California Wine Bitters – From the vineyard of Kohler & Frohling

CWBLabelCalifornia Wine Bitters – From the vineyard of Kohler & Frohling

16 September 2014 (R•030615)

Apple-Touch-IconAHere, everything is not as it should be. The first example of the California Wine Bitters lady’s leg pictured below was spotted on a table at the Downieville Bottle Show and was recognized as a potential label applied to a bottle, meaning not an original application. The label was just too fresh and clean. The dealer noted this. The bottle stayed on the table though I was intrigued by the graphics.

The listing in Bitters Bottles is as follows:

C 25.5  California Wine Bitters
From the vineyard of Kohler & Frohling, 626 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, California
Rennert, Prosch & Co, 26 & 28 Vesey Street, New York
Known from a trade card.




Kohler & Frohling (Charles Kohler and John Frohling) was established in 1854 with the partners playing key roles in the development of the Southern California wine industry. They were the founders of Anaheim which was born in 1857, when 50 German-American families from the San Francisco area paid $750 each to invest in the Los Angeles Vineyard Society. Kohler and Frohling hired George Hansen, Los Angeles County’s assistant surveyor, to purchase and lay out the new wine-making colony. Kohler was also a member of the Los Angeles, California, Common Council, the governing body of that city. Kohler and Frohling planted 3,000 vines of wine grapes in the Los Angeles area. The firm of Frohling and Kohler was so successful that they began looking for a steady sources of grapes for their wine making.


Labeled California Wine Bitters – North American Glass


Label Only, ‘California / Wine Bitters / From the Vineyard of / Kohler & Frohling / Rennert, Prosch & Co. / 26 & 28 Vesey St. New York / 626 Montgomery St. San Francisco’, (Ring/Ham, C-25.5), American, ca. 1865 – 1875, yellowish olive green ladies leg, 11 5/8”h, smooth base, applied ring mouth, 98% original label. – Glass Works Auctions


IT IS A PRACTICE AMONGST certain Dealers to announce to the public that they do not sell any other than the pure article and for that reason ask for or claim the patronage of purchasers, while the Wines which they offer for sale are frequently PRICKED and SOUR, and detrimental to health, by occasioning, to a great degree, acidity of the stomach; an indication of their inferiority is to be noticed, in general, by their RILY appearance.

The undersigned, who had the honor of introducing California Wines, in 1854, the FIRST, and therefore the PIONEERS in the business, having sustained their reputation for the supply of a GENUINE ARTICLE, so that connoisseurs of Wines admit that KOHLER & FROHLING have the BEST stock of NATIVE WINES in the market, all of which have been PROPERLY ATTENDED TO and MATURED BY AGE. As they are sold at the same prices at which the Inferior descriptions are offered, it will be the fault of Dealers and Consumers should they not call for




SUPERIOR PORT WINE, For Medicinal purposes;

ANGELICA AND WHITE WINES, Vintage of 1857 and 1858;

WINE BITTERS, The best Appetizer in the State;

With a variety of other articles.

KOHLER & FROHLING, 626 Montgomery street, Montgomery Block,

San Francisco.


California Wines advertisement by Kohler & Frohling – Sacramento Daily Union, 7 July 1862


Kohler & Frohling California Wines & Brandies letterhead, San Francisco 1894 – eBay

Read about another California Wine Bitters: El Aliso, Jean Louis and Pierre Sainsevain and their California Wine Bitters

Read about another California Wine Bitters: M. Keller Label over at Western Bitters News

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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