When you think of California wineries, what comes to mind? Napa Valley? Santa Barbara? Temecula? Downtown L.A.?
Although most people love California wines, when they think of bastions of wine-making here in the state, Downtown L.A. probably doesn’t make the list. But we do indeed have our very own winery right in the middle of the city (and just a few steps away from the projects!).
Friday, I got a call from a friend who invited me to lunch at the San Antonio Winery. We had gone once before (my first time), and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Like many people, before my last visit I didn’t know L.A. had a winery either!
San Antonio Winery has been in the city for 90 years, back when Downtown L.A. was full of vineyards (who knew?). The winery is family-owned and has been serving up their own vino to thousands who visit each year. The winery boasts three separate locations: the historic Downtown L.A. location, which is a designated historical landmark, an Ontario branch, and another store in Paso Robles.
I haven’t been to the other locations yet, but the Downtown L.A. winery has a store, which has a huge selections of wines from around the world as well as every sort of wine-related accessory you can think of, and a restaurant that serves up tasty Italian, American, and brunch options. This time around I had a BBQ burger (very tasty!) and indulged in a red velvet cupcake (I’m a sucker for sweets), both of which left me completely satisfied (and stuffed!).
After my friends and I finished lunch, we walked over to the tasting room where you can sample three wines for free (!!) as well as stock up on some of your favorites. In the tasting room (which was pretty busy…it was also busy the last time I visited), the sommelier, Robert, poured our samples according to our tastes (I like sweet wines). My friend and I loved Stella Rosa’s Orange Moscato, which tasted like a mimosa (no OJ or champagne needed!), and I bought a bottle to take home. Although you can taste three wines for free, or choose to taste four premium wines for $10, Robert hooked us up with extra samples. And when I told him it was my friend’s birthday, he poured her a sample (I don’t remember what number we were on lol) of one of their best ice wines from Vermont (VERY sweet & delicious!).
Although we just popped in for a quick lunch, San Antonio Winery is easily a place you can spend a few hours exploring. Though it is not expansive in size, you can tour the winery (also free) and learn more about its history and wine labels, and of course…you can eat lunch (or brunch, or dinner).
Even though this was my second trip, I’ll definitely be back to the winery. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic date, or just hanging with your friends. I’ve already told my mother about it and suggest she and her girlfriends head to the winery instead of their local after-work happy hour spot.
What’s your favorite local winery or wine bar? Let’s make a list so when we travel, we have options!