Guide to the Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company, Vinemont, Cullman County, Alabama, Papers, 1896-1899, undated

Summary Information

Title: Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company, Vinemont, Cullman County, Alabama, Papers, 1896-1899, undated
Collection: AC.1084
Extent: 0.02 linear feet (1 regular folder and 1 oversize folder)
Abstract:

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.

Creator: Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company

Biographical/Historical Note

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.

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.

Arrangement

The smaller papers are all located in one folder, and the oversize maps/plats are located in the oversize map cabinet in Closed Collection.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room. An appointment for research is recommended. The Dougherty Reading Room is located on the 4th floor of Belk Library in Special Collections.

Acquisitions Information

This collection was purchased from L&T Respess in 2014.

Processing Information

Processed by Anita Elliott in July 2015 with assistance from Claire Stamper.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], AC.1084: Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company, Vinemont, Cullman County, Alabama, W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina USA.

Container List

Receipt booklet of deeds of City Lots in Vinemont, Cullman County, Alabama, undated

Pamphlet, The Alabama Fruit Growing and Winery Association, Fruithurst, Cleburne County, Alabama, Questions and Answers about investment in Fruithurst, circa 1896

Booklet, Homes in the Mid-South, by Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company, 1898

Letter to F.W. Adams from George E. Bowen with invitation to go on investigative trip to Vinemont, Alabama, March 25, 1898

Abstract of Title of lands offered for sale by the Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company, April 11, 1898

Warranty Deed from Alabama Vineyard and Winery Company to George S. Bowen for Lot #4, Block 31, March 7, 1898

Investment Booklet, A Home, An Income for Life, or An Investment....,from Alabama Vineyard Company, 1899

Note, "A Friendly Deed" stating eminent arrival of purchaser's warranty deed for city plat lot in Vinemont, Alabama, writing on back, undated

Oversize: 28"x23" Portion of Completed Survey of Alabama Vineyard Company, Cullman County, Alabama (2 copies), January 1899

Oversize: 28"x20" Advertisement of the Plan of Vinemont, Cullman County, Alabama, with Special Blank Forms, Plats, and "Particulars" of the Plan, circa 1898

Oversize: 15"x12" Plats, City and Fruit and Truck Farms of Vinemont, Alabama, Section of the North and West Portions of, George E. Bowen, special agent, Chicago (2 copies), circa 1898

Oversize: 28"x23" Plat no. 7, Map of Fruithurst, Alabama, by Alabama Fruit Growing and Winery Association, circa 1898