While Los Angeles is famous for movie making, stellar surfing and endless sunshine, it may soon be celebrated for wine. From the streets of L.A. to the majestic mountains in Malibu, where roughly 3.8 million people call home, tasting room locations are on the rise.
Begin your tasting room journey downtown at the historic San Antonio Winery owned and operated by the Riboli family since 1917. They invite visitors to tour their impressive winemaking facility, which produces upwards of 40,000 bottles per day. Guests can choose between two different flights in the newly renovated tasting room: three complimentary samples from a pre-selected wine list and the Artisan Series ($10), which consists of a flight of four limited-reserve wines from the estate and imported wines. The Riboli Family Vineyard’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is a must try. If you’re hungry, visit the winery’s Maddalena Restaurant, which offers northern Italian dishes for lunch and dinner in a setting complete with 106-year-old redwook casks.
Tours: Available on the hour, Monday–Friday, 12–2 pm; Saturday–Sunday, 11 am–4 pm. Maddalena Restaurant is open Sunday–Thursday, 10 am–7 pm; Friday–Saturday, 10 am–8 pm.
Head west to BottleRock—a wine bar, shop and restaurant—in the revitalized Culver City neighborhood less than two blocks from the Staples Center. With more than 600 wine and beer selections from around the world to choose from, you’re likely to find something to enjoy. You can also create your own tasting menu by opting for 2-ounce pours of any of the 35 wines available by the glass. Servers will open any bottle if you purchase two glasses of wine or more.
Open Monday–Thursday, 4–11 pm; Friday–Saturday, 12 pm–1 am; Sundays, 4–10 pm.
Tinseltown certainly loves its horror creatures, so it’s fitting that a tasting room named Vampire Lounge & Tasting Room opened. Located in Beverly Hills, this kitschy lair serves up tasting flights comprised entirely of Vampire Vineyards wines: Vampire ($10), which features tastes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio; Dracula ($15) consists of Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Syrah pours; and Chateau du Vampire ($15) flight offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Clautiere Vineyard, Midnight Rendezvous and Roussanne. For $12, you can also order a Pinot Noir flight.
Open Monday–Thursday, 12–10 pm; Friday–Saturday, 12 pm–12:30 am; Sundays 4–10pm.
The only tasting room on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, the newly relocated Rosenthal tasting room offers an indoor setting and an outdoor patio space, with scenic views of the Pacific Ocean. Its Premium Flight ($15) typically includes a sampling of six Rosenthal and Surfrider wines. A popular choice is the Surfrider’s 2005 Red, which won Double Gold at the 2009 Lodi International Wine Competition. Wines are also sold by the glass and by the bottle to take home, with sliced meats and cheeses available for purchase.
Open Monday–Thursday, 2–8 pm; Friday 2–10 pm, Saturday–Sunday 11 am–10 pm.
Leave the beachside and head for the mountainous terrain to visit Sip Malibu. Open since 2009, this wine bar is the official tasting room for Cielo Malibu Estate Vineyard. At the rustic Woodstock Lounge, guests can opt for one of three flights: Estate Flight ($25), which features four Cielo Estate wines; Monster Flight ($18), which offers samples of four full-bodied red from the Woodstock Collection; and White Flight ($10), four whites pours from the Woodstock Collection. Two recommended options are Cielo Estate’s 2009 Syrah and Woodstock’s 2009 Honey Pie, a proprietary white blend.
Open Sunday–Thursday, 12–8 pm; Friday–Saturday, 12–9 pm. Brunch is available on Sundays; Enjoy live music on the weekends.
Just up the road from Sip Malibu is Malibu Wines, a lovely tasting room featuring an outdoor space to sip and stay. Guests can choose the Semler flight ($14), a selection of estate Semler wines originating from vineyards across the street from the tasting room; Saddlerock flight ($12), offering four different Saddlerock wines; and Light Flight ($12), a mix of both. Picnicking is a favorite pastime of patrons, so bring a spread to pair with your bottle; movies nights and live music round out the list of attractions.
Open daily 11 am–6 pm; Summer Hours extend Memorial Day through Halloween on Friday–Saturday 11 am–9 pm. 21 and over only.
Continue your exploration at Malibu and Vine, located at the plush Malibu Golf Club. Here, you can also taste Semler and Saddlerock wine flights in an outdoor setting overlooking an emerald fairway. Wines by the glass and beer are also available. Visitors who work up an appetite can sample a host of culinary selections from the house chef, Matthew Zubrod, including duck confit tacos and potato-crusted mahi mahi.
Open Thursday–Sunday, 12–6 pm. Dinner; Friday–Sunday 5–8 pm
For your final stop, head to Cornell Winery & Tasting Room, where the motto is “drink local wine.” In the massive wood-beamed gallery, patrons have the opportunity to sip more than 20 local wines produced in the Santa Monica Mountains while soaking in the work of local artists. You might also feel inclined to grab a bite at the restaurant next door, Old Place Cornell. The Oak Grilled Black Angus Sirloin ($19) or the Oak Grilled Chicken and Chantrelles Pot Pie ($18) are favorites. Cornell Winery serves as the waiting area for Old Place and guests are invited to bring their bottle along to dinner.
Open Thursday–Friday, 12–6 pm; Saturday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm; Hours extended to 9 pm if privately booked.
Old Place is open for dinner Thursday–Sunday, 4–10 pm; Brunch, Saturday–Sunday, 9 am–4 pm; Breakfast, 9 am–2 pm; Lunch, 11 am–4 pm.