Garrett's Virginia Dare Self Framed Tin Sign, Richmond, VA & St. Louis, MO. Circa 1905

The Virginia Dare brand of high end wine products produced by the Garrett Wine Company was once the biggest selling wine in the United States. Popularized as a lower priced wine, this was an era before the California wine industry took off. Garrett and Company had their Eastern office based in Richmond, Virginia, and the Western Region in St. Louis, MO. At that time, St. Louis was the largest city outside of the East Coast with the exception of Chicago. The next larger cities included Denver, CO and San Francisco, CA, both much smaller at the time than Saint Louis was. Why, simply because St Louis was the Gateway to the West, and most trains or river boats came through the city as they headed north or to the West via the MO River. This self-framed tin sign features a gold edge on it, and illustrates a couple of their labeled wine products boldly on the image, along with the smaller image of Paul and Virginia, two characters widely used the the Garrett Company in their advertising.

The Garrett Company eventually also licensed their Virginia Dare name to many other companies, some of which bottled soda pop under the Virginia Dare name also. Today bottle collectors can find soda bottles with the Virginia Dare label on them made by bottlers throughout the United States. However, by the 1960’s the brand was virtually non-existant, due to competition from the national soda brands like Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, Coca-Cola etc, which took on most of the marketshare. The Virginia Dare brand of wine was essentially ended with the start of prohibition, and like so many huge industries over the years, essentially saw their business evaporate overnight with the passing of prohibition, forcing millions of workers into the unemployment lines overnight. Brewery workers, barrel makers, teamsters, etc. all saw their business essentially end overnight thanks to the U.S. government.