About the Wine History Project
San Luis Obispo’s wine history begins in the late 1700s when the Franciscans brought vines and winemaking from Spain to establish two of the most successful mission vineyards in California. Following the California gold rush, farmers from around the world settled here to plant grains, fruit trees, almonds, walnuts and hundreds of grape varietals in a diversity of microclimates and soils. Commercial winemaking was established in San Luis Obispo by Pierre Hypolite Dallidet by the 1860s on the property where his home is still preserved. Since that time, innovative and enterprising growers and winemakers have had a significant influence on the economy of California and wine culture world-wide.
We believe in actively engaging the public to educate and delight them in discovering San Luis Obispo County’s distinctive wine and food history.
Research & Preservation
Our approach to preserving this wine and agricultural history begins with investigation. Central to our research is the process of interviewing growers and winemakers who have shaped the wine history of San Luis Obispo County. It is through these relationships that we build upon the story of wine in our county—a story that without diligent documentation and preservation will soon be lost.
Our permanent collection includes historical vineyard tools and winemaking equipment dating from as early as 1860, rare wine bottles, wine labels, photographs, artwork, personal papers, and documents.
Exhibitions & Lectures
We work with local museums, galleries, archives, and wineries to produce exhibitions and organize events throughout the county.
The Wine History Project published its first book celebrating Archie McLaren: The Journey from Memphis Blues to the Central Coast Wine Revolution in 2019. It is written in Archie’s voice as told to the Wine History Project and features stories from McLaren’s early years growing up in the deep South, along with his journey to San Luis Obispo County and his love of wine, food, and people. We publish a variety of articles on wine history, tools, grape growers, and winemakers on our website, including those written by the Wine History Project as well as by guest authors.
Wine History Project’s second book is a comprehensive look at the wine history in San Luis Obispo County. The book will feature agricultural history dating back to the earliest grape plantings in the Mission Era of the late 1700s through the present day. The book will cover several eras of winemaking beginning with the Spanish Missions through the trying times of Prohibition, as well as commercial winegrowing in North and South County in the 1970s. The Wine History Project anticipates the book to be completed and released in 2020. Director Libbie Agran and historian Heather Muran will be working to interview, research and document SLO County’s wine history. For questions and to learn more about the Wine History Project’s new book, or to contribute information, please contact Libbie Agran at 310-903-6326 or Heather Muran at 805-458-9016.
Board of Advisors
July Ackerman, Don Campbell, Jan Cannon, Vicki Carroll, Marc Goldberg, Ian McPhee, Tom Myers, Brian Talley
3592 Broad Street,
San Luis Obispo,