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First Nationwide Publication:
Wine History Project selected to write comprehensive wine history of San Luis Obispo County by East Coast publisher

The Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County has been selected by an East Coast publishing company to write a book covering the comprehensive wine history of 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.

“We are very excited about documenting San Luis Obispo County’s rich agricultural history for a nationwide audience,” says Libbie Agran, Director of the Wine History Project. Libbie and Historian Heather Muran will be  working in collaboration with local historical societies and museums, Cal Poly, UC Berkeley, and local libraries. 

“We will be in touch with the growers, winemakers and all those involved in viticulture who have shaped the wine history of our county to collect stories and photographs” says Agran. “This book will be the first comprehensive wine history of SLO County to have national attention. We are looking forward to connect with anyone who has local history to contribute. This project welcomes the community’s collaboration.”

The book spans the early history of vineyards at the Spanish Missions through the trying times of Prohibition. The story of those vineyards and wineries that survived Prohibition, the quiet years of the 1940s through the 1960s as home winemaking and new wineries were established and the explosion of modern winemaking starting in the 1970s to the present are unique in California Wine History. For more information, please contact Libbie Agran at 310-903-6326 or Heather Muran at 805-458-9016. 

Historic Documentary:
The Legacy of Prohibition film makes its debut in SLO County

The Wine History Project will host two screenings of the film,  America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition, to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of Prohibition on January 17, 1920. 

The film, America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition will be screened at a reception on Friday, January 17th at 5pm at the Pioneer Museum in Paso Robles, and Saturday, January 18th at 5pm at the Monday Club, located at 1815 Monterey in San Luis Obispo.  Immediately following  the film, the Wine History Project will host a dynamite panel of writers and producers including Carla De Luca Worfork, Emmy Award-winning producer at CNN, Dr. Victor Geraci, former director of the Oral History Center at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, and Mary Orlin, James Beard and Emmy Award-winning multimedia wine journalist and educator. The panel will discuss the era of Prohibition and the impact it had on the wine industry in California.  

This is the first time America’s Wine: The Legacy of Prohibition film has been screened in San Luis Obispo County.  The panel is responsible for writing, filming and producing the film, in collaboration with the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley.
Prior to the screenings, the Wine History Project will host a reception featuring historic vineyards and wineries of San Luis Obispo County along with appetizers by Debbie Collins of Del Monte Cafe.  The reception will begin at 5pm with the film beginning at 6pm. Tickets to attend the film screenings are $25 per person. For more information and to purchase tickets contact Karen Peterson at or CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE.
Click Here to Learn More

Celebrating 100 years since Prohibition was enacted in January 1920:  Call for Family Stories

The Wine History Project is currently working on an exhibit to highlight San Luis Obispo’s history of prohibition.  Our historians are looking to interview families and collect stories relating to Prohibition as well as tools, instruments or equipment to add to their expanding collection of items from Prohibition. Watch for upcoming announcements of exhibits on Prohibition in 2020.  Please contact Libbie Agran  at 310-903-6326 or Heather Muran at 805-458-9016 for more information.

Wine History Project Supports Wildfire Relief in Sonoma County through partnership with Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance

In the wake of the devastating Kincade Fire in Sonoma County and the Great North Coast, the Wine History Project has donated $1000 to the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance’s Wildfire Relief Fund, supporting the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation, Corazón Healdsburg Unity and Community Fund, and Community Foundation of Sonoma County – Resilience Fund.  These charities are dedicated to helping those most impacted by the fires and helping with relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts. Over 30 wineries are participating in the wildfire relief fundraising effort, with participating winery tasting rooms in Paso Robles donating $1 per bottle of wine sold November 1 – 30 to charities helping those affected.
Wine History Project Historian Heather Muran joined Paso Wine Alliance Executive Director Joel Peterson and Board Chairman Tyler Russell on the KRUSH 92.5FM Liquid Lunch show to talk about the wildfire relief fund.  You can view the entire interview by clicking the link here.

Click here for more information on Wildfire Relief Fund

Wine History Project Legend: Adolphe Siot, first Zinfandel grower in Templeton

This month the Wine History Project features Adolphe Siot, the first vintner in the area just west of the town of Templeton. The vineyards and winery that we know today as the Rotta Winery were established by Adolphe Siot, who purchased the land in 1891 from the West Coast Land Company. Adolphe was a farmer, and his grapevine and fruit tree plantings were the first to grow in the area of Templeton, which has since become a major grape growing and winemaking region.  

Click Here to read more about Adolfe Siot
EXHIBITIONS Current Exhibitions

Dusi Family Zinfandel Grape Growers Exhibit

The Wine History Project has posted two educational panels featuring the Dusi family’s four generations of grape growing and farming in Paso Robles.  The exhibit also features the history of the Dusi family, which began with Sylvester and Caterina Dusi emigrating to the United States from their villages, Ono Degno and Casto, in northern Italy in the early 20th Century.


The exhibit is available to view at the J Dusi Tasting Room, open daily from 11am-5pm and located at 1401 California 46 West in Paso Robles.  CLICK HERE to learn more about the Dusi Family.

Mysteries & Characteristics of Zinfandel: Exhibits at Saucelito Canyon and Turley

The exhibit features the journey of the Zinfandel grape from Georgia and Croatia to San Luis Obispo County, and how it has become the Heritage Grape of the Golden State.  The exhibit is available to view at two locations:

Saucelito Canyon Tasting Room, located at 3080 Biddle Ranch Road in San Luis Obispo, open daily from 10am-5pm. CLICK HERE for more information.

Turley Wine Cellars Tasting Room, located at 2900 Vineyard Drive, Templeton, CA 93465. The tasting room is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. CLICK HERE for more information.

40 Years of Winemaking
Eberle Firsts Exhibit in Paso Robles

The Wine History Project has launched a new exhibit featuring Gary Eberle and 40 years of winemaking at Eberle Winery in Paso Robles.  Gary Eberle has played a major role in helping shape the history of the Paso Robles winegrowing region, and is considered a visionary within the industry.  


The exhibit is now open at Eberle Tasting room, located at 3810 California 46 East in Paso Robles.  For more information, please visit:

Hank Donatoni Celebrates 40 years of Winemaking: Hank Donatoni and the Art of Zinfandel

The Wine History Project is proud to feature a celebration panel installment at Donatoni Winery in Paso Robles.  The new  panel features Hank’s achievements and quotes about his life and experiences in the wine industry. Hank is one of the last living San Luis Obispo County winemakers to share memories of hand harvesting.  His partnership with other winemakers in SLO County, including his thirty-six year friendship with Zinfandel grower Richard Sauret, led to their collaboration in producing award-winning Donatoni vintages and verticals from 2009 to 2017.   

You can view Hank Donatoni’s celebration panel at the Donatoni Winery and tasting room by appointment only. Please call 805-226-0620 or email

Seeking Gold, Finding Grapes
Exhibit in Paso Robles

The Wine History Project’s exhibit, Seeking Gold, Finding Grapes, is on display at the El Paso de Robles Area Historical Society in Paso Robles now through December 2019.  The display features a collection of rare bottles and tools from the California Gold Rush Era.

The El Paso de Robles Area Historical Society is located in the Carnegie Library, City Park, downtown Paso Robles, California. Open Tuesday & Thursday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Closed Monday & Wednesday and major holidays.

Become a Contributor to the
Wine History Project

The Wine History Project has been funded by several generous contributors for the past four years. We have been approached by many individuals and businesses asking how they can support the work we are doing.  Our team is working to expand research and preserve the history of San Luis Obispo County’s wine history and we now have sponsorship opportunities for businesses and individuals.  The Wine History Project has worked to fund research staff, collections, archives and educational exhibits and has received funding for ongoing projects and exhibits.  

In order to expand education programs, we are offering underwriting opportunities for local businesses to collaborate with upcoming projects for 2020.

The Wine History Project is seeking financial support to help fund the following research and educational projects:

  • Prohibition exhibits highlighting SLO County History to be shown in multiple locations throughout the County in 2020.

  • Exhibit on HMR Winery (Stanley Hoffman) and Andre Tchelishtchef 1960s and 1970s.

  • Exhibit on Edna Valley wine growers and producers in the 1970s

  • Research on the impact of home winemaking on the wine industry in SLO County

  • Research on the rise of wine competitions at California fairs in the 1880s

  • The research and writing of the book on the wine history of  SLO County

  • Recording the oral histories of wine growers and producers in SLO County

  • Preparing legends and historic timelines of San Luis Obispo County featured on our websites

  • The database of archived photos, files and historical documents related to SLO wine history

  • Historic collections of wine tools, equipment, wines and science now housed in San Luis Obispo

  • Documentary films on growers and winemakers in San Luis Obispo County

  • Wine history tours of SLO County 

Contributors will be invited to two Wine History Project events each year, including educational lectures and wine tastings, invitation to previews of exhibits, access to archives and records obtained by Wine History Project, exclusive discounts to events, and educational opportunities along with docent-lead wine history tours throughout San Luis Obispo County.  To become a contributor to the Wine History Project, please contact Heather Muran at or 805-458-9016. 

Contact Us

Libbie Agran

Aimee Armour-Avant
Information Designer

Cindy Lambert
Collections Manager

Heather Muran
Historian & Outreach

Karen Petersen
Events Manager​

The Wine History Project was established in 2015 to study the land, microclimates, grape varietals, growers and winemakers who have shaped the wine history of San Luis Obispo County. Today the Wine History Project is staffed by historians and museum professionals who collaborate with a diverse group of advisers and founders. We continue to document and preserve the unique wine and food history of San Luis Obispo County

Central to our research is the process of interviewing growers and winemakers who have shaped the wine history of SLO County. It is through these relationships that we build upon the story of wine in our county while collecting and archiving historical photographs, documents, videography and recordings to preserve their history.

Together We Can Preserve the Story of Central Coast Winemaking

Copyright © 2019 Wine History Project, All rights reserved.

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