Biz Buzz: Vintners group sours on Taste

Taste, the downtown San Luis Obispo business featuring local wines, is closing on Nov. 9.

The store opened in December 2006 in the Court Street shopping center with the participation of 14 San Luis Obispo County wineries, said Becky Gray, executive director of the San Luis Vintners Association.

The goal was to use Taste as a marketing tool, exposing locals and tourists to San Luis Obispo’s wine region and its small boutique wineries, she said.

That year, The Tribune reported that a shift in marketing strategy to focus on Taste resulted in the vintners group losing some members who didn’t support its promotional priorities.

Years later, Gray said the group wants to take on “bigger and better marketing options” to bring attention to local wines. Membership, she said, is now at 24 wineries, the strongest it has been in years.

Gray could not say what the group’s future marketing plans entail, although she noted that next year will be a big year for the organization.

She said, “2010 marks our 20th anniversary. We will celebrate our region as well as our two annual events.”

San Luis Vintners will host its Roll Out The Barrels event April 29 to May 2 and its Harvest Celebration Weekend Nov. 5 to Nov. 7.

Meanwhile, a wine-tasting bar is set to open in the lobby of the refurbished Wineman Hotel at 839-849 Higuera St.

The mixed-use building has been undergoing a seismic-safety retrofit and renovation since mid-February.

A grand opening for the Wineman is set for Nov. 5, said architect and project manager Craig R. Smith. A date has not been set for the opening of the European-style wine bar, and details about who will operate it are still being confirmed, he said.

The bar, he said, will be located in the multi-use lobby area of the building. There will be a courtyard for outdoor seating, which will feature a fountain, fire pit and raised landscape planters.

He said the space will take on a feel much like that of the outdoor patio scene at the Novo restaurant.

“We’ve got this incredible wine economy, and it makes sense to take advantage of it,’’ Smith said.

— Julie Lynem

Twin Cities has new chief nursing officer

Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton recently hired Paula Moore as its chief nursing officer.

Moore most recently served as assistant chief nursing officer at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto.

She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of San Francisco and is completing a master’s degree in nursing and healthcare systems management at Loyola University New Orleans.

She also is a member of the Association of California Nurse Leaders and the American Organization of Nurse Executives.

— Julia Hickey