This is a scarce old original grape crate label. SENORITA Brand Zinfandel grapes were once grown in Cucamonga or the Lucerne District. E and S Grape Growers and Shippers of Etiwanda and Pitco, California apparently had a hand in it too. A Fully costumed Spanish maiden presents a wide variety of luscious fruits, some of which she holds out in a large woven basket filled with several varieties of wine grapes. Western Litho. of Los Angeles designed and created this Classic Old Label. It is Custom framed and ready to be hung in your bar or grape arbor.
I started collecting old labels in 1979 when I worked in Riverside, California. The trick was to get into an old Fruit Packing Shed where unused labels could often be found in storage; left from as long as a half-century before. This Senorita label has an even better story. I, along with a friend of mine who had been the local Sheriff out around Bloomington headed North in a search for the old (Wild) label. We stopped for refreshments at a nearly abandoned mining town about 100 miles North of San Bernardino. I noticed an old ramshackle bookstore and wandered over. A somewhat famous local fellow named "Three Fingered Jack" was running the store. He was "famous" because he had written a short History of the local mining towns. Of course, I bought his book and then (naturally) asked him, "Do you happen to have any of those colorful paper labels that used to be stuck onto the ends of the wooden fruit crates in the old days?" I was startled to see him heading for a little wooden cellar door. Down he went and emerged minutes later with a handful of Beautiful Vintage Grape Box labels. These were the "Senorita Brand", a fine work of art from a company that Three Fingered Jack had had dealings with in the old days. He seemed happy to sell them to me for a reasonable price knowing that they would someday become treasured and displayed works of art. As it turned out, he was quite correct. My next trip out Three Fingered Jack had passed away and his store had been cleaned out and the contents disposed of... He had passed them on just in time. . Measures 4 1/2 x 13 inches. This piece is a unique way to decorate country kitchen collectible style. "Grapes are a major California agricultural product, consumed as tables grapes, raisins, and wine. While grapes are grown throughout California, table grapes are grown mainly on the east side of the San Joaquin valley in central California, in Tulare, San Joaquin, Kern and Fresno counties. Many varieties of grapes are grown, with Thompson Seedless, Emperor, Tokay and Malaga being of key commercial importance. Grapes are very perishable, and require careful handling to prevent crushing. They are packed in flat lug boxes containing about 25 pounds of grapes, with labels about 13" x 4". Wooden boxes were used until the early 1960's. The long narrow shape of grape labels requires different design treatments than those on the relatively square labels used for other fruit boxes. Effective designs are those which feature extended lettering and elongated images. Fruit Box Labels, McClelland and Last, 1983" (Out of Print) California oranges were first grown in Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, with later plantings in San Diego, Orange and Ventura counties, and the central California San Joaquin Valley. The growers finally settled on two varieties - the Navel orange, sweet, seedless, and juicy, an ideal orange for eating, available from December to late Spring to late Fall. California, therefore, has a citrus product available for sale the year round. Oranges were shipped in wooden boxes from the 1880's until the 1950's when cardboard boxes were introduced. The same box size and label format was used for this entire period. The label was about 11" x 10", in some cases with an additional 1/2" strip on the top for packing information. The label was an ideal size and shape to present an attractive graphic image for product identification and advertisement. In the seventy year history of the use of wooden orange boxes, over a billion labeled boxes were shipped. Because of the need to communicate with customers throughout the country, the orange maketing industy became highly organized, with individual growers combining into large packing and shipping organizations. Most of these growers cooperatives eventually joined one of the three large marketing organizations - Sunkist Growers, Mutual Orange Distributors, or the American Fruit Growers. In the early 1900's a grapefruit industry developed in California and Arizona. Grapefruit were packed and shipped in boxes the same as those used for oranges, and used labels identical in size, shape, and general advertising message." Fruit Box Labels, McClelland & Last 1983 (Out of Print) • Since Western Fruit Crate Labels derive from the concept of Wine Bottle Labeling in the late 1800’s I’ve included here the titles of a few tomes on the small colorful wine labels. • A Very Good Year: The Journey of a California Wine from Vine to Table by Mike Weiss • The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr. and the Reign of American Taste by Elin McCoy • Understanding Wine Labels: A Complete Guide to the Wine Labels of the World (Mitchell Beazley Wine Made Easy) by Simon Woods • Spinning the Bottle by Harvey Posert • Wine Label Language by Peter Saunders • Soils for Fine Wines by Robert E. White • Imagery: Art for Wine by Bob L. Nugent “The wine label is a powerful icon of modern civilization. It is a precious object of art that symbolizes and disseminates the cultural and spiritual values of the land where wine is grown…Wine label design has undergone a renaissance where art meets marketing in the most powerful way, penetrating the subconscious, utilizing the power of suggestion to imply flavor and quality.” Icon: Art of the Wine Label by Jeffrey Caldeway and Chuck House, May 2003 Also, from a 1955 history, Cucamonga was one of the few places in California to retain its old Indian name and is said to be derived from "Cucamongabit," meaning "Land of Many Springs." Cucamonga Indians were living in the district when the Spaniards came and built their El Camino Real. In 1839 Don Tiburcio Tapia, who became president of the Ayuntamiento, or City Council, of Los Angeles and the city's first alcalde, obtained the Cucamonga grant from the Mexican Government. It is known that Don Tapia also planted grape vines on the ranch. Cucamonga was the scene of many turbulent events in its early days and its history makes fascinating reading. Gradually it passed from the violent and romantic Wild West stages to an equally romantic but more peaceful era of agriculture and industry. Magnificently situated in the San Bernardino Valley in the extreme southwestern corner of the county of that name, it lies at the foot of the grand range of the San Gabriel Mountains with Cucamonga Peak dominating the scene from an altitude of some 8000 feet.