Mogen David

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.[4]

Mogen David Wine Corporation
PredecessorWine Corporation of America
FoundedChicago, United States (1933 (1933))
  • Max Cohen
  • Henry Markus
United States
Key people
E. Schwartz, President[citation needed]
Revenue$200,000,000 to $499,999,999[2]
Number of employees
100 to 250[2]
ParentThe Wine Group, LLC[3]

Mogen David is the Yiddish pronunciation of the Hebrew Magen David, which literally means "shield of David", but is used metaphorically to refer to the six-pointed Star of David.


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.[5]


Founded months before the Repeal of Prohibition by Max Cohen and Henry Markus in Chicago,[6] the California Wine Company bottled medicinal and sacramental wines,[7] changing its name to Wine Corporation of America in 1941[8] when it began making wine from Concord grape juice (or concentrate) shipped from growers in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio[9] and later Michigan.[10]

Chicago wineryEdit

Following World War II the company purchased a 50,000 square foot (4,600 m2) building at 3737 South Sacramento Ave[11] 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.[9][12] Annual production of Mogen David was 75,000 US gallons (280,000 l; 62,000 imp gal) in 1946.[13] 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.[14][15] Max Cohen, company President and founder, noted that 98 percent of Mogen David's customers were not Jewish.[16]

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[17] and to nearly 5,000,000 US gallons (19,000,000 l; 4,200,000 imp gal) for 1953,[13][18] and in that year Wine Corporation of America took the name of its most important product, becoming the Mogen David Wine Corporation.[12]

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.[19] 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.[14]

In the early 1960s, concord wine was still the biggest seller in the Mogen David line, along with a rosé, a blackberry wine, a cherry wine and a dry red wine.[20]

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."[6]

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.[21] Some operations were moved to Westfield in 1967; Mogen David's Westfield winery was closer to the vineyards in the Northeast that grow Concord grapes for its wines,[22][23] the Chicago plants remained open.[7][24]

By 1968, Mogen David was producing a dozen different wines and two kinds of champagne.[25] The company broke away from its conventional Mogen David line with the introduction of the MD 20/20 brand[note 1] 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.[14][23]

Acquisition by Coke-New YorkEdit

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)[26] 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.[14][27] J. Myron "Mike" Bay was an officer in both companies: President of Mogen David as well as a VP of Coke-New York.[26][28]

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).[28] 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.[14]

The Jug line of strawberry and apple pop wines, packaged in country-style brown and white jugs, was introduced in 1973.[29][30] Mogen David had the fourth largest winery and the third largest advertising budget in the wine industry in 1973 [14]

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.[31] 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.[14][22]

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.[32] 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.[33][34]

A study of wine marketing in 1980 found that Mogen David consumers apparently had the strongest brand loyalty in the varietal table wine category.[35]

Acquisition by The Wine GroupEdit

Discussions between The Coca-Cola Company and The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York about a possible acquisition of the latter began in 1974, to little effect.[36]

When merger discussions resumed in 1980,[37] The Coca-Cola Company had already entered the alcoholic beverage market; their Wine Spectrum subsidiary consisting of wineries in California and New York.[22] 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.[38] 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,[39] to avoid a buyout involving a third party.[22][40] The Wine Group was the fifth largest wine producer nationally (just behind Coca-Cola's Wine Spectrum) for 1981 with sales of nine million cases, the same as the year before.[41]

In 1998, 1.5 million adults were drinking Mogen David, putting it just ahead of its chief competitor Manischewitz.[22] By 2005, Manischewitz was again dominant with more than half of kosher wine sales, Mogen David was second with 33 percent of the market.[42]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Markus, 73, Ex-Winery Owner, Dies". Chicago Tribune. 9 September 1972. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b "MOGEN DAVID WINE CORP". Cortera Business Directory. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  3. ^ "Mogen David Wine Corporation". Businessweek. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Legal & Privacy". Mogen David. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Mogen David Wines". Retrieved 2013-05-18.
  6. ^ a b Schreiber, George (9 January 1962). "Mogen David's Chairman Resigns; Bares Friction". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  7. ^ a b Church, Ruth Ellen (27 June 1974). "Let's learn about wines". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 May 2016. Winery stakes claim to fame
  8. ^ Appelbaum, Yoni (14 April 2011). "The 11th Plague? Why People Drink Sweet Wine on Passover". The Atlantic. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  9. ^ a b Pinney, Thomas (2005). A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present, Volume 2. University of California Press. p. 174. ISBN 9780520241763.
  10. ^ 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 |journal= (help)
  11. ^ "WINE CORPORATION PURCHASES BUILDING ON S. SACRAMENTO". Chicago Tribune. 5 September 1948. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  12. ^ a b Adams, Harry (24 July 1953). "Chicago Takes Corking Role In Wine Trade". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  13. ^ a b Freedman, Morris (1 May 1954). "From the American Scene: Wine Like Mother Used to Make". Commentary. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g 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.").
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ Birnbaum, Asher; Soichet, Louis (5 December 1952). "'Wine That Grandma Used to Make' To Issue New, Kosher Recipe Booklet". The National Jewish Post. Indianapolis. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  17. ^ Savage (21 October 1949). "Tower Ticker". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 May 2016. Chicago is the site of the world's largest winery producing the sweet, ruby wine known as Mogen David.
  18. ^ Ganchiff, Mark (1 February 2016). "What Happened to the Original Midwest Wineries?". Midwest Wine Press. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  19. ^ "Mogen David Buys Plant to Hike Capacity". Chicago Tribune. 7 December 1955. Retrieved 5 May 2016. Firm Will Manufacture Two More Wines
  20. ^ Church, Ruth Ellen (6 December 1963). "The Only Winery in Chicago Is One of the World's Biggest". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 5 May 2016. Mogen David wines are the favorite ones among our military services abroad, and they have been introduced to the Japanese consumer with gratifying response.
  21. ^ "SELL MOGEN DAVID WINE COMPANY TO N.Y. BUSINESS MAN". Chicago Tribune. 10 May 1963. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  22. ^ a b c d e "Background Information on The Wine Group, Inc". Reference For Business. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  23. ^ a b "History of The Wine Group, Inc". FundingUniverse. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  24. ^ Church, Ruth Ellen (8 March 1968). "Champagne Toasts to Brides Becoming More Popular". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 May 2016. 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.
  25. ^ Taylor, Lynn (22 March 1968). "Champagne Ad Is a Corker". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  26. ^ a b "1970 Annual Report" (PDF). The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York, Inc. February 1971. Retrieved 7 May 2016. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  27. ^ "Coca-Cola Acquires Mogen David Wine". Chicago Tribune. 12 November 1970. Retrieved 7 May 2016. Mogen David Wine Corp. was acquired by Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of New York yesterday. Mogen David will continue under its present management.
  28. ^ a b Weiner, Leonard (5 November 1972). "Home of Mogen David - Kedzie Av. 'Wine Country'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  29. ^ Lazarus, George (2 April 1973). "Mogen David goes to jugs". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  30. ^ Lazarus, George (21 January 1974). "Mogen David Jug ripples wine market". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ Lazarus, George (14 September 1976). "Alder wine firm president". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  33. ^ Lazarus, George (23 March 1977). "Mogen David aims for Tribuno build-up". Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ Folwell, Raymond J. (1980). Olson, Jerry C. (ed.). "Marketing to the Wine Consumer--An Overview". NA - Advances in Consumer Research. Ann Abor, MI: Association for Consumer Research. 7: Pages 89–94.
  36. ^ Lazarus, George (28 January 1974). "Things go better with wine". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 7 May 2016. The latter firm's Mogen David Wine Corp. subsidiary (a Chicago firm) is its biggest profit maker.
  37. ^ "Annual Report 1980" (PDF). The Coca-Cola Company. 4 March 1981. p. 4. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 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.
  38. ^ "COCA-COLA TO SELL 3 WINE CONCERNS". New York Times. 16 July 1981. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  39. ^ Ciocca, Arthur A. (2000), "Arthur A. Ciocca and the Wine Group, Inc.: Insights into the Wine Industry from a Marketing Perspective", an oral history conducted in 1999 by Carole Hicke, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library (PDF), Berkeley: University of California
  40. ^ Berger, Dan (28 January 1988). "$14.1-Million Deal Takes Distiller From Wine Market : S.F. Firm to Buy Glenmore Distilleries Winery". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 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.
  41. ^ Robards, Terry (3 April 1982). "GALLO, BIGGEST IN WINE, GREW EVEN BIGGER IN 1981". New York Times. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  42. ^ 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.
  1. ^ The "20/20" originally stood for the wine's 20% ABV in a 20 ounce [591 ml] flask-shaped bottle. The alcohol content has been lowered to between 16% and 18% ABV in recent years (depending on the variety). The bottle was upsized to 750 ml after the US went through metrication between 1976 and 1980.

External linksEdit