Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company, Vinemont, Cullman County, Alabama, papers
Scope and Contents
This collection includes many papers associated with the unsuccessful Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company's real estate venture in Vinemont, Cullman County, Alabama, circa 1896-1899, including correspondence, plats, and advertising media.
- 1896-1899, undated
The materials are in English.
This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room without restrictions.
George S. Bowen lived from 1829-1905. He was a very well-known entrepreneur. He owned the Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company. He was given the deed in 1898. His attempt to establish a new city and winery association apparently failed, unlike a rival, Fruithurst, Alabama and the Alabama Fruit Growers and Winery Association.
Vinemont, Alabama's history included vineyards. Farmers discovered that the soil was ideal for growing grapes, and soon several wineries were established. In January 1898, a group of Chicago businessmen formed the Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company, and settlers from Chicago followed in large numbers. The town adopted the name Vinemont later that year. A hotel was built around 1900 to accommodate visitors who came for the mountain air, and the Vinemont Canning and Processing Company also opened that year. The wine industry did not flourish, however, and today little remains of the vineyards except for those vines cultivated for home use.
About Fruithurst, Alabama: (http://www.thefruithurstwineryco.com/History.html):
In 1894 the Alabama Fruit Growers and Winery Association (AFG&W), composed of northern owners came to the area then known as Zidonia, previously Summit Cut, and began negotiations for land. Once the land had been acquired and the people and businesses began to move in, the young town held a contest and the name "Fruithurst" was declared the winner.
The city and surrounding areas were covered by 3000 acres of vineyards and orchards. It was populated by Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, as well as Northerners. Fruithurst was also home to one of the finest hotels in the southeast. The A.F.G.& W. constructed the Fruithurst Inn at a cost of $40,000 in the 1890's. It was 3 full stories, boasting 80 rooms with central steam heat, a restaurant, running water, a billiard room, bowling alley, barber shop, and several business offices. The towns motto "Here We Rest" was carved into the mantle in the lobby. Due to an exceptional advertising campaign, the town boomed. Within the city of Fruithurst there was a large variety of businesses. Among them were a bank, barber shop, hardware store, a planing mill, laundry, furniture store, pharmacy, livery barn, meat market, grocery, bakery, drug store, and a watch repair. In addition there was a telegraph office, basket and crate factory and several vineyardist businesses.
There were many wineries ranging from the large corporate type to the small independent family operation. These wineries converted the hundred or so varieties of grapes into wines including claret, port, sherry, and muscatel. There were several derivatives of these basic wines. 23,000 gallons of wine were produced in 1898 by the wineries in Fruithurst.
As each year brought an increasing yield of grapes, the profits did not run in proportion to the harvest. The grapes were of excellent quality and they were converted economically into thousands of gallons of choice wines, but there was no good market for the wines. The situation continued to deteriorate until Prohibition closed the last of the wineries in 1919.
0.02 Linear Feet (1 regular folder and 1 oversize folder)
This collection includes information on an unsuccessful Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company, whose agent was George E. Bowen from Chicago and a successful Alabama Fruit Growing and Winery Association, all circa 1896-1899. Included are plats of Vinemont, Cullman County, Alabama, advertisements for the real estate, and correspondence.
The smaller papers are all located in one folder, and the oversize maps/plats are located in the oversize map cabinet in Closed Collection.
This collection was purchased from L&T Respess in 2014.
This was processed by Anita Elliott in July 2015 with assistance from Claire Stamper.
- AC.1084: Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company, Vinemont, Cullman County, Alabama, Papers, 1896-1899, undated
- Anita Elliott
- July 2015
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Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository