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.