The Wine History Project

We collect and present two centuries of local viticulture history through research, interviews, exhibitions, films, and publications and work with local vintners and growers to bring to life the wine history of San Luis Obispo County.

Together We Can Preserve the Story of Central Coast Winemaking

Explore the stories of the men and women who made viticultural history in our county in People. Learn about the historical tools and equipment used in cultivating grapevines and making wine in Objects. Delve deep into the chronology of wine history in the county in Wine.

Reach out to us and help contribute to our continually expanding wine history timeline and archival collection. Contact Us

  • Legends

Clarence Casteel (1879-1953) and Melvin Casteel (1914-1980)

The Casteel family was one of the early pioneers to settle in Dover Canyon in 1887. Four generations of the Casteel family have worked and owned ranches in Northern San Luis Obispo County. Clarence Casteel planted vineyards in 1914 at the east end of Jensen Road. His son Mel who worked in those vineyards, later acquired his father’s ranch property in 1956 and became well known for his Zinfandel grapes grown on some of the oldest Zinfandel clones in California. He sold his grapes to many winemakers including David Benion of Ridge Vineyards in Santa Clara County, who favored old vine Zinfandel.

From the Collection

Wine - 18th Century History

Wine History: 1500 to 1800

The art of winemaking and the rootstock that we call the Mission Grape, belonging to the famed Vitis vinifera species of grapes, were brought to California by the Spaniards. The grape, first known as Listan Prieto, arrived in Mexico around 1540 and was planted in what is now New Mexico in the 1620s.

Wine - 19th Century History

The Wine House – Paso Robles 1887

1144 Pine Street, located on the southeast corner of Pine at 12th Street, has been many things over the years. It is currently an Italian restaurant and formerly home to Villa Creek. Further back in time, to the year 1887 to be exact, the property housed The Wine House and Billiard Hall, owned and operated by E.J. Carpeaux.

Wine - 20th Century History

Wines in the White House – Talley Vineyards served in the Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations

The wines of San Luis Obispo County have traveled to Washington D.C. to be served at inaugurations, celebrations, state and holiday luncheons, and family dinners at the White House and Camp David during the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. This series of articles celebrates the wineries and winemakers who produced these historic wines.