GO WINE TASTING IN LOS ANGELES AT THESE RESTAURANTS AND BARS
We all know and love Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles. We also love that California — traditionally known for its dramatic coastline, towering palm trees, and Hollywood movie sets — has emerged as a major world wine region, ranking third behind Italy (1), France (2), and ahead of Spain (4). Together these four regions produce just over half of all the wine in the world. Within the US, 90% of the wine produced comes from California, with its major grapes being Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Sauvignon Blanc. While California’s wine regions are stunning, they are not the only place to enjoy vineyard spoils. The city of Los Angeles has a thriving wine scene that is actually (unbeknownst to many) a return to its roots. Long before the bright lights of Hollywood put LA on the map, the City of Angels was the winemaking hub of the US. Now, out to reclaim its wine-making legacy are a new breed of LA-based tasting rooms, wine bars, wineries, and vino experiences.. Here’s our pick of the very best restaurants, bars, wineries, and tasting rooms in Los Angeles.
URBAN WINERIES AND TASTING ROOMS
MALIBU WINES, SAN FERNANDO VALLEY
An offshoot of the popular Malibu Wines, a vineyard on Mulholland Drive, Malibu Wines & Beer Garden is an immersive new winery concept in West Hills. Serving the Semler and Saddlerock label wine, as well as local and regional craft beer, here you can hang out in the beer garden, tour the winery, visit the tasting rooms and even schedule a wine hike or safari.
SAN ANTONIO WINERY, DOWNTOWN LA
Established in 1917 by Italian immigrant Santo Cambianica, San Antonio Winery survived prohibition by making altar wine and remains one of LA’s best wineries. Today the winery, still in its original downtown location and is run by Cambianica’s descendants, however, the fruit is sourced from the family’s estate vineyards in Paso Robles, Monterey, and Napa and their specialties range from light, sparkling whites to earthy, dark reds. Take a tour of the vineyards, enjoy tastings, and indulge in wine pairing and yummy Italian pasta over dinner at the on-site Maddalena Restaurant.
ANGELENO WINE COMPANY, DOWNTOWN LA
The first new winery to open in downtown Los Angeles since the prohibition era, Angeleno Wine Company has a tasting room housed in a building made of brick recycled from LA’s first city hall. Grapes are sourced from a family farm in the north end of the county, but all of the wine-making happens here on-site. Enjoy taste the fruits of their labor – their focus is on unique varietals like Tannat, Graciano, Godello, Loureiro, Treixadura, and Alicante Bouschet, all produced naturally and given hometown-inspired names like SuperBloom or Zanja Madre – while surrounded by over 1000 barrels.
MORAGA BEL AIR VINEYARDS, SANTA MONICA
Set in the Santa Monica Mountains, Moraga Bel Air Vineyards was founded in 1989, in LA’s bougie Bel Air and has a reputation for producing exceptional wines that perfectly reflect the distinctive terroir and focused winemaking traditions. Access is by membership only, and this allows you to attend private wine tastings on the estate.
SUNLAND VINTAGE WINERY, THOUSAND OAKS
Another family-run winery with a long history is Sunland Vintage Winery in Thousand Oaks. Originally established in 1935 by Italian immigrant and winemaker Giuseppe Giovinazzo, today the vineyard is run by his granddaughter and focuses on high-quality Italian varietals. At the winery, you can tour the vineyards, experience the tasting rooms, and make a day of this stunning location which has a wine shop and a great events calendar all year.
PALI WINE CO.
The boutique winery Pali Wine Co. gets its name from the Pacific Palisades home of its owners, though the wines, which started with Burgundy-inspired whites, are actually crafted at Pali’s Lompoc-based winery. However, there are tasting rooms in several locations including LA’s vibrant Arts District. Pali Wine Co. now has three brands all with distinct focuses. Pali specializes in premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay primarily from their own Santa Rita Hills and Sonoma vineyards. Sister brand Tower 15 Winery produces single varietal wines with grapes purchased from small, family-owned vineyards in California’s Central Coast. Neighborhood Winery is all about producing daring new and traditional blends that push the boundaries of conventional wine flavor profiles.
LA’S BEST WINE BARS
ESTERS WINE SHOP AND BAR, SANTA MONICA
This chic wine shop and bar in Santa Monica is a destination, so plan to spend a lazy afternoon or evening here tasting new or rare vintages from their 250 plus wine list, and indulging in lite snacks or a boozy brunch. Hailed as a neighborhood clubhouse, Esters has floor to ceiling wine racks and hosts Monday Cellar Nights where you can enjoy tastings and take advantage of expert advice on how to curate the perfect cellar at home.
WALLY’S WINE & SPIRITS, SANTA MONICA AND BEVERLY HILLS
Wally’s two gorgeous and intimate wine stores in Santa Monica and Beverly Hill, where 2500 different blends line the 20 foot walls and over 200 cheeses feature on the menu. Sit at a marble communal table to indulge in wine tastings, cocktails, cheese, caviar and delicious bites. There is also a wine-cave inspired private room.
You’ll find LA Wine, in Chinatown and here in this warm, dimly-lit space, you can enjoy Golden State vintages, produced in AVAs from Mendocino down to Santa Barbara. Make sure you try their single-vineyard 2016 Chardonnay, 2014 Syrah, and creative champagne punches, washed down with gooey fondue either at the bar or outdoor patio. You can also order a picnic box with vino to go.
MIRABELLE WINE BAR
In Valley Village, Mirabelle Wine Bar is a cozy, rustic-inspired indoor and outdoor space where you can enjoy rare European and American wines by the glass, delicious comfort bites (by brick and toaster oven), and nostalgic tunes. Head here for the daily happy hour, their signature grilled cheese, and to immerse yourself in old-world winery charm.
Occupying a landmark site on Sunset Boulevard in East Hollywood Tabula Rasa is a neighborhood bar serving over 150 wines from boutique producers. The focus here is firmly on natural, organic, and biodynamic blends and beyond the vino, the place pops with guest DJs, jazz bands, and pizza nights, paired with the perfect wine of course.
IMMERSIVE WINE EXPERIENCES
Harper’s Club helps take wine enthusiasts to the next level. The brainchild of a former French Laundry sommelier, the service helps you curate your own cellar and they’ll even source rare, old, coveted wines through collectors, auction houses, and winemakers, and organize private events and wine-centric travel experiences. Sign us up.
To immerse yourself in the vineyards and local wildlife, turn to Malibu Wine Safaris. The experience will see you cruise around a 1000-acre Santa Monica Mountains ranch in an open-air, off-road car stopping to enjoy the scenery, sample wines from the houses labels including Saddlerock and Semler, and feed bison, zebra, llamas, alpacas and meet Stanley the giraffe. Oh my.
WEEKEND IN WINE COUNTRY
When in LA exploring its burgeoning wine scene, wine lovers should also take the 3.5-hour drive to discover California’s famed wine regions of Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Los Alamos, Temecula, Napa, and Sonoma.
WINE-FOCUSED HOTEL EXPERIENCES
MALIBU BEACH INN
At the Malibu Beach Inn, you can get your wine and wellness on with their Meditasting package which features guided meditation led by a mindfulness coach with a tasting of a trio of Henriot Champagnes in the oceanfront private dining room.
Uncorked at The Langham brings a taste of Napa to Pasadena on Saturday afternoons. The hotel partners with wineries like e Coppola and Charles Krug to offer wine tastings in the gardens with live music and lawn games.
SLS HOTEL BEVERLY HILLS
If relaxing on the sundeck in your own Rosé Cabana at the Luxury Collection’s SLS Hotel Beverly Hills sounds like a plan, guests can reserve this space, which has a floral motif and pink ceramic chandelier to enjoy vino and bites.
AKA BEVERLY HILLS
LA’S BEST WINE STORES
THE WINE HOUSE, WEST HOLLYWOOD
A go-to for every style of wine connoisseur, The Wine House carries over 6000 international and domestic old world and new world wines. The team are experts offering staff picks and there’s always something fun happening in store from wine dinners to tastings, classes and cool events.
SILVERLAKE WINE, SILVERLAKE
You’ll find an expansive assortment of global and domestic wines at Silverlake Wine including a strong emphasis on organic and biodynamic. Many of the wines also come from local family-run wineries, so you’ll be supporting CA’s regions.
BACCHUS WINE MADE SIMPLE, MANHATTAN BEACH
If you’re heading to Manhattan Beach be sure to stop by the family-owned Bacchus Wine Made Simple, to enjoy daily wine tastings and get top recommendations for wines you’ve never heard of. You can even join their wine club.
TOTAL WINE, LA LOCATIONS
Total Wine has various locations in the LA area including Redondo Beach, Northridge, Long Beach, Huntington Beach and with over 8000 wines to choose from, you can’t go wrong. They also have weekly wine tastings and regular in store events.
VINOVORE, SILVER LAKE
This fun wine store in Silver Lakes is owned by one of LA’s first woman sommeliers, who has redefined the art of choosing wine. Pick the perfect pinot from her tasting chart categorized by animals like the silver fox (elegant, refined, crisp, and sparkling) or pink pony (frisky and flirty, fruity reds). Vinovore’s curated selection of wines also focuses on women winemakers around the world.
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