showing the Giersburg, Napa County vineyards of Theo Gier Wine Co
September 1, 2022

Celebrate California Wine Month!

For California Wine Month, we are sharing a selection of wine labels from the CHS collection. The core of the collection consists of wine labels printed by Lehmann Printing and Lithographing Co. in San Francisco. Lehmann’s labels graced hundreds of thousands of bottles of mass-manufactured wines and liquors. The company employed one hundred people, including a permanent staff of anonymous artists who designed each custom label with skillful care. Marrying design with consumer ideology, the Lehmann oeuvre represents a forgotten high point of US commercial art and remains a lasting part of California wine history.

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Celebrate California Wine Month!

“Rustic Courtship,” Tipo Wine, Italian Swiss Colony Winery, Asti, California, circa 1910

Rustic. Hearty. Bright. These are only some of the commonly used descriptive words that evoke our state’s love affair with wine—a romance that began even before California achieved statehood in 1850.

Every September, when California wineries are busy harvesting their grapes, we celebrate California Wine Month. All month, wineries throughout the state welcome visitors and stage numerous events—from tastings, to classes, to tours.

Grape Cluster Carried by Children, circa 1898

California Historical Society Collections at University of Southern California

Created by the Wine Institute in honor of the country’s foremost wine-producing state, the month-long celebration “recognizes the contributions of vintners and growers to our state economy, culture and lifestyle,” explains said Robert Koch, Wine Institute president and CEO.


Portrait of Grape Pickers on Hastings Ranch, near Pasadena, circa 1898

California Historical Society Collections at University of Southern California

The California Historical Society is pleased to whet your appetite with the following selection of wine labels. They were created during the 1930s by anonymous artists and designer employed by CHS’s collection of the Lehmann Printing and Lithographing Company in San Francisco, one of the country’s largest label plants of that era.







More examples of these labels are in our book, VINTAGE: California Wine Labels of the 1930s (Heyday), and available for viewing on our Digital Library.
Shelly Kale
Publications and Strategic Projects Manager
This blog post was originally published on September 7, 2016 and has since been updated.
More resources about the history of wine in California:
  • CHS is the repository for the California Wine Association Records (1894—1936)
  • CHS’s Kemble Collection contains the Lehmann Printing and Lithographing Company’s California Wine Label and Ephemera Collection (1920—1940)
  • CHS’s store carries two books on the subject: The City of Vines: A History of Wine in Los Angeles, by Thomas Pinney, the author of the definitive, two-volume account of winemaking in the United States, A History of Wine in America. The City of Vines is a rediscovery of where California’s wine industry began and its 100-year role as leader of our state’s viticulture industry.