Oregon’s Post Prohibition Winery Beginnings Started with a Distillery
Oregon instituted statewide prohibition in 1915 several years before the Volstead Act established a national prohibition in 1920. In March of 1933 the Cullen–Harrison Act got the beer and wine flowing. In December of 1933 the Volstead Act was repealed. January 1, 1934 the American Liquor Exchange was created bringing new federal tax levies that replaced old dividend and gasoline taxes with new taxes on alcohol that would collect $470 million in new federal taxes on liquor. By 1935, the newly formed Oregon Liquor Control Commission had issued over 6,000 beer and wine sales licenses.
On Dec. 6, 1933, Oregonians John Wood and Ron Honeyman stood in line with other entrepreneurs eager to receive a document that would allow them to make alcoholic beverages after Prohibition had been repealed the day before. They received bonded winery number 26 and opened their business Columbia Distilleries in 1934, originally making cordials, liqueurs and fruit brandies. Capitalizing on the abundance and quality of fruit found in the Willamette Valley, they changed the name to Honeywood Winery.
Today, Honeywood Winery makes some of the finest fruit wines in the world and rightly so—they have the growers of the world’s best berries, cherries, apples, apricots and pears in close proximity to the winery. Celebrating its 80th anniversary Honeywood has produced a limited edition of Wildberry wines (sounds like a great gift idea) as well as a Birthday Cake wine. I once asked Paul Gallick (current proprietor) what was the funniest thing he ever heard while working the Honeywood tasting room? Paul replied “As I tried to offer a guest a sample, the lady exclaimed; Oh no, I would never drink a wine made from fruit!”
The Gallick family marvels at the winery’s rich and vibrant history. They appreciate the work done by the original owners to market the winery throughout the United States and how they saw Oregon’s potential for making vinifera wines in the 1950s. Vice President Marlene Gallick admires how Mary Reinke started at the winery as a secretary, only to be asked to rescue the company from bankruptcy in 1962 and became its president in 1963, one of only a few women in the United States to be the president of a winery.
In 1972, there were only nine wineries in Oregon. Honeywood was not only the largest fruit winery, it was the largest winery in Oregon, outselling the other eight wineries 3 to 1. On Jan. 1, 1974, William F. Miller, Paul Gallick and Charles Newman purchased 70 percent of the stock in Honeywood from Mary Reinke. The Gallick family obtained the majority of the stock in the winery in 1982.
“We take great pride in being Oregon’s oldest winery and having participated in the state’s industry that has blossomed from only nine wineries in 1972 to more than 500 today,” Marlene Gallick said.
Today, Marlene and Paul Gallick’s children are responsible for helping run the winery, with Kyle Blair working as the vineyard and cellar manager, and Lesley Gallick as the marketing and gourmet/retail store manager.
Visit www.honeywoodwinery.com to learn more.