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March 2021

The Wine History Project collects and archives over 250 years of wine history in San Luis Obispo County. Visit us at

Each month we post biographies of legendary growers, winemakers, innovators, movers and shakers. We highlight tools and equipment from our historic collections. We write the history of American wine and review books and films for your enjoyment.


Our new book, San Luis Obispo County Wine - A World-Class History, is out now and available for purchase on our website. Your purchase supports the Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County by funding our research, our website, and our educational programs.

Local viticulture originated with the Spanish missions but it blossomed with the influx of courageous adventurers who planted their own vineyards. This book tells the unique stories of these legendary winemakers who moved to San Luis Obispo County.

Book Events

Join Libbie Agran and Heather Muran on local radio this week -  the Dave Congalton Hometown Radio Show on the  3 to 4 pm hour broadcast, Wednesday, March 3rd, to hear more about the book. Tune into KVEC News Talk 920AM or 96.5FM.

Another way to hear about our book this week is to join the live broadcast on the Paso Wine Hour at 3:00 pm on Thursday, March 4th for San Luis Obispo County Wine: A World-Class History with host Chris Taranto. Guests include authors Libbie Agran and Heather Muran. Joining us will be winemakers Janell Dusi of J Dusi Winery and Tom Myers of Castoro Cellars.

Purchase Now
NEW SERIES Mission Grapes and Early San Luis Obispo History

Mission Grapes

What makes California so unique in viticulture and so distinct from the rest of the United States? Explore our geography and the links to Spanish culture.

The grapevines, Vitis vinifera, were brought by ship from Spain and were known as Mission Grapes. It is the first widely planted grape in California. Read about the Trinity Vine.

The Wine History Project is collaborating with Len Hoskins and Tolosa winery to plant Mission vineyards at CalPoly and the Dana Adobe by using cuttings from the original “Mother Vine” planted at the San Gabriel Mission. Read about the links to the Presidio in Santa Barbara and the cuttings donated to the Wine History Project by Len Hoskins.

Len and Libbie are also working on identifying all the mission grapevines in our county.

Please notify us if you know of any mission grapevines located in San Luis Obispo County:

WINE HISTORY Supporting One Another

Paso Robles History Museum

The Paso Robles History Museum will open soon. The Wine History Project will host exhibitions in the new Wine History Gallery so please come visit us in Paso Robles in the City Park.

Here is a list of the opening exhibits:
1. VITICULTURAL MAPS: Aimee Armour-Avant is creating these maps.
2. ZIN/SLO - The Mysteries and Characteristics of Zinfandel.
3. TOM MYERS - MADE IN PASO - the man who has filled over 200 million bottles with wine in San Luis Obispo County.
4. COOPERS TOOLS Early barrel making tools which were donated by coopers from France. The exhibit will also feature a barrel partially reconstructed.
5. WINE BECOMES ART featuring four artists on the Central Coast who have designed labels and etched wine bottles to commemorate famous wine events and celebrations: James-Paul Brown, Timothy Lloyd, Candice Norcross and Yuroz Gevorgian.
6. SIZE MATTERS - an exhibition explaining the names, sizes and mythology behind each unique wine bottle on display.
7. Two WINE HISTORY TIMELINES will be permanent exhibits - The Central Coast Timeline and The North County Timeline.

Here is a list of what we will exhibit in  2021:

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY’S WINE HISTORY HAS BEEN SHAPED BY ITALIAN FAMILIES FOR 100 YEARS - this exhibition will celebrate a century of their contributions to local wine history in their vineyards and wineries.

6,000 YEARS OF WINEMAKING IN AMPHORAE - featuring the history and the winemakers that are carrying on this tradition in San Luis Obispo County today.

WINEMAKING PAIRS WITH MUSIC - Winemakers and Musicians



Rotta Winery

The Rotta Winery in Templeton has been purchased by Bill Lapp and his family who are committed to preserving the long and colorful history of the winery as well as producing wonderful new wines. Bill read about the Rotta Legend on our website.

Here is information about Bill and his family’s vision:

We are the Lapp family and we are humbled to be the new proprietors and caretakers of Rotta Winery. We first came to Paso Robles in 2015 and began our farming and winemaking journey with Hollyhock Vineyard. For the past few years we have been searching for a property that would combine unparalleled westside hills, ideal location for welcoming visitors, a winery facility, and a rich heritage.  

If you haven’t visited the Rotta Winery in the past few weeks we encourage you to stop in and say hello. We have a number of projects underway including vineyard and facility improvements, expanded team, upgraded customer service, and more that we are excited to share with you regularly via our newsletter and social media.  We will continue to be in touch ongoing!


Bill told me he was familiar with the Wine History Project because he read the article about the Rotta family on our website and found it in his words, “very useful.”

He also told me that he has a historical/site improvement plan which initially includes:

We are working on the previously approved historic winery re-construction.
We pulled out the struggling zinfandel hill that was not on a phylloxera resistant rootstock and are working to replant it. Our intent is to replant the hill in a similar head trained dry farmed manner but to also switch to organic practices.  

We will continue to report on Bill Lapp’s progress.
Current Status at our Office. The Wine History Project office is re-opening with masks and social distancing required.

Our office is open by appointment and on Fridays from 10:45 AM to 1:15 PM.

Our new book is available for purchase in our offices or we can mail it directly to you. Contact



Please contact to share your history with us.

The Wine History Project of SLO County preserves and presents two centuries of local viticulture through research, interviews, exhibitions, publications, talks and tastings. We work with local museums, galleries, archives, and wineries to organize events and exhibitions in venues throughout the county.

Together We Can Preserve the Story of Central Coast Winemaking

Copyright © 2021 Wine History Project, All rights reserved.

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