History Center of SLO County

Friday, October 6, 2017
6:00 pm to Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:00 pm
History Center of SLO County
696 Monterey Street
San Luis Obispo
, CA
805-543-0638

Doing Good and Living Well recounts the thirty-three year rise, trials, and triumphs of the Wine Classic, from its beach parties to it beanfeasts to its Bacchic dinners by the Neptune Pool. At the same time, it recounts the life and complex personality of the Wine Classic’s impresario, Archie McLaren, whose first revelations on cuisine came in an evening spent with Black Panthers and introduction to fine wine came from Stax songwriter-producer David Porter (“Soul Man,” “I Thank You,” “B-A-B-Y”). From a Memphis family without money through a scholarship-funded education and personal struggles in the Civil Rights era, to a career rubbing elbows with the rich and famous for the sake of philanthropy, Archie McLaren has pursued the ambition listed in his high school senior yearbook, “To be myself.” Archie arrived on the Central Coast in 1974, just as the San Luis Obispo County wine industry was on the cusp of growing from three wineries to today’s almost three hundred. In 1984, after ten years’ exploration of California cuisine, winemaking, and wine collecting, he started the KCBX radio show The Wine Drinker’s Guide to Indulgence, which brought wine’s finer points to a new audience and focused on the burgeoning local wine scene. In 1985 Archie was asked to host KCBX’s annual afternoon wine tasting. He helped transform it into the KCBX Central Coast Wine Classic, which grew to a weeklong fundraising festival of wine, food, art, and music in the spectacular settings of the county’s coastline, its vineyards, and Hearst Castle. Since 2004, the Wine Classic has raised almost $3 million for 130 local charities and entertained and educated enophiles with dozens of symposia on wines from Auslese to Zinfandel and foods from cheese to chocolate. The exhibitions also includes a selection of the many artworks created for the classic, from Crissa Hewitt’s wood and metalwork flasks and boxes to etched wine bottles and painted labels. A display of Wine Classic auction bottles—from the 0.5 liter Jennie through the standard, magnum, double magnum, jeroboam, imperial, and salmanazar to the fifteen liter Nebuchadnezzar—rounds out the show. Doing Good and Living Well is a collaboration between the History Center and the Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County.

Crissa Hewitt in her studio
Flask by Crissa Hewitt
Archie McLaren at the 32nd Annual Central Coast Wine Classic, 2017
Crissa Hewitt in her studio
Crissa Hewitt in her studio
Flask by Crissa Hewitt
Flask by Crissa Hewitt
Archie McLaren at the 32nd Annual Central Coast Wine Classic, 2017
Archie McLaren at the 32nd Annual Central Coast Wine Classic, 2017