In 1927 Paramount Studio produced a map of Southern California, noting over a dozen locations that could plausibly be used as substitutes for shooting locations, as near as Mexico and as far away as Siberia. The map was rediscovered a few years ago and has wound its way around the web since then – untouched. We thought it was time for a change.

If Paramount says the Mississippi River and Alaska’s great rivers both flow into a San Francisco Bay Area that also resembles the New England coast (just north of the Nile River), then we can certainly speculate what types of beverages would grow in these imaginary lands. From wines to Mead, and everything in between, we present the Fantasy Booze Production Edition of the 1927 Paramount Studio Map of Southern California.

Booze Production Edition of the 1927 paramount studio map of southern california

Why What Is What On This Map!

Vin de Savoie – French Alps: In the foothills of the Alps, the French grow mostly white wines using grapes you’ve probably never heard of, such as JacquèreRoussanneAltesse (also known as Roussette) and Gringet.

Rudy Kurniawan’s Prison – Siberia: The convicted wine forger is off to prison. We’re sure a lot of people in the wine industry (and his ‘customers’) would like to see him put away somewhere a bit harsher than an American prison…Siberia perhaps?

Microbreweries – New England: New England is home to the no-longer-micro Boston Beer Company, the producer of Sam Adams. The region doesn’t stack up numbers-wise to Colorado or the Pacific Northwest, but they do produce a lot of great beer.

Ted Turner’s Territory – Wyoming Cattle Ranches: The former Media Mogul aka The Mouth of the South is said to spend his time wandering his massive land holdings (alas Ted is #2 on that list these days), hand picking the bison that go into each burger at his eponymous chain of bison burger joints.

Bourbon – Kentucky Moutains: When we think of Kentucky, there’s really only one thing that comes to mind, and it’s Bourbon. Lots and lots of Bourbon.

Cider – Sherwood Forrest, England: Robin Hood and his Merry Men might have been robbing some Claret from the rich, but we choose to picture them knocking back pints of hard cider. There’s an annual festival if you really want to keep running with this idea…

Chenin Blanc – South Africa: South Africa is known for its Chenin Blanc, a white wine originally from the Loire Valley in France. Rumor has it the grape was brought to the Cape Province all the way back in the 1650s.

Rioja – Spain: Ask someone to name you a wine from Spain and chances are they’ll say Rioja. For good reason too!

Cabernet Franc – Long Island Sound: The North Fork of Long Island hugs the coast of the Long Island Sound. The North Fork makes a lot of great wine, but is best known for its Cabernet Franc.

Heineken – Holland: As we’re limiting ourselves to enjoyable liquid substances, we’ll go with Holland’s best known beer, Heineken. Sorry Amstel Lite fans. 

Valpolicella – Venice, Italy: As long as we’re keeping things as realistic as a Hollywood movie, we’re going to imagine ourselves drinking a 20-year-old Amarone in Venice’s Gritti Palace, overlooking the Grand Canal, while we get ready to put our masks on for Carnival (it is that time of year!).

Txakoli – Spanish Coast: No one at Paramount specified which coast they were talking about back in 1927. We’re going with the Atlantic coast in Basque Country. Txakoli is an interesting wine (you might hear it called Txakolina) – it’s very dry, highly acidic, low in alcohol and can be a bit bubbly.

Beer – Wales: We’re not going to lie. We don’t know much about the drinking culture in Wales (Do you? Want to write for VinePair? Drop us a line!). It’s not Scotland so Scotch is out. We already gave England cider, so beer it is!

Tequila – Spanish California: We’re going to guess Paramount was going for some sort of ethnic/cultural/historical thing labeling a chunk of the map, Spanish California, as that name would be the name of all of California if you turn back the clock far enough. So we’ll go with Mexico and the drink it’s most famous for, Tequila.

Pinot Noir – Swiss Alps: Did you know they even grow wine in the Swiss Alps? Now you do. And did you know that Pinot Noir is the most common varietal? Show off even more by calling it Blauburgunder, the local name for the grape in the region’s seriously high altitude vineyards.

Grapes Snuck Up To France From Algeria (Africa): We know that’s a mouthful. Here’s the story, quoting ourselves from our timeline of wine history: “When France took control of Algeria in 1830 they started replanting vineyards. Wine production soared when phylloxera decimated the French wine industry in the 1860s – 70s. Production hit a high point in the 1930s, with most of the wine being exported, particularly to French winemakers in the Languedoc for blending. When the French ceded control in 1962, production went into a long decline.”

Mead – Alaskan Rivers: Mead isn’t the most commonly consumed alcoholic beverage in the world these days, but we hear it’s enjoying something of a comeback up in Alaska (Wikipedia lists 4 Meaderies in the state!). If you don’t know, Mead is made by fermenting honey, along with water and other varied ingredients. Honeybees, history, home-brewable – sounds like the ingredients for Brooklyn’s next great artisanal movement if you ask us.

Budweiser – Mississippi River: The Mighty Mississippi flows through St. Louis. In fact, St. Louis is also where the Missouri River flows into the Mississippi. St. Louis is really only famous (or infamous you could say) for one thing, and that’s Budweiser, America’s most well known (Belgian/Brazilian owned) brewer.

Alto Aldige – (South Of) Switzerland: Alto Aldige shares more with Austria than it does with Switzerland, but this is our fantasy map, so stop splitting hairs! You can get a great Pinot Noir alternative in Alto Aldige called Schiava, and of course good Pinot Grigios as well.

Extended Reading

If you’re wondering why Paramount produced the map in the first place, here’s the story. Tino Bailo’s The American Film Industry, a major study of the economic history of the US motion picture industry included the map when the book was published. The actual title of the map would be the Paramount Studio map of California’s geographical facsimiles. Why produce such a map? The map was made to prove a point – that Hollywood studios could spin together far-off fantasies without ever leaving Southern California. This was an important point when trying to raise money on Wall Street. MoMA has got a copy of that book, The Motion Picture Industry as a Basis for Bond Financing, which you can read online for free.