Grapes in a Paso Robles vineyard ready to be harvested. Photo Courtesy of: Paso Robles Wine Country
A Message from the Founder of the
Wine History Project, Libbie Agran:
The reality of living in the time of COVID-19 and the raging fires in California continues to impact our lives daily; six months into the pandemic has brought change to our priorities, long-term business planning, and the structure at the Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County (WHP).
The WHP was formed five years ago to collect, organize, and archive our local wine history. As the history was gathered through oral interviews and research, it became equally important to share it with the public through our website, lectures, wine events, films at festivals and screenings, and by designing exhibits for wineries, the Paso Robles Historical Society, the Dallidet Adobe, the Pioneer Museum, SLOMA and in the vineyards and tasting rooms of local wineries.
As the project evolved since 2015, the Wine History staff has grown to five dedicated individuals, an office with our wine library and rotating exhibits in San Luis Obispo, and a large collection of historic tools, equipment, and wines produced over the last fifty years in our county. Our Advisory Board has provided the expertise to help us build the scholarship we are so proud of. Funding for the project and our employees had come from a small group of private donors.
Before the Pandemic, we applied for non-profit status as an educational organization which was granted on January 31, 2020. The Wine History Project joined over 1000 local non-profits in the county. Six months later, however, our world has changed so much; it is a time for all local non-profits to reexamine their missions, relevance, and their impact in the county.
We at the Wine History Project have reset our priorities and decided not to continue as a nonprofit; our project will continue with private support and a reduced budget and staff. Three of us, Libbie Agran, Cindy Lambert, and Aimee Armour-Avant, will continue to work from home writing the history, sending our newsletters, and posting it on the website. We will continue to edit and release our films and make them available on Vimeo. Our office and library are open by appointment. We will miss staff members Heather Muran and Karen Petersen, both of whom have contributed so much to our outreach in the county, the many events we have hosted, and to the success of the Wine History Project in 2019 and 2020.
The Wine History Project’s list of charitable priorities starts with supporting our local “front line workers,” and the children and families who are in need of food, education, child care, health care, and shelter. Our second priority is to support those who have lost their homes, vineyards, and businesses in the wildfires across California. The Wine History Project has been providing this type of financial support to those in need over the past five years. We will continue to partner with local organizations and with you to achieve our goals.
We are all in this together.
Libbie Agran, Director
Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County