|Predecessor||Wine Corporation of America|
|Founded||Chicago, United States (1933)|
|E. Schwartz, President|
|Revenue||$200,000,000 to $499,999,999|
Number of employees
|100 to 250|
|Parent||The Wine Group, LLC|
Mogen David Wine Co. is a company based in Westfield, New York that makes wines, including the fortified wine MD 20/20. Mogen David Wine Co. is a trademark held by their parent company The Wine Group in Livermore, California.
Mogen David wine is sold in 750mL, 1.5L, and 3L bottles. It is also Kosher for Passover.
Mogen David Concord Red wine is made from must of no less than 51% Concord grapes, an American grape variety, which is typically used for grape juices, jellies, and preserves, but also used for Kosher wines. This makes the wine less expensive, averaging $5 per bottle. In addition to Concord red, Mogen David also markets Blackberry and Pomegranate wines.
Founded months before the Repeal of Prohibition by Max Cohen and Henry Markus in Chicago, the California Wine Company bottled medicinal and sacramental wines, changing its name to Wine Corporation of America in 1941 when it began making wine from Concord grape juice (or concentrate) shipped from growers in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and later Michigan.
Following World War II the company purchased a 50,000 square foot (4,600 m2) building at 3737 South Sacramento Ave in Chicago's Brighton Park neighborhood which was converted into one of the largest wineries in the Midwestern United States. The entire winery was allocated to a single product, Mogen David, a kosher wine originally marketed for the Passover Seder that turned out to be popular year-round with the general public. Annual production of Mogen David was 75,000 US gallons (280,000 l; 62,000 imp gal) in 1946. Wine Corporation of America began advertising Mogen David nationally in 1947; by the early 1950s the advertising budget for Mogen David was the fourth or fifth largest for wines. Max Cohen, company President and founder, noted that 98 percent of Mogen David's customers were not Jewish.
Annual production of Mogen David increased to more than 3,000,000 US gallons (11,000,000 l; 2,500,000 imp gal) of wine in 1949 and to nearly 5,000,000 US gallons (19,000,000 l; 4,200,000 imp gal) for 1953, and in that year Wine Corporation of America took the name of its most important product, becoming the Mogen David Wine Corporation.
In 1955 Mogen David announced the purchase of new plant facilities at 3700 South Kedzie Ave, about 2,000 feet (610 m) from the main plant on Sacramento Ave, designed to triple its capacity and enable production of two additional wines. The company launched a new line of wines under a different brand name, Key, in 1957. This marketing campaign was unsuccessful and line was dropped after three years.
Company founder and chairman Max Cohen announced his resignation on 8 January 1962, citing friction with his brother-in-law, Henry A. Markus who was president of the company. Cohen sold all of his stock to Markus, saying that "I am no longer connected with the firm and I have no interest in it."
The sale of a controlling interest in Mogen David to Richard T. Schofield of Westfield, New York was announced on 9 May 1963, with Schofield taking over as president of the company and Markus appointed chairman. Some operations were moved to Westfield New York in 1967; Mogen David's Westfield winery was closer to the vineyards in the Northeast that grow Concord grapes for its wines, the Chicago plants remained open.
By 1968, Mogen David was producing a dozen different wines and two kinds of champagne. The company broke away from its conventional Mogen David line with the introduction of the MD 20/20 brand of flavored fortified wines that were well received by younger consumers, especially college students. The MD 20/20 line included unusual flavors such as pink grapefruit, wild berry, and Hawaiian blue.
Acquisition by Coke-New York
In 1970 the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York was the largest soft drink bottler in the world, having merged with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New Haven (acquired in 1969) but its growth prospects were limited by the franchise boundaries. When Coke-New York was approached by an investment banking firm to let them know that Mogen David was for sale, they saw an opportunity to become a major competitor in a new industry (Mogen David was the sixth largest winery and the largest Concord grape wine producer in the country) and to pick up a national sales and distribution network. Coke-New York acquired Mogen David on 1 November 1970 by paying $16,750,000 in cash. J. Myron "Mike" Bay was an officer in both companies: President of Mogen David as well as a VP of Coke-New York.
By 1972 Mogen David was producing 27,000 US gallons (100,000 l; 22,000 imp gal) a day in Westfield, NY and 80,000 US gallons (300,000 l; 67,000 imp gal) a day from the two plants in Chicago, for an estimated annual output of 13,000,000 US gallons (49,000,000 l; 11,000,000 imp gal). Mogen David company introduced a "pop wine" product line, Cold Bear (Concord) and Black Bear (blackberry), leading to overall growth in sales of 32 percent for 1972. Mogen David had a staff of over 45 salesmen. Mogen David wines and Tribuno vermouths were marketed nationally through over 300 independent distributors in 1972, in order to strengthen their market position, New York Coca-Cola began consolidating Tribuno and Mogen David distribution networks.
The Jug line of strawberry and apple pop wines, packaged in country-style brown and white jugs, was introduced in 1973. Mogen David had the fourth largest winery and the third largest advertising budget in the wine industry in 1973 
With its 1973 acquisitions of Tribuno Wines (previously Vermouth Industries of America) and later the well established California winery Franzia, Coke-New York was, in all, the third largest US wine producer. Franzia also shipped wine, grape concentrates and brandy in bulk to the Mogen David winery in Westfield, New York, for use in Mogen David products.
Jerome W. "Jerry" Alder joined Mogen David as President and COO in September 1976; former President Mike Bay moved into the new position of Chairman, and continued as Mogen David's CEO. In 1977, the company's administrative and marketing offices moved from the original winery at 3737 South Sacramento Ave, and into space in a new building at 444 Michigan Ave in downtown Chicago.
Acquisition by The Wine Group
When merger discussions resumed in 1980, The Coca-Cola Company had already entered the alcoholic beverage market; their Wine Spectrum subsidiary consisting of wineries in California and New York. As part of the proposed merger, The Coca-Cola Company agreed to sell the wine business of Coke-New York to a partnership formed by First Boston and top-level managers of the New York bottler's wine business. Coke-New York divested itself of its three wineries, which were bought in 1981 by The Wine Group, a limited partnership headed by Arthur A. Ciocca, to avoid a buyout involving a third party. The Wine Group was the fifth largest wine producer nationally (just behind Coca-Cola'a Wine Spectrum) for 1981 with sales of nine million cases, the same as the year before.
In 1998, 1.5 million adults were drinking Mogen David, putting it just ahead of its chief competitor Manischewitz. By 2005, Manischewitz was again dominant with more than half of kosher wine sales, Mogen David was second with 33 percent of the market.
Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers had a hit with "Midnight Choir", which includes the line, "Do they have Mogen David in Heaven, SweetJesus? If they don't, who the hell wants to go?"
In "As hot as it was you ought to thank me" by Nanci Kincaid Berry's Mother drinks Mogen David Wine when commiserating with neighbor ladies.
In Lightnin' Hopkins' song "Black Cat Blues" he mentions Mogen David Wine several times. The song appears in a blues compilation titled "Lightnin' Hopkins - Texas Blues" released in 1995 but the actual song was probably recorded sometime in the 1960s.
Midnight Choir (Mogen David) was a song on the Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers 1979 album Straight Ahead and was released as a single in the same year. The chorus of the song begins "Will they have Mogen David in Heaven?"
In the 1971 movie A New Leaf, Henrietta (Elaine May) asks Henry (Walter Matthau) "Have you ever tasted Mogen-David extra-heavy malaga wine with soda water and lime juice?" In A Serious Man the protagonist, played by Michael Stuhlbarg, is asked by his rival Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed) "Do you drink wine? Because this is an incredible bottle. This is not Mogen David. This is a - heh heh - a wine, Larry. A Bordeaux."
In the All in the Family episode "Archie's Aching Back" (S01E03), Archie specifically hires a Jewish lawyer (Solomon Robinowitz) to come to his home and offers him "Morgan David" to drink.
The final track on Elliott Smith's 1994 album, Roman Candle, is an instrumental outro titled "Kiwi Maddog 20/20."
The episode, "The Barracuda" from the TV series Sanford and Son, Fred gives Lamont a bottle of Mogen David during supper.
The lyric "Mad Dog 20/20 is king - I drink that stuff and start getting obscene" appears in the song Mean Man by W.A.S.P. from the 1989 album The Headless Children.
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Winery stakes claim to fame
- Appelbaum, Yoni (14 April 2011). "The 11th Plague? Why People Drink Sweet Wine on Passover". The Atlantic. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
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- Kegerreis, Sharon; Hathaway, Lorri (2010). "Michigan's Burgeoning Wine Industry of the 1930s to 1960s" (PDF). Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council: 21. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
In May 1953, Murch signed a contract with Wine Corporation of America of Chicago, which produced wines under the Morgan-David [sic] wine label. The contract called for a minimum of 400,000 gallons of juice a year, which was made with Concord grapes.Cite journal requires
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- Complaint In the Matter of COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY OF NEW YORK, 93 FTC Decisions Dkt. 8992, Page 110 (FTC 23 January 1979) ("The Commission, in dismissing the complaint, held that evidence failed to establish that the firm's merger with Franzia Bros. Winery would substantially lessen competition.").
- "Radio, TV Cost Winery 400G" (PDF). Billboard. 7 February 1953. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
The Wine Corporation of America (Mogen David Wine) this week went on a $400,000 binge for the purchase of two shows, one radio and the other TV, for a 13-week period.
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Chicago is the site of the world's largest winery producing the sweet, ruby wine known as Mogen David.
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Firm Will Manufacture Two More Wines
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Mogen David wines are the favorite ones among our military services abroad, and they have been introduced to the Japanese consumer with gratifying response.
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The Mogen David Wine corporation has a new winery in New York, and now is able to add New York State wines to a line of 15 still and sparkling bottles.
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Mogen David Wine Corp. was acquired by Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of New York yesterday. Mogen David will continue under its present management.
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- Lazarus, George (22 July 1979). "Italy takes Ist place in U.S. wine imports". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
'The French wines have priced themselves up and out of the market,' says Jerry Adler, president of the Mogen David/Tribuno operation in Chicago, (a unit of Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York) which recently began importing Italian wines under the Tribuno label.
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- Houston, Jack (12 June 1977). "Design firm aids bottled up winery". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
Mogen David Wine Corp. recently averted a costly relocation mistake when it hired a commercial design firm to assess its space needs.
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The latter firm's Mogen David Wine Corp. subsidiary (a Chicago firm) is its biggest profit maker.
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In November of 1980, the Company began steps to purchase The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York, Inc. (Coca-Cola New York), the largest U.S. bottler of Coca-Cola.
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The Wine Group, once a division of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of New York, became a limited partnership to acquire Mogen David, Tribuno, and Franzia Bros. from Coca-Cola.
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- Gray, W. Blake (14 April 2005). "Concord giants face off". SFGate. Hearst Communications. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
If your parents insist on Concord grape wine at this year's seder, take it from an objective gentile: serve them Mogen David.
- Jones, Eileen (15 January 2013). "Great Obscure Films #1: A New Leaf". The eXiled Online. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
He is just telling her about the wine they’re drinking, that the 1955 vintage was better than the 1953, when he is thwarted by Henrietta’s eagerness to contribute something to the feast of reason and flow of soul. So she asks this question, all earnest intent to put Henry onto a good thing, this delicious drink she’s discovered that’s called a 'Malaga Wine Cooler.'