Though being a past judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru was a major bucket list item for me, it was nearly as thrilling to be invited back as a guest of the event once they discontinued the wine competition. Basically, the work was over, it was time just to taste for pleasure. And that we did.
This year’s venue, the Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach, was easy to spot with pop up tents and white chairs and dining tables that we could see as we pulled in to park. The first person I met inside was event Executive Producer Kim Vu, who was quickly followed by Long Beach Grand Cru Board of Director Tom Stolpman of Stolpman Vineyards and Stolpman Law Group; then I spotted Master Sommelier George Skorka – who I was honored to serve along with in the 2015 competition.
“I feel like we’ve put together a pretty good group” Vu commented of the dozens of wineries, brewers and restaurants that encircled the venue. I got a nice photo of her in front of the dance floor before it would soon be filled with happy twirling guests. (See all my photos in this YouTube slide show.)
We would’ve loved to have had a bottomless thirst and appetite to have sampled everything from all of the vendors listed below. But, as is the case for any guest, “palate fatigue” is a real threat! So, before that happened we truly enjoyed the vendors noted in bold:
Wineries and Breweries
Absolution Brewing Company
Angel City Brewery
Archium Cellars – Don’t miss their extensive line-up if you find them at an event, or go to the tasting room.
Ascension Cellars – Always awesome Rhone and Bordeaux blends from Paso Robles.
Ave Winery – Lots of wine coming your way from this growing producer, and all good. Sent a few people over to try these and they all loved them. Enjoyed the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2013 Syrah.
Baja Brewing Company
Ballast Point – What fun beers – I loved the “Pineapple Sculpin” and learned that they do spirits as well!
Barefoot Wine & Bubbly/
E. & J. Gallo
Big Tar Wine Co.
Bottle Jack Wines
Congregation Ale House
Coquelicot Estate Vineyard – One I’ve liked for awhile from Santa Ynez.
Coruce Vineyards & Winery – Always a treat to see the Coruce people and all of their awards from Wine Enthusiast Magazine, as well as competitions from Sunset Magazine and San Francisco Chronicle.
Culinary Institute of America
Grassini Family Vineyards
Happy Hour Wine – They make a fun red and a white, less than $10 each, made from grapes grown in Spain. Look for them in your local supermarket.
King Frosch Wines
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Mother Earth Brewing Company
Navarro Vineyards and Winery – Good wines, need a full tasting visit soon.
Pagter Brothers Winery – Love what our very own Scott Pagter is doing…stay tuned to see what else he’s going to do next.
Rhythm Wine Co. – They have a wine from the “Alonso Family Vineyard” which is Juan from Le Chene!
Robert Hall Winery – Been awhile since we visited and we enjoyed the entire line-up. They were especially pleased with recent awards for their 2015 Rose from the California State Fair and a whopping 91 points for their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
San Antonio Winery /
Santa Barbara Winery
Smog City Brewing
Stolpman Vineyards – The 2003 Nebbiolo from the cellar, 2012 Petite Sirah and 2014 Angeli “The Best Syrah” killed, and so did a Syrah and Sangiovese poured by the one and only Tom Stolpman.
TW Ferm Co. – Sent a few people over to try their two killer Cabernet Sauvignons.
Turiya Wines – Another favorite at wine events.
Vina Simpatica – Fun fruit infused, flavorful and colorful sparklers!
Vinemark Cellars – Love all their wines, and love running into them at many events.
The Wine Crush
Workman Ayer – Always great to see and taste with Michel Ayer. NEVER miss an opportunity if you get one!
The Attic – A devilishly good deviled egg, and then something with tuna poke that killed me. So good.
Congregation Ale House
Delightful Crepes Cafe – Hubby was happy with these!
La Brea Bakery – Thanks for the take-home baguette!
Naree Thai – All grand.
Parkers’ Lighthouse – Great chilled seafood salad.
The Sky Room
Subarz – Tasty biscotti-like cookies.
About the Legal Aid Foundation of LA
Since 1929, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles has provided civil legal aid to poor and low-income people in Los Angeles County.
Now with five neighborhood offices, three Domestic Violence Clinics and four Self-Help Legal Access Centers, LAFLA serves communities as diverse as East Los Angeles, the Westside, South Los Angeles, Koreatown and Long Beach. LAFLA is the first place thousands of poor people turn to when they need legal assistance for a crisis that threatens their shelter, health and livelihood.
In 2015, LAFLA provided services to more than 80,000 people, including more than 10,400 children. We helped more than 39,000 people at our Self-Help Legal Access Centers. More than 11,000 people attended legal clinics and educational workshops, and we provided referrals to almost 30,000 people.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com