LA's Best Wine Haunts
Friday Night Wine Tastings
One of LA's most treasured summer traditions, Friday Night Wine Tastings invites you to sample fine boutique drops and spectacular 360-degree sunset views on the west lawn of Frank Lloyd Wright’s historic Hollyhock House. Bring along a blanket and picnic – or enjoy the variety of food trucks – tour the house and get pleasantly pickled. An adult-only event too, what bliss.
However, if this hot-ticket event has eluded you, there are plenty of other ways to sample superb Cali wine, from Malibu winery day trips to upscale liquor stores and bars in the city. Sway this way, Susie...
Decent wine bars are surprisingly few and far between in La La Land, but this cool, casual watering hole is set to change all of that with its impressive rotation of small-batch quaffs, delicious bar snacks, and achingly hip setting. Come on a weeknight to fully enjoy its unpretentious but sophisticated atmos with the Hollywood in-crowd.
Helen's Wine Shop
Get a whiff of the good stuff at this bottle shop, tucked away behind rave-busy Italian Jon & Vinny's. Owned by savvy sommelier Helen Johannesen, who’s worked with some of LA’s most respected restos, including Animal, Trois Familia and Trois Mec, this hush-hush nook is more like her own private cellar with its tight edit of 200-300 wines. You can pick a pour to match your meal, or bag something top-notch for later – there’s even a delivery service, should you fancy a Corsican Comte Abbatucci with your home-cooked meal. Peepers peeled for classes and private tastings.
This impeccably laid-back liquor store is stacked with well-considered, quality spoils, from diverse local small-batch wines to seasonal craft beers, plus a spectrum of spirits and artisanal snacks to-go. Regular tasting events and knowledgeable, friendly staff make selecting a tipple effortless, and create a quaint community vibe.
Malibu Wine-Tasting Day Trip
Nowhere does traffic quite like LA, so whizzing up to Santa Barbara wine country for a day ‘tripple’ may seem a rather tall order; instead, why not embark on a far more imminent wine adventure, a mere 20 minutes along Malibu’s coastal highway in the Santa Monica Mountains – just be sure to hire a driver so you can sample with more abandon. First stop is Rosenthal’s walk-in tasting room, happily ensconced in a bijou beachside shack complete with rustic patio and their selection of Surfrider and Malibu Estate wines (from Cabs to Viogniers) to get the blood pumping. After continuing along the PCH, turn right onto Mulholland Highway and up into the scenic mountains to the Malibu Family Wines tasting room. A much more ambitious affair, there’s further fun to be had with a picnic area, bar, live music from midday at weekends, real zebras cantering about the place, and a natty tasting room which pours their Semler and Saddlerock varietals (from Sauv Blanc to Merlot). Bottoms up!
Friday Night Wine Tastings / Hollyhock House / Barnsdall Art Park / until 22 Sep / barnsdall.org
Tabula Rasa Bar / 5125 Hollywood Blvd / Los Feliz / +1 213 290 6309 / 5pm-1am Mon-Thu, 2pm-2am Fri-Sat, 2pm-1am Sun / tabularasabar.com
Helen's Wine Shop / 412 North Fairfax Ave / Fairfax / +1 323 334 3369 / 8am-11pm daily / helenswines.com
Hi-Lo Liquor / 8582 Washington Blvd / Culver City / +1 424 298 8443 / 9am-9pm Mon-Thu, 9am-10pm Fri-Sat, 10am-8pm Sun / hiloliquor.com
Rosenthal / 18741 Pacific Coast Hwy / Malibu / +1 310 456 1392 / rosenthalestatewines.com
Malibu Family Wines / 31740 Mulholland Hwy / Malibu / +1 818 865 0605 / tasting room by appt only / malibuwines.com