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Where to go wine tasting in Los Angeles

Spend an afternoon wine tasting in Los Angeles at some of the best wine shops and retail stores in the city

Photograph: Courtesy Buzz Wine Beer Shop
Buzz Wine Beer Shop.

When you’re craving wines by the flights but a boozy weekend getaway among the vines just isn't in the cards (or you just can't go back to Malibu Wines again this month), worry not: L.A.’s wine shops are the next best thing. Just like visiting a winery, you’ll pay a fee to sip through a flight of wines based on a theme—maybe all reds or whites, or all New World zinfandels—and walk away with discounted bottles. And if you’re heading to a BYOB party or a BBQ, these tastings will help you pick out something you just tried and know will be a hit. You know, so you can call yourself an "expert."

 

Best places to go wine tasting in L.A.

The Wine House

Directly off the 405 on Cotner Avenue is this wine-drinker's paradise—an incredibly large warehouse of wines organized by country, with a range in styles and price points. When the Wine House hosts scheduled tasting events, they often take place in the restaurant on the second level called “Upstairs 2,” where wines are poured by-the-glass. A small tasting room just off the Italy section features an enomatic dispensing machine with a rotating list of 32 wines. 

When: Mon-Sat 11am-6pm; Sun Noon-5pm. For longer, more involved tastings, visit the website and check their Classes and Events calendar.
Cost: $1.50-$5 per taste (1-ounce pours)
Reservation needed: No
Snacks: No

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Westwood

Silverlake Wine

Now with locations in both Silver Lake and Downtown, this store never fails to offer a rewarding bottle of wine at all price points, thanks to a smartly curated selection of dynamic global and uber-boutique cult wines. They also have a killer selection of off-the-beaten path spirits. Wines featured in the tastings are offered at discounted prices: on Mondays you’ll taste through three wines; on Thursdays, both red and white flights focus on a category (a specific grape from a winemaker or from a region). The Sunday tasting draws a big social-driven crowd—the fee gets you a rosé or bubbly to start, followed by four wines paired with four small plates and an enthusiastic (and educational) presentation.

When: Mon, Thu 5-9pm; select Sundays, 3pm
Cost: Mon, Thu $15; Sun $20
Reservation needed: No for Mon, Thu; Yes for Sun
Snacks: Bread and cheese are served on Mondays and Thursdays.

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Silver Lake
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K&L Wine Merchants

One of three locations in California (the others are in Redwood City and San Francisco), K&L's wine selection in Hollywood is global by design but heavy on French, Italian and California staples. The selection of bubbles is divine—you'll find everything from well-known champagne producers to sparkling wines and cava. If an actual representative from a winery is pouring, the tasting fee may be waived in exchange for a bottle purchase, but if K&L staff are hosting the tasting, the fee is not waived and no discounts are available. On Thursday nights, flights of five wines are offered, while Saturday tastings have you sampling 10 wines.

When: Thu 5:30-7pm; Sat 3-5:30pm
Cost: Thu $5; Sat $20
Reservation needed: No
Snacks: Crackers are served and regulars often show up with their own meats and cheeses.

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Hollywood

Everson Royce

Opened by two Silverlake Wine alums (who also opened Everson Royce Bar), this Pasadena store has made waves in the wine community with its hefty selection of California, French and Italian wines, in addition to several other global offerings. The Tuesday tasting is all about “Easing Your Way Into the Week” with three different wines paired with cheese and charcuterie. Fridays are “Friday Night Flights” of three wines (reds and whites) focusing on a grape, a winemaker or a region, served with Heirloom LA bread and butter. Saturdays are for “Daytime Relaxation. Daytime Drinking. Together as One,” featuring three wines plus an aperitif.

When: Tue 5-8pm; Fri 5-9pm; Sat 2-6pm
Cost: $15
Reservation needed: No
Snacks: On Tuesdays and Fridays, Heirloom LA bread and butter are served.

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Pasadena
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Domaine LA

Storeowner Jill Bernheimer has cultivated an excellent selection of boutique and natural wines. A shop highlight is her fierce selection of sparkling “pét-nat” (pétillant naturel) wines which vary from bottle to bottle in effervescence and pronounced flavors and aromas, providing a truly unique tasting experience each time you pop one open. Wines are open for casual tastings on Fridays after 5pm (two to three two-ounce pours), but Sunday is the day to go, when a more organized event takes place and the tastings include five wines. The atmosphere on Sunday is laid back and social, so bring friends and hang or pick up your favorite bottle before heading to a party (for bottles, the tasting fee is not waived but bottles are offered at discounted prices the day of the tasting).

When: Fri after 5pm; Sun 2-5pm
Cost: Fri $5; Sun $10-$20 depending on wines
Reservation needed: No
Snacks: Cheese and crackers are usually offered, but sometimes food trucks are parked outside for à la carte snacking—on other occasions, they’ll invite a local chef or restaurant to create pairings.

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Hollywood

Wally's Wine and Spirits

Boasting a truly impeccable selection of global wines, Wally’s has ripped out their back wall of coolers to install a several-thousand bottle display cellar, home to prized bottles, back vintages and large format bottlings. The number of wines offered in the tasting will vary but it's generally never less than four wines and it could be as many as nine or ten. The focus is often on one region, or a theme like “eclectic,” and sometimes a beer tasting replaces the wine tasting—best to check the website under Events and Saturday Tastings to see the lineup. Bottles included in the tasting are offered at a discounted price.

When:
Sat 2-4pm
Cost: $10
Reservation needed: Reservations are not required, but you can purchase an advance ticket online, which is recommended.
Snacks: Bread and cheese is served (and available for purchase at their next-door Cheese Box shop).

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Westwood
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Colorado Wine Company

Exposed wooden beams and low-hanging lights create a warm and inviting atmosphere after dark at the Colorado Wine Company. With a combined retail space and wine bar that showcases wines $25 and under, this is the place to discover a wine you will want to stockpile. Friday Flight Night buys you a flight of four wines, while Lazy Sunday tastings include four wines (generally with a theme). The fee is not waived with a bottle purchase and discounts are only offered on occasion, but the pours are generous.

When: Fri 5-9pm; Sun 1-5pm
Cost: $15
Reservation needed: No
Snacks: Complimentary cheese and crackers are served with all flights. Food trucks (like the Grilled Cheese Truck) occasionally park outside on weekends.

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Eagle Rock

Buzz Wine Beer Shop

This shop is about as cool as a wine store gets—its industrial chic atmosphere is conducive to perusing labels. Wine buyer Trevor Hagstrom has put together a stellar selection of sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines (with some incredibly cool eye-catching labels to boot). Francophiles will delight in their Loire Valley and Champagne selections. The best night to go wine tasting is during their Thursday Flight Nights, when you can sample 5-8 small pours on a theme (Austrian, natural, winery-specific, etc.).

When: Thu 7-10pm
Cost: $24 (may vary according the quantity and quality of the wines offered)
Reservation needed: No
Snacks: No food is served, but they don’t mind if you bring in take-out. If, however, you are planning on having a feast with friends, call ahead and reserve a table—the staff is very accommodating.

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Downtown Historic Core
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Total Wine & More

The word “total” is in the name for a reason. With a range of prices from bargain basement to low-to-mid priced wines (plus beer and spirits) and high-end bottles, there’s truly something here for everyone. Each tasting features a different theme—many are seasonally-driven global wines—and you’ll get an ounce and a half of 3-6 wines. On some weekends, a Meet The Maker tasting occurs, or there might be a special event during the week. Two-hour wine classes are held once a month, featuring a new theme like Italian or French wines, and will run $20 for a sampling of 9-12 wines. These classes are generally held on a Thursday from 6:30-8:30pm—call ahead to find out which Thursday or go online, select your local store and click on Events.

When: Fri 1-7pm; Sat, Sun Noon-6pm
Cost: Flights cost a nominal $0.10 fee (it would be free, but California laws dictate that retail shops must charge something—and Total donates it all to various charities).
Reservation needed: No
Snacks: No

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Thousand Oaks

BevMo!

We know, BevMo! is kind of the Barnes & Noble of this list, but chains carry good wine too. Each location offers their own flight options for wine tasting, and while there’s no lounge atmosphere or mood music, these tastings are ideal if you’re looking to discover a bottle to bring to a weekend dinner party. Tastings will vary by location, but usually include five to six wines.

When: Fri 4-7pm; Sat 2-5pm (West Hollywood location)
Cost: $2 per flight
Reservation needed: No
Snacks: Cheese and crackers are offered with each flight.

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West Hollywood
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