Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Deford: Repeal party at Boory 'was a gas'

Photos are courtesy of Boordy and include (clockwise from above) Dottie and Mark Bistransin (Dottie is the winery's event coordinator), several members of the Boordy staff, and a collection of some of the guests.
Not all events are created equal nor are they assured to ascend to the planners’ loftiest goals.

But last Friday’s End of Prohibition party marking the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition set a standard that Boordy Vineyards’ Rob Deford said earlier today will be hard to top.

“It was a gas, everyone came in costume,” he said by phone from the winery, the oldest in Maryland, located on the outskirts of Baltimore. “We’re calling the best party we ever had here. I had concerns there would be a bit of overimbibing considering the scene. But it was an extremely responsible group. It was really, I can’t find anything wrong with it. We pick our parties apart until there’ nothing left to see what we did right and what we did wrong.”

Score everything for the right side, from the music played by the
New Hots Jazz Orchestra to the hard work by the employees to the planned “raid,” that earned two people a trip to the Slade’s Inn B&B. About 150 people attended, Deford said. Even an “unplanned” wedding proposal went off without a hitch in front of everyone. She said yes.

Deford said that he didn’t realize until that evening that this year also marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of a book called “American Wines and How to Make Them,” written by Boordy founder Philip Wagner.

“So when I got up to make a toast I read the preface to that book, which is absolutely wonderful,” Deford said. “It was written during Prohibition actually and it was a guide on how to make wine, because there was a federal allowance for 200 gallons per family and Wagner’s goal was to teach families how to make better wine, which is how Boordy got started. Anyway, he said in his preface, ‘We can reasonably hope that if Prohibition continues in force for another couple decades that the United States might actually become a wine-drinking nation, because the consumption of wine rose steadily during Prohibition and so thus began the book that at the time was the only guide in English to making wine and was the founding of basically of this winery.”

The book was published in1933. “I have copy in my hand that Wagner gave me years ago and it’s absolutely charming, and was written as a sort of act of civil disobedience.”

While Deford’s copy might be rare, the text itself has been rewritten into a publication called “Grapes Into Wine” that passes along the same instructions to new generation, albeit one that knows Prohibition only from the pages of a history book. “It’s lost that Prohibition-era flair,” Deford said, “because, you know, as soon as repeal, that whole edge was lost. So that preface is sort of unique to that first volume.”

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