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Although Napa is regarded as the wine capital of the West Coast, don't discount Los Angeles as a great venue for drinking wine from the source. With its temperate climate, the City of Angels was once a premiere location for the wine industry in the early part of the 20th century. Today, only a handful of vineyards remain, but they make a great day out for oenophiles who aren't heading further north. Here’s a few of the best vineyards in Los Angeles for tastings, as well as two local breweries for hop-loving visitors.
The most historic winery in Los Angeles is the San Antonio Winery. Set between the glass and steel buildings of Downtown L.A., the winery has remained in the same location since it was established back in 1917. Tour the Riboli Family Vineyard grounds for free then enjoy a complimentary wine tasting, with a choice of three free samples from a selected list. Or sample their award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon with a traditional Italian lunch or dinner at the vineyard’s restaurant, Maddalena.
Just up the hill from the beaches of Malibu is a cluster of wineries that will transport you to the rolling hills of Napa. No need to winery-hop to enjoy them all; Malibu Discovery Tours offer a chauffeured scenic tour of the area’s best offerings. For $159 (£102) ($169/£108 at the weekends) you’ll visit three of the finest Malibu vineyards. Savour the Rosenthal Estate’s award-winning Chardonnay, then pop over to Malibu and Vine to taste the Malibu Family Wine portfolio, before sampling the finest curation of wines that the Santa Monica Mountains has to offer at the Cornell Winery and Tasting Room.
If you prefer a Pilsner to a glass of Pinot Grigio, perhaps one of Los Angeles’ burgeoning breweries is more up your street.
Eagle Rock Brewery is the first brewery in Los Angeles in over sixty years. Don’t have time for one of their Sunday Brewhouse tours? Stop by the facility’s taproom, open Wednesday through Sunday, and delight in their twelve varieties, ranging from an English style Black Mild Ale to a West Coast IPA. Take a growler filled with your favorite Eagle Rock Ale with you for a tasty souvenir.
Not too far away is Golden Road Brewing, which has the distinction of creating the first canned craft beer in Los Angeles. Tour their 32,000 square foot brewery on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and experience a special tasting for $10. Alternatively, sample a craft brew or two from their 20 revolving taps in their adjacent pub, which also offers a selection of locally sourced artisan pub food.
No designated driver necessary for these sojourns; today there are a whole range of ways to get you from vineyard to brewery. Though taxis have long been the old standby for the carless, apps like Taxi Magic make the process seamless. There are also ride share companies like Lyft and Uber, which offer a more economic alternative to taxis. All off these services are handled through mobile apps, allowing you to order a pick-up and register your payment information ahead of time.
Header photo: Californian Vines © Ming-yen Hsu
Have you experienced the wineries or brewhouses of Los Angeles? Have a favourite vintage or beer recommendation? Let us know in the comments below.
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About the author: LaurenLauren Garroni
Lauren Garroni is a freelance writer and founder of the blog TheBreathless (www.thebreathless.com). Born on the East Coast and raised on the West Coast, she currently calls Laurel Canyon her home. When not participating in such Los Angeles clichés as hiking and Pilates, she can be found scouring flea markets for the perfect coffee table.