The Fruithurst Winery Company
Open Year Round
In 1894 the Alabama Fruit Growers and Winery Association (AFG&W), composed of northern owners came to the area then known as Zidonia, previously Summit Cut, and began negotiations for land. Once the land had been acquired and the people and businesses began to move in, the young town held a contest and the name "Fruithurst" was declared the winner.
The city and surrounding areas were covered by 3000 acres of vineyards and orchards. It was populated by Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, as well as Northerners. Fruithurst was also home to one of the finest hotels in the southeast. The A.F.G.& W. constructed the Fruithurst Inn at a cost of $40,000 in the 1890's. It was 3 full stories, boasting 80 rooms with central steam heat, a restaurant, running water, a billiard room, bowling alley, barber shop, and several business offices. The towns motto "Here We Rest" was carved into the mantle in the lobby.
Due to an exceptional advertising campaign, the town boomed. Within the city of Fruithurst there was a large variety of businesses. Among them were a bank, barber shop, hardware store, a planing mill, laundry, furniture store, pharmacy, livery barn, meat market, grocery, bakery, drug store, and a watch repair. In addition there was a telegraph office, basket and crate factory and several vineyardist businesses.
There were many wineries ranging from the large corporate type to the small independent family operation. These wineries converted the hundred or so varieties of grapes into wines including claret, port, sherry, and muscatel. There were several derivatives of these basic wines. 23,000 gallons of wine were produced in 1898 by the wineries in Fruithurst.
As each year brought an increasing yield of grapes, the profits did not run in proportion to the harvest. The grapes were of excellent quality and they were converted economically into thousands of gallons of choice wines, but there was no good market for the wines. The situation continued to deteriorate until Prohibition closed the last of the wineries in 1919.