Los Angeles, known for its palm-fringed boulevards and iconic landmarks, surprisingly offers a wealth of exploration opportunities beyond its traditional attractions. This expansive metropolis is home to a burgeoning distillery and winery scene that caters to wine aficionados and whiskey connoisseurs, just in time for the fall!
From the scenic vineyards of Malibu to chic urban distilleries in downtown, here are 11 top choices to delve into LA's diverse world of spirits and wine.
BROKEN BARREL WHISKEY CO.
Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. (2332 E 8th St, Los Angeles 90021) offers a unique and unforgettable whiskey experience that embodies the city's spirit of innovation and creativity. What sets Broken Barrel apart is their inventive approach to whiskey-making, where traditional barrels are dismantled and reassembled with a variety of woods and staves, resulting in an extraordinary flavor profile that's both bold and nuanced. Visitors to Broken Barrel Whiskey are treated to a sensory journey through the diverse landscapes of California, encapsulated in each sip of their exceptional spirits. With a commitment to pushing the boundaries of whiskey craftsmanship, Broken Barrel is not just a distillery; it's a celebration of LA's pioneering spirit and a must-visit for all!
An Arts District gem since 2004, Greenbar Distillery (2459 E 8th St, Los Angeles 90021) pioneered sustainable spirits that embody the spirit of LA. Their intimate tours reveal the eco-conscious art of distillation, featuring organic ingredients and green practices like rainwater repurposing and local grain sourcing.
The tour crescendos with a lively tasting session, offering a diverse array of spirits, including gin, vodka, whiskey, and liqueurs. Don't miss their signature TRU vodka, showcasing unwavering quality and sustainability. Greenbar now specializes in non-alcoholic spirits, making it inclusive for all visitors. For hands-on experiences, they offer craft cocktail making and gin-making classes, which can be scheduled alongside a private tasting via firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOFT & BEAR
Paul Elliot founded Loft & Bear, California's first Black-owned distillery, in the summer of 2012. A decade later, Loft & Bear opened its 8,600 square-foot distillery in South LA (6414 McKinley Ave, Los Angeles 90001). Loft & Bear offers a unique urban distillation experience. This micro-distillery is known for its attention to detail and commitment to producing exceptional vodka. During a visit to Loft & Bear Distillery, you'll gain insights into the art of vodka crafting. The distillery tour provides a comprehensive look at their small-batch production process, highlighting the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle. The tasting room offers a chance to appreciate the smooth and clean flavors of their vodka.
LOS ANGELES DISTILLERY
Los Angeles Distillery (8650 Hayden Pl. Suite B, Culver City 90232) offers an authentic taste of LA with small-batch, handcrafted spirits that embody the city's essence. Whether you're a seasoned enthusiast or a curious newcomer, this distillery promises an engaging journey into the craft of distillation.
Protip: be sure to eat beforehand, as there's no on-site food. Downtown Culver City does offer post-tour dining options like one of LA's best food halls, Citizen Public Market. If you can't find tickets online, give them a call; last-minute spots might be available.
The Obscure (1356 Palmetto St, Los Angeles, CA 90013) offers a unique and unconventional distillery experience, quietly crafting exceptional spirits that have earned a devoted following. A visit here is a journey of discovery, exploring the production process and creative techniques in an intimate setting that allows for personalized tastings. The heart of The Obscure lies in its passionate and knowledgeable staff, and gaining access to this private establishment is an exclusive experience. The adventure begins with a dramatic backstory before indulging in six potent concoctions, including shots and cocktails crafted from the original spirits. The space is intimate and inviting, featuring live entertainment with artists creating captivating works.
The Obscure ensures an immersive and offbeat experience where you can escape reality, savor remarkable spirits, and delve into the art of distillation while enjoying lively conversations. Reservations are essential, but the unique atmosphere and exceptional spirits make it worthwhile.
Located ten minutes south of LAX, R6 Distillery (909 E El Segundo Blvd, El Segundo 90245) is a family-owned and operated establishment that prides itself on its personal touch. The distillery, which takes its name from the six members of the R6 family, has been creating handcrafted spirits since 2014. Visitors to R6 Distillery can enjoy guided tours that provide a firsthand look at their production methods. You'll have the chance to explore their distillation equipment and learn about the intricacies of creating premium spirits. The tasting room invites you to savor the results of their passion and dedication.
Stark Spirits (1260 Lincoln Ave #1100, Pasadena 91103) embraces the unique flavors and essence of the arid landscape. Their spirits are a tribute to the rugged beauty of Southern California's deserts.
Established in 2014 by the dynamic duo of Greg Stark and Karen Robinson-Stark, the craft distillery has since evolved into an award-winning hub for spirits. Their portfolio includes California Single Malt Whiskey, Peated Single Malt, Orange Brandy, Gin, Rum, and the exceptional Aquavit. Visitors can partake in informative tours led by Karen, delving into the technical aspects of spirit-making. The tasting room is a treat, showcasing their spirits celebrated for their clarity, flavor, and easy sipping. Notably, their Sunshine, crafted solely from oranges, stands out as a distinctive gem. While finding the distillery in a business park might be a small challenge, the journey is well-rewarded. To schedule a tour, access their website's form or directly contact Karen.
ANGELENO WINE COMPANY
Located on the edge of Chinatown across from Los Angeles State Historic Park, Angeleno Wine Company (1646 N Spring St, Los Angeles 90012) is one of the best representatives of LA's burgeoning wine culture. Working with local, family-owned vineyards, this urban winery is a testament to the city's diverse landscape and entrepreneurial spirit. On weekends, Angeleno opens its tasting room and invites visitors to explore the winemaking process and savor the fruits of the city's labor. With a commitment to sustainable and small-batch production, Angeleno Wine Company embraces the essence of LA, crafting wines that showcase the region's unique terroir, all while fostering a sense of community.
MALIBU WINES & BEER GARDEN
A serene escape for wine and beer enthusiasts, Malibu Wines & Beer Garden (23130 Sherman Way, West Hills 91307) offers visitors an idyllic setting to unwind in the San Fernando Valley. Open daily at noon, the tasting room is located at the former estate of actor Francis Lederer, which was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in November 1978.
Wine tastings showcase Saddlerock and Saddlerock Estate wines from the Semler family's vineyards in the Santa Monica Mountains. (Tours of Saddlerock Ranch are available via Malibu Wine Hikes.) The delightful selection of craft beers can be sampled with the amazing 20-Tap Beer Tasting.
Malibu Wines & Beer Garden hosts numerous events, including Silent Disco on Friday and Saturday nights; outdoor movies and Paint n Sip, a two-hour painting class with a flight of Saddlerock wine.
SAN ANTONIO WINERY
A visit to San Antonio Winery (737 Lamar St, Los Angeles 90031) is a journey through the rich wine heritage of Los Angeles. Located in Lincoln Heights just east of Downtown LA, the family-owned San Antonio Winery was founded in 1917 and is now in its fourth generation of winemakers. San Antonio Winery was designated Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument No. 42 in September 1966.
30-minute tours of San Antonio Winery are offered Monday-Friday at 11am, 1pm and 3pm; and on the hour on weekends from 11am to 4pm. Learn about the winemaking process that produces award-winning wines from the Riboli family vineyards in Paso Robles, Monterey and Napa Valley. Flat, closed-toe shoes are recommended for the tour.
There are several options for wine tastings, including wine flights offered at the on-site Maddalena Restaurant: Stella Rosa Selection, Central Coast Selection, Taste of Fruit Farm and Vintner's Selection. Steward-led wine tastings that include charcuterie plates are hosted on the patio at The 1917 Wine Bar & Bistro. Named for founder and family patriarch Stefano Riboli, the Stefano Cellar is available for groups of 10 or more.
URBAN PRESS WINERY & RESTAURANT
Located in Burbank, Urban Press Winery & Restaurant (316 N San Fernando Blvd, Burbank 91502) stands as a vibrant fusion of wine and culinary excellence. This urban winery brings a taste of the vineyards to the urban landscape. With a captivating blend of handcrafted wines and delectable cuisine, it offers a delightful escape from the city's hustle and bustle. Visitors can indulge in wine tastings that reflect the diversity of California's wine regions, all while savoring a menu designed to perfectly complement the wine offerings. Whether you're a wine enthusiast or a food lover, Urban Press Winery & Restaurant invites you to savor the essence of LA's thriving culinary and wine scene.