This was my second stint at Gary Warburton’s Chateau Pacific Manhattan Beach Winery for a bottling. (See Gary’s “Results” column before this one today.) But this time I was armed with help, via wine student/pal Mary Bradway, and beer, via Brew Master Michael Bowe of Angel City Brewing Company. Not to mention, as Gary does, all the wine and food I could consume.
Mary has been taking wine education at College of the Canyons for a few years. She is one of many that has learned from our local sommelier and educator, DiMaggio Washington.
But she had never been to a home bottling. Lucky for me, as I was the virgin bottler on Gary’s line last year. I was ever-so-pleased to turn my trainee spot over to Mary.
Instead I did what any wife of a firefighter is trained to do: I helped in the “line”.
The line went something like this: overturn a case of empty wine bottles, shoot them with a little Argon to drive out the oxygen in the bottle, hand to the bottler who fills/spills bottles and waiting glasses, then the next person in line measures the top to see if cork will fit and adds/removes to adjust, the corker (mallet only needed for large format bottles), the wiper-downer, the labeller and then to me: The putter in the first set of boxes. The most important set of boxes. The boxes for us.
In between my minutes of working I enjoyed not only Gary’s vintages of Merlot, Sangiovese and Tempranillo, but a beer tasting. (Of note, if you tell a winemaker you like his perfectly balanced 08 Merlot – be prepared to receive a Magnum in thanks.)
The Angel City Brewing Company, originally housed for years in Alpine Village, BevMo, Whole Foods…was moving just like Gary’s wine had to be moved. Michael Bowe is moving from the oldest brewery to downtown Los Angeles.
The outstanding flavors of the lightest amber Angel City Ale, spicy yeast of the Vitzen Hefeweizen, new Charlie Parker bigger pale ale, a “Can you say banana?” in the dark honey colored Belgium Night Train, rich espresso coffee in the Rahsaan Roland Kirk Stritch Stout to the full of molasses Lester Young Porkpie Hat…it was a treat for the guests.
And if you think for a nanosecond that a wine drinker can’t appreciate beer? Think again. There is nothing like a fresh beer. Whether you’re at the brewery in Alpine Village, Downtown LA, or Munich’s Oktoberfest.
Funny, I was at our local Newhall Coffee‘s roasting plant – as Java and Jazz “reopened” there this week and I will get more details soon – and having coffee from freshly roasted beans, and it brought up the exact same feeling.
Here’s to it all: Fresh wine, fresh beer and fresh coffee. Now, who’s baking the cookies?