Thursday, June 20, 2019

Los Angeles County Wine

Alonso Family Vineyard
Small-production commercial winemakers are breathing new life into Los Angeles County's wine scene.  The urban sprawl of Southern California makes it hard to imagine that it was once a thriving wine region sporting a hundred vineyards that produced wine for the world.

I received some information about L.A.'s wine region rebirth from Melanie Webber, who works with the Garagiste Festival.  The Garagiste Festival showcases small producers at events all over California, and their Urban Exposure event is slated for June 21-22, 2019 in Glendale.

Webber says the Los Angeles wine industry was born as early as 1784, when Spanish missionaries planted vineyards near Glendale.  It wasn't until 1833 that Frenchman Jean-Louis Vignes put some Bordeaux cuttings in the dirt near what is now Union Station, starting the Southern California commercial wine biz.  He would become one of the world's largest wine producers by 1850.

By the time Prohibition killed off the wine industry in many states, urbanization had already forced most of the vineyards away from L.A.'s downtown area.  Today, small production - garagiste - winemakers are driving a SoCal Renaissance in winemaking, sourcing only from local vineyards, all proudly proclaiming Los Angeles County on their wine labels.  There are vineyards all over Los Angeles - from Malibu to Bel Air to the Antelope Valley to Palos Verdes.

Los Angeles Syrah
Two L.A. winemakers are part of the newly formed LA Vintners Association, and are working to  highlight the true potential of Los Angeles terroir and positioning Los Angeles as a premier wine region.

Angeleno Wine Company is in downtown L.A., its vineyard just an hour north of downtown, in Agua Dulce.  The land is farmed by Juan Alonso, who is referred to by Angeleno's owners as the winery's "real winemaker."  He planted lesser known Spanish grape varieties from his native Galicia.  Alonso's Tannat, Graciano, Godello, Loureiro, and Treixadura make it into Angeleno wines each year.

Moraga Estate
Byron Blatty Wines sources its wines only from vineyards in Los Angeles and runs a pop-up tasting room in Silver Lake. 

L.A.'s oldest winemaking operation is San Antonio Winery, but they source grapes from other parts of California and the world.

Moraga Estate makes wine from grapes grown amid the mansions of Bel Air.  Owned by Rupert Murdoch, they've been at it - small but steady - at about a thousand cases per year for nearly three decades.  Most of their production is dedicated to a club and a mailing list.

Malibu Wines and Rosenthal also make wine from grapes grown on their respective estates in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter 

No comments:

Post a Comment