News

Beltramo's Wines & Spirits is closing its doors in Menlo Park

Business has been in city since 1882

Beltramo's Wines & Spirits, a local institution which has been owned and operated by the Beltramo family in Menlo Park since 1882, announced this morning that the business is closing and the property will be sold.

A statement from Beltramo's says that John and Daniel Beltramo, grandsons of founder Giovanni Beltramo and both in their 80s, will be retiring. They will be closing the store at 1540 El Camino Real in Menlo Park and selling the property.

"The store will begin an orderly wind down process," the statement reads, and the owners and employees hope "customers will stop by soon while the selection is widest and say their farewells."

According to the family, Beltramo's got its start when Giovanni Beltramo emigrated from Asti, Italy, bringing cuttings of Nebbiolo and Barbera grapevines with him. He worked in vineyards near what is now Cupertino for a few years before he began cultivating his own vineyard in Menlo Park.

Giovanni Beltramo started a wholesale and retail wine and spirits business in Menlo Park in 1882. By 1935 Giovanni's son Alexander Beltramo had moved the business to its current location. He operated a cocktail lounge along with the liquor store until 1979, when the cocktail lounge was shut down to make more room for an expanded wine selection, according to the family.

"The store was a pioneer in the California wine industry," the statement reads, and was also the first to import and introduce many French, Italian and other international wines to its clients.

"We have always been directed by the Beltramo family to bring in the finest merchandise from around the world," operations manager Matt Silsby said.

The store has been led by Alexander's sons, John and Daniel Beltramo, since the mid-1960s. Both are now in their mid-80s "and the brothers have deemed it time to retire from the business."

"We are proud of our store's history and honored to have served the community for 134 years," Dan Beltramo said. "We raise a glass in thanks to our friends and customers for supporting us for such a long and memorable ride."

Dan Beltramo, who lives in Atherton, will remain in the area as will his daughter Diana Beltramo Hewitt, who lives in Menlo Park.

Beltramo Hewitt said she has worked in Beltramo's for the past five years and has "enjoyed every minute of it." But as the only Beltramo heir of her generation involved in the business, and with family obligations of her own, she said she was not ready to take over the reins of the business on her own.

The company has had much recent success and introduced a number of innovations such as eBay sales and a smartphone app, Beltromo Hewitt said, and they are "so much happier to go out on top like this."

However, she said: "It's time to spend a little more time elsewhere."

The business has won many Almanac Readers' Choice awards over the years.

Comments

18 people like this
Posted by Ed Radlo
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on May 9, 2016 at 3:21 pm

A tragedy of the highest order. First, Donald Trump, and now we hear that our beloved Beltramo's is closing. How much more bad news can we take in one week?


16 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 9, 2016 at 5:58 pm

I will miss your wonderful store. Good luck to you in your retirement


12 people like this
Posted by Cheese Guy
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 10, 2016 at 5:59 am

First it was Roger Reynolds (the nursery around the corner that had been around for nearly 100 years), now this sad news. In the 1980's the tasting bar was the only place in the S. Bay to sample the finest wines of the world. I must say that this place survived much longer than expected given the keen competition from K and L just down the block.


8 people like this
Posted by Ron Wolf
a resident of another community
on May 10, 2016 at 9:24 am

Ah, the inevitable result of welcoming chains into our community. Not every small biz is run well. Not every small biz deserves protection. Beltramo's was exceptionally well run and deserved better. Our loss....


5 people like this
Posted by Edward Gorzynski Jr.
a resident of another community
on May 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm

The closing will be a great loss to the bay area. In my 10 years working there with Alex, Teresa, John and Danny were some of the best and I have many great memories. I am sure that the store will be missed as it was unique in the retail business. My best wishes to the Beltramo family and all the employees. Again you will be missed.


6 people like this
Posted by Techie
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 10, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Techie is a registered user.

Gonna be hard to find certain wines NOW!


1 person likes this
Posted by CoachFromAnotherTown
a resident of Barron Park
on May 10, 2016 at 1:25 pm

CoachFromAnotherTown is a registered user.

Techie said: Gonna be hard to find certain wines NOW!

Really? K and L is vastly efficient.


8 people like this
Posted by carl martineau
a resident of another community
on May 10, 2016 at 3:18 pm

foster's freeze ..
and now beltramo's ..
and probably others
i'm not aware of ..
menlo park .. palo alto ..
being replaced
by Ritzy Glitzy ..
or Boring Big Box ..
the "New" Souless
Flaunt Wealth Forget the Working Class
Economy "Culture" ..
".. you don't know what you've got
'til it's gone .."

carl martineau ..
berkeley california ..


8 people like this
Posted by Only what no want matters
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 10, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Ed, ron, Edward and carl-- did you guys actually read the story. The brothers are in their 80s. The daughter cannot commit to run the store. After all these years, don't you think they deserve to close the store, sell it and enjoy retirement. [Portion removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Techie
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 10, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Coach: Beltramos has NEVER sold me any otters that had "cork taint". Never sold me any beer that had gone bad.
.
I can't say the same about K and L, in spite of their vast selection.


6 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on May 10, 2016 at 7:15 pm

@carl martineau The reason Foster's Freeze closed was that there were no customers. The owner was clear that business had dried up. So regardless of all the old memories of what it used to be, people were not going there.

You can't whine about some business closing if the community doesn't/hadn't supported it for years.

In Palo Alto people moaned about the Co-op, Bergmans, Harmony Bakery, Wiedermans, Stickneys, the Cookbook and lots of other businesses that they all had "fond memories". The problem was that you can't run a business on memories. People didn't shop at these businesses and then complain when they close. Look at Mikis at Alma Plaza, everyone gushed over the great selections of cheese, wine, etc and then never shopped there.


To @Ron Wolf "...deserved better". What "better" do they deserve? It is their business and they have made the decision to close it. Are you saying they should be forced to keep it open?

/marc


2 people like this
Posted by Jay
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on May 10, 2016 at 7:23 pm

Why not sell the business to someone else - or managing partners, something!? This store is amazing and good wine/spirits stores are hard to come by!

With land values the way they are, be a pretty penny minted.


2 people like this
Posted by Stuart Cracraft
a resident of Stanford
on May 10, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Wild. I lived in Menlo Park in the 1970's and am in South Orange County since (sunlight, air, population, all better.) One of my roommates off-campus was a really burly hilarious ex-patriate Soviet refugee (his father was special-negotiated out of the SU by Kissinger.) Victor urged me always to go over to Beltramo's and have something more than just a feminine drink (I favored daquiri and pina colada at the time having a young and ostensibly undeveloped palate but now wouldn't touch the stuff due to the glycemic load factor.) Victor recommended I, instead, go for vodka. I tried some vodka about 20 years later but felt the same. Still do. Good for Moscow winters only. I do like chess though. Now, I am exclusively on the sourest Merlot I can possibly find and realize that the senior founder Mr. Beltramo was right all along. Hope to make it to 100+ some day God-willing. When in the Bay Area, I always visited Beltramo's as a pilgrimage and bought something. Au Revoir Atherton, nee Menlo Park. --Stuart P.S. Good decision to close it and take a respite. Be like Mary Tyler Moore and Ed Asner shutting down the show at its height.


1 person likes this
Posted by carl martineau
a resident of another community
on May 11, 2016 at 5:17 am

well some posters
completely miss the point
or want to dismiss it
with the same rationale
that's closing businesses ..
nothing wrong with retirement ..
but not the kind
the park theatre got ..
an empty lot ..
long live the Guild ..


4 people like this
Posted by Downtown North
a resident of Downtown North
on May 11, 2016 at 11:57 am

Sad to see Beltramo's go. Wish they could have sold the biz to new owners and keep it going.

Regardless, on a separate matter, the neighborhood should brace itself for more housing to fill this spot. Probably without any traffic ingress/egress planning either. That would be too bad, as the traffic in that area is already at a breaking point.

Traffic so bad I could really use a drink. Ironically.


Like this comment
Posted by Downtown North
a resident of Downtown North
on May 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Sad to see Beltramo's go. Wish they could have sold the biz to new owners and keep it going.

Regardless, on a separate matter, the neighborhood should brace itself for more housing to fill this spot. Probably without any traffic ingress/egress planning either. That would be too bad, as the traffic in that area is already at a breaking point.

Traffic so bad I could really use a drink. Ironically.


Like this comment
Posted by carl martineau
a resident of another community
on May 11, 2016 at 12:43 pm

i sure hope beltramo's
doesn't become a bevmo ..
it would illustrate the point
in a most awful way ..


2 people like this
Posted by Cgilbert
a resident of University South
on May 30, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Thank you, Beltramo family for operating a first rate store. Always got exactly what we wanted from your well-trained staff. Enjoy your freedom.


2 people like this
Posted by Gail
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 21, 2016 at 4:19 pm

The property is large. I'm sure a high rise development of some sort will be built on the lot. Our locale is losing its uniqueness and charm. Greedy developers are ruining the area with oversized, cheaply designed and built structures. It's no wonder that 34 percent of people in Silicon Valley are considering moving away. Very sad.


2 people like this
Posted by Terry
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 11, 2016 at 5:43 pm

I work there years ago for a short time and got to taste most 2000 first growth Bordeaux upon release, magical!
I drove by the place recently and saw a sign store closing which is too bad.
Shame that most likely the store will be taken down and either a bank, real estate, hospital, insurance group will move in.
California is loosing its soul to the corporate world...


Like this comment
Posted by William Stimson
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:31 pm

Now living in Virginia, My French wife and I shopped at Beltramo's for all of our wine from 1968 to 1973. We loved the place---the atmosphere, the understanding personnel, the choice of wines. After all of these years Beltramo's has been a very pleasant memory and we are quite sad in its closing. It's like losing a long ago but dear friend.
Adieu, chers amis.


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