February 1, 2024

LA Is a Winery City

winery los angeles

Before Los Angeles became a city, a flourishing grape-growing and winemaking culture flourished here in the 1700s. One of the original vines still exists at Mission San Gabriel today - come visit this historic spot to taste some of their fruit!

Angeleno Wine Company provides unique varietals from throughout California in their warm tasting room located within what used to be a fabrication workshop on the edge of Chinatown.

History

Los Angeles may seem an unlikely center of winemaking today, yet its founder Father Junipero Serra brought cuttings from Mexico up to San Gabriel Mission where vines thrived and made California one of the early leaders of wine production.

Jean-Louis Vignes (whose name lives on downtown's Vignes Street ) helped bring winemaking to Southern California on a larger scale and by the mid 19th century vineyards were appearing throughout Southern California. Unfortunately due to rapid urbanization and development threatening viability of vineyards as well as Pierce's Disease outbreak in 1880s and Prohibition laws, Los Angeles wine production faded over time.

LA winemakers today are hoping to revive its once thriving viticultural history. Jasper Dickson and Amy Luftig of Angeleno Wine Company are two such LA winemakers using locally sourced fruit to craft low-intervention wines.

Tasting Room

Whilst Napa and Sonoma often receive the spotlight when it comes to wine in California, LA is making waves by opening up new vineyards, tasting rooms and vino experiences - from urban wineries with stunning mountain views to cozy neighborhood wine bars - that enable Angelenos to sample some of California's best vintages without leaving their city limits.

Rosenthal's Winery provides an idyllic escape just a short drive from downtown, offering coastal breezes and vineyard views. Guests are invited to relax at either of two bars; enjoy an intimate patio set under string lights; or taste one of Rosenthal's signature flights of wine ($15 each), or take part in one of their unforgettable charcuterie boards (also included with admission).

Jasper Dickson and Amy Luftig met over bottomless mimosas at Silverlake Wine before co-founding Angeleno Wine Company in 2015. Together, they craft wine using grapes grown locally within LA County under their own label called Angeleno; named for both of their homes in Pacific Palisades and Santa Clarita respectively. Focused on producing single varietal wines as well as terroir-driven blends that challenge traditional flavor profiles, Angeleno offers wines made by LA County grapes that reflect this fact.

Food

Los Angeles may not receive as much publicity as Napa and Sonoma, but Los Angeles boasts its fair share of wineries that produce world-class wine. Many also serve lunch or dinner to provide visitors with both wine and food to satisfy any palate.

Urban Press Winery and Restaurant is located in Los Angeles' bustling urban core and features both a tasting room and restaurant, featuring an expansive menu that includes starters such as beef tartare and burrata caprese, along with main courses like Mediterranean branzino and grilled octopus. They also offer pasta dishes and salads.

Orfila Vineyard was established in 1997, producing small quantities of French and Italian varietals from its vineyard in Escondido. Their tasting room is housed within an industrial space that once housed fabrication workshops. Their focus is on high-quality fruit that they make into low-intervention wines using minimal sulphur levels; furthermore they employ organic and biodynamic farming practices.

Winemaker

Winemaking may have decreased since LA's urbanization and growth, but not entirely. Winemakers rediscovered the area and began opening tasting rooms and buying locally grown or purchased fruit to produce wine locally.

Byron Blatty used to trade Wall Street before his passion for wine led him to Los Angeles County vineyards and ultimately his own Cavaletti winery in Brentwood where he produces all of his own vintages. "People are usually shocked that I actually make good wine!" is often heard when tasting one of Byron's offerings for themselves! "

Abe Schoener made his mark in Napa and Finger Lakes before co-founding L.A. River winery alongside Rajat Parr. Now he is taking a chance on its future.

Jasper Dickson and Amy Luftig met while working at Silverlake Wine as both retail sales employees and amateur winemakers. Together they formed Angeleno in 2015 to produce exclusively local LA grape wines; working mainly with vineyards belonging to Alonso Family from Agua Dulce and Lopez Vineyard from Rancho Cucamonga dating back 1803.

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