One of the first wine fests I attended as press was the LA Wine Fest.  Founder Joel Fisher was very kind in extending passes and personally welcoming us at the event.  Since then I’ve covered the 500+ winery/brew/spirit event in photos, as my hands are always too full with a wine glass and program to manage a pad and pencil.

James Carling, Ventura Limoncello
James Carling, Ventura Limoncello

Through the fest I’ve also benefitted from Sake, Scotch and even cheese pairing classes that Fisher offers from a wide variety of educators.  The first time I had Ventura Limoncello, Herzog Cellars, Roxo Port, and wines from Ventura County was at the fest.  I have fond memories of meeting friends from both Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, as well as people-watching a new generation of wine friendly people.

So, without further adieu, here is photo album link that pairs with the descriptions of what I sampled (below):

Tasted had a homemade bark made from Belgian chocolate, not overly sweet and perfect for my palate.

From, we enjoyed their Woodstock Collection 2012 Purple Haze and 2011 Anthem red blend.

It was nice to find after discovering them earlier this year at Family Winemakers.  I enjoyed their 2013 estate Sauvignon Blanc, Rose and Viognier wines while my husband got his first taste of their 2010 Estate red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Mourvedre.

I spied sommelier Adem Sash of Del Frisco’s Grille leading a pairing seminar to a nice crowd of press and wine tasters.

I took the “Nut Tasting Tour” cleverly offered by and learned that I liked walnuts flavored with orange almost as much as the ones with Parmesan.

The very first display from the Van Ness entrance was from uber-popular  I stopped long enough for a splash of refreshing prosecco.

Tried something new at a Dirty Margarita made with their cinnamon and pineapple infused tequila.  Loved it. was there with attentive crowds in both the VIP lounge and at a pouring table sharing their award-winning wines. dirty tequila cocktail

Though the “chocolate man” has melted at the table, the samples did not.  Very nice chocolates with flavors ranging from orange to ginger to crushed nuts to pepper.

Greg Martin, winemaker and owner of in Paso Robles was very interesting.  His seven kids, angels at one point, were the namesake of the winery, and he made well over 7 wines that we enjoyed: 2010 Petite Sirah, 2011 Kindred red blend, 2011 Grace red blend, 2011 Confession red blend, and several whites including a 2012 Grenache Blanc.  Will definitely be watching this winery.

Loved all of the blends, again, in the lineup: 2010 Malstria, 2010 XCV, 2010 Jersey Girl, 2010 Jack of Hearts and 201 Hell’s Kitchen.

Every time I get to try I’m a happy girl.  Owner James Carling also served up a cocktail with vodka, sparkling water and ice, and my favorite Orangecello.

Tasted a few wines from 2009 Merlot and 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon while chatting up with founder Joel Fisher and his right arm/daughter Sara Fisher Chapin.

Picked up a copy of Len Napolitano’s book, “Nose, Legs and Body” for review – looks like it’s perfect for wine 101ers!

Greg Martin, Seven Angels Cellars
Greg Martin, Seven Angels Cellars

Had a surprise from Temecula Valley: impressed me with their lineup that included a 2011 Grenache, 2010 Meritage of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Verdot, 2011 Syrah and Port.

Also from, I found both a 2011 Lorimar blend of Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Mourvedre, and 2011 Hart Syrah.

I gave singer Nicki Minaj’s MYX fusion drinks a shot and thought the coconut would pair quite nicely with a little sparkling water…and a bikini. served up several of their yummy Paso Robles’ ports: 2009 Paso Mélange, 2009 Ruby Tradicional and 2008 Magia Preta.

The spiced up nuts from went well with all of the wine, beer and spirits.

Both our local winemakers, Nate Hasper and Steve Lemley, of, were on hand for the first time sharing their Paso wines at the fest. wowed me with their aptly named “Shine” version of Tennessee Moonshine.

Gotta love this tagline, “KOOKSOONDANG puts human beings on the front burner before brewing wine” and a lineup that included Grapefruit Rice Wine (I was told that the rice wines are made in Korea and not allowed to be called Sake), Raspberry Rice Wine and Plum Wine.  Check them out at or in your local Korean market.

At I enjoyed two single malts: the very smooth and nutty Tamdu and the richly-peated Smokehead.

The very large tent did a brisk business.  The lovely ladies clad in red served up several beers, including a hard cider, in their appropriate glassware.  The guests really dug getting a full glass, and being able to take the glasses home.

Some of the wineries and vendors we missed (only as we ran out of steam 3 ½ hours into the event) can be found in the listings below:

Wineries, Breweries & Distilleries

  • Allied Importers
  • Alonso Family Vineyards –
    (with Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners Association)
  • Angel City Brewery
  • Bekseju USA (Kooksoondang)
  • Bouquet Vineyards –
    (with Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners Association)
  • Cantara Cellars, Ventura –
    (with Ventura County Winery Association)
  • Casey Flat Ranch
  • Cielo Wineyards, Malibu
  • Claremont Craft Ales
  • Cupcake Vineyards, Livermore
  • Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits
  • Dirty Tequila
  • DM Vineyards & Partners
  • E.D. Wines
  • First Crush Cellars
  • Frey Vineyards
  • Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant
  • Grizzly Republic
  • Heritage Auctions
  • Herzog Wine Cellars, Central Coast
  • J. Hamilton Wines
  • Jada Vineyard & Winery, Paso Robles
  • JVS Imports
  • LA International Wine Competition
  • Leoness Cellars, Temecula
  • Lone Madrone
  • Maddalena Vineyard Brands –
    (A San Antonio Winery Company)
  • Marisco Vineyards (Marlborough, NZ)
  • Pulchella Winery –
    (with Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners Association)
  • Ranchero Cellars
  • Reyes Winery, Sierra Pelona
  • Riboli Family Wine Estates –
    (A San Antonio Winery Company)
  • Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
  • Rosenthal, The Malibu Estate
  • Roxo Port Cellars, Paso Robles
  • San Antonio Winery
  • Seven Angels Cellars, Paso Robles
  • Sierra Pelona Valley Vintners Association
  • Simply Vino
  • Stella Artois
  • Temecula Valley Winegrowers Assoc.
  • The Other Guys
  • Ventura County Winery Association
  • Ventura Limoncello
  • VinVillage, San Diego
  • Wilson Creek Winery, Temecula
  • Wood Closet Group –
    (Unique flavored wines & alcoholic beverages)
  • Zaca Mesa Winery, Santa Barbara
  • Zinfandel Advocates & Producers, California
  • Zuri Wine Tasting, Redondo Beach

Lifestyle Boutique Exhibitors

  • Bella Candles
  • BevWizard Co.
  • Bistro Blends
  • Bond Bar
  • Cambozola Black Label
  • Coravin
  • Crazy Go Nuts
  • Dave’s Killer Bread
  • De’ Longhi America
  • DelGrosso Foods
  • Dora Blackman Palm & Card Reader
  • Eos Chocolates
  • Fancifull Fine Foods and Gift Baskets
  • Farm Fresh To You
  • Garlic Expressions
  • Glitz N’ Glamour
  • Gourmet Blends
  • Grand Avenue Coffee
  • Icelandic Glacial
  • Indian Wells Brewing Company
  • JDN73
  • Kaleo Marketing
  • King Barrel
  • Laga Handbags
  • Laguna Salt Company
  • LeeLee Jewels
  • Loom in the Living Room and Heirloom Baskets
  • M. Cigars
  • Olive Oil Boutique
  • Paint & Sip Studios LA
  • Specialty Foods
  • Signature Hand Engraving
  • Soirée
  • Southern Innovations
  • The LA Times
  • The New York Times
  • Uber
  • Ultimate Kitchen Grater
  • Watchdog Breathalyzer
  • Weaver’s Coffee & Tea
  • Welk Resorts
  • Wine Treasures

Gourmet Food Stations/Trucks

  • Border Grill Truck
  • Carb & Nation
  • Crepe de Ville
  • Kogi BBQ
  • Mi Dolce Vita Cupcakery
  • Poke-Poke
  • Raleigh Grill
  • Slammin’ Sliders
  • Sweet Arleen’s
  • Tainamite
  • The Grilled Cheese Truck
  • The Surfer Taco