Food & Drink

Wine Notes: Wine bar and retail shop to open in SLO

By Thursday, a new wine bar and retail shop will open near the corner of Chorro and Palm streets in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Alegria Wine and Ware is the newest venture of the Hance family. David Hance is marketing director for Middleton Family Wines, which owns Clayhouse Vineyard in Paso Robles and three other wineries in Delano and Washington.

“The Palm Theatre is right around the corner,” said Hance, who also has been involved with the nearby San Luis Obispo Little Theatre.

Aiming Alegria to the local arts community, he hopes it will provide a late-night alternative to the traditional downtown bar atmosphere. On Fridays and Saturdays, it will close at 11 p.m. Other nights, it will close at 9.

An advocate of the local Slow Food chapter, Hance has worked with wine for about three decades. His brother, John Hance, will manage the family members and “limited staff” training to work at Alegria.

Open from 11 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday, the shop will carry 50 to 60 wines. About half will be local. Prices range from $10 to $30.

Bottles and glasses of wine will be sold alongside tablewares from local craftspeople.

“We found a ceramicist, a wood turner, a glass blower,” David Hance said. “We’re selling and serving on their wares.”Alegria will focus on the story behind each wine, dish or glass. Facing the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, the shop also will feature Spanish-style varietals, such as tempranillo and albariño.

“Wine always feels like an expression of what somebody’s trying to do in some specific place,” he said. “Those are things from real people who care about where they’re from and want to do something special there.”

The California Association of Winegrape Growers is accepting nominations for its new Awards of Excellence.

Intended as annual honors, the awards will be in two categories: Leader of the Year and Grower of the Year. Both will be honored at a reception in Sacramento in late January.

Submission forms are at Nominations and supporting documentation are due by Dec. 2.

Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, will be the keynote speaker at the Sustainable Agriculture Pest Management Conference in San Luis Obispo.

The annual event promotes strategies for pest control advisers, consultants and growers. The event will be held Dec. 2 and 3. Fees range from $25 to $240 for students and professionals. To register, visit or call 756-5086.

Have a suggestion for Wine Notes? Email or call 441-4556.