Introduction/Description –

Archives have been an important way for societies to retain their knowledge and identities going back to ancient times. It’s a pride and privilege for me to continue this noble function for San Luis Obispo County’s wine history. As with any type of skilled work, archives have changed to embrace the benefits of our digital world. While accessing historical records and collections have been more difficult when these collections were completely analog, the digital advent makes finding and interacting with collections more inclusive. Now, archives are able to arrange, describe, and organize collections in ways that best preserve the items for greater amounts of time while embracing the societal needs of accessing the same items for educational, governmental, and personal use.

WHY – Our goals in preserving objects

The ephemera collections of the WHP consist of both physical and digital collections. Physical collections include bottles, taps, corkscrews, labels, photographs, highly sought-after catalogs, historical maps, and historical publications. Our digital collections contain digital images and scans of our physical items and San Luis Obispo County winemaker family history. It is our goal to preserve these historical items and histories for future generations to understand the founding and evolutions of San Luis Obispo County winemaking and those responsible for the proliferation of an important wine producing area. 

WHAT – Some specifics on the WHP archives


Machine man art

– Nicolas Catalogues – Maison Nicolas (Nicolas House) has the distinction of being the first wine retailer in France. Between 1928 and 1973, Nicolas published catalogues which depicted commissioned artists’ works within the pages of France’s finest wines. The imagery in these catalogues consists of religious, French culture, and abstract works of astounding art.


– Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) Archeologist, Mike Imwalle, obtained a cutting from the original San Gabriel Mission grape stock. This stock has lineage to Spain’s vineyards dating back to the California Missions era. From this cutting, twenty Mission Grape Vines are now growing at the Dana Adobe in the Heritage Mission Vineyards. The Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County have photographic documentation in our Archival Collection of the planting and care of these historic grapevines.

Statue of a man

– Prohibition Corkscrews and Bar tools are a curious collection which demonstrates ways bars and wine sellers continued their beloved practices. These kinds of collections provide a glimpse at the reaction of people to cultural shifts that impacted wine production and drinking. The cultural reflection of societal reaction to eras like the United States’ Prohibition existed in more than just local papers. Rare items like Syroco’s Old Codger Figural Corkscrew are fascinating and present the myriad ways folks perceived and adjusted to societal forces.

HOW – Archiving and preserving our collections

The Wine History Project collects and preserves physical artifacts and digital items from local wineries, winemakers, and those passionate about San Luis Obispo County wine history. The archives organize, describe, and preserve collections items by making them accessible in digital form and ensuring items are housed so that future researchers and historians will be able to access and write about wine history, in most cases specific to San Luis Obispo County.


We invite all to enjoy San Luis Obispo County’s wine history and families that impacted the county’s history. Our mission is to obtain these histories, present them in articles, and make them available for archives users to research, learn, and enjoy fascinating trips down memory lane. The staff here at the Wine History Project would love to hear from you about any inquiries into our collections, research projects, or interesting things we could add to our collections to continue building on our mission to preserve San Luis Obispo’s wine history. You can contact us .