LAWineFest, the largest and longest-running consumer wine tasting event in Los Angeles held its 12th Annual event this past weekend July 17th – 18th and continued to make the world of wine fun and accessible for Angelenos. The event which has become the Southland’s signature celebration of all things wine was founded in 2005 by renowned wine personality Dr. Joel M. Fisher.
This year, the event moved from Hollywood to the hip, industrial-chic Market Row, part of the Downtown Arts District’s ROW DTLA one of the largest adaptive projects in downtown. A partially shaded, pretty outdoor lane surrounded by revitalized 90-year-old warehouses built by the Southern Pacific Railroad proved to be an ideal setting for the event.

After checking in, guests were given a glass and set free to stroll from booth to booth sampling wine and learning from the company representatives (and sometimes the winemakers themselves) who were eager and happy to chat about their creation. The party vibe of the Rebel Coast Winery made it a particularly popular booth.

The astute event organizers understood that wine lovers might have some beer loving friends (or they might need a break to sip something else), so they also offered some seriously artisan brews (e.g., Baja Brewing, Co., High Water Brewing). And because all that sipping eventually made you hungry, they offered food from some of our city’s most interesting food trucks curated by Smorgasbord LA (e.g., Batterfish and Crispy Cuban). There was also live music from local band Will and the Won’ts who played great tunes with tons of energy. People danced as they browsed artisan merchandise in boutiques and stalls

One of the most popular areas of the event was the Boutique Winery section which was only accessible with an “All Access” wristband. This area allowed wine lovers the opportunity to enjoy and discover emerging gems from wineries that handcraft fewer than 2,000 cases per year. Some of the wineries included: Cloak & Dagger, Sleeping Indian Vineyard and Holman Cellars.

The diverse crowd, a true representation of Los Angeles, mingled organically sharing their love of wine. The offerings hailed from around the globe, though there was a local presence with Downtown names like San Antonio Winery and Iron Triangle Brewing. There were many tables and chairs set up, so attendees could take a break, sit back and relax. There was even a small outdoor game area where people enjoyed games of Baggo and Jenga. In fact, everyone’s good time was actually a good deed since the 12th Annual LAWineFest benefited Sunshine Kids, an amazing organization which provides positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients.
LAWinefest-2-pixby KeithBlockOverall, the new location along with beautiful weather was a perfect opportunity for grape nuts to discover new wines and meet new people. The event was nicely spread out with enough wineries, breweries, vendors and food trucks to please everyone – there were no whiners! And, I’m sure all of us who attended can’t wait for next year’s event!

Photos by Keith Block;