Reading San Luis Obispo County Wine — A World Class History by Libbie Agran and Heather Muran with the Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County brought back a lot of great memories and also filled in a lot of gaps.
I think Karen and I started visiting the Paso Robles wine region in the late 1980s or early 1990s. One of my earliest memories of visiting the wineries of Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County dates back to us driving down the 101 from the San Francisco Bay area and making a pit stop at Castoro Cellars. Around that time, we also had many happy visits to places like York Mountain Winery, Estrella River Winery [Gary Eberle’s first winery], Arciero, Pesenti and others that are no longer with us, at least in their former incarnations. Castoro, of course, is still producing great wines, along with a host of others that we have seen spring up throughout the area that we have come to consider practically our second home.
And while I’ve felt that my knowledge of the Paso Robles wine region has been pretty extensive, this book taught me so much about what I didn’t know and really filled in the connections between the various industry icons over the history of not only Paso Robles but Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande as well.
The Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County was founded by Libbie Agran in 2015 to study and document the vineyards, varietals, growers and winemakers of the area going back to the 1700s. Working with Heather Muran [who served as a historian with the project in 2019 and 2020], the book [Libbie’s second], presents the history of the region along with the interrelationships of the people involved in an extremely readable and easy to understand fashion.
Libbie’s writing style flows off the page. She went through numerous oral interviews to collect history and information. The book is also highlighted with many family photographs of the founding members of the SLO Wine region. At the end of each chapter, Libbie lists several historical sites to visit that were discussed in that chapter.
But wait, there’s more!
While the book is a must-read in its own right, I also highly recommend that you check out the Wine History Project’s website. There, you can dig deeper into what is presented in the book and support the work that Libbie is doing. Last April [wow, time flies] I wrote about the film 91 Harvests Perlis Picks: 91 Harvests (evewine101.com) which covers the Dusi family history, but the website provides all the information on the other work that Libbie and her team are doing, as well as exhibitions around the area – I am definitely looking forward to checking these out on our next visit.
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 30 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also President of MCP Financial, which provides outsourced controller services. Michael can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.