A day of wine country fun can be had without leaving the heart of downtown Los Angeles. San Antonio Winery, a proud family endeavor since 1917, has it all. Come for wine tasting, have lunch, take a tour, and shop for unique gifts; it’s a family outing right in your own backyard.
San Antonio Winery is the last winery standing of more than 100 wineries that once dotted Los Angeles. The Riboli family survived Prohibition by producing sacramental wines for the church. Now they provide value and fun to locals and tourists alike. Offering wines from $6.95 to $49.95 from 5 different brands under the San Antonio umbrella, the average bottle is under $20. Everything from Riesling to Cabernet Sauvignon, Heritage Rhone Red and White blends, Chardonnay to Syrah, and dessert wines grace the large tasting room.
When you enter San Antonio Winery’s tasting room, push your way through the weekend crowd and stand in line to belly up to the bar. They offer a complimentary tasting of your choice of 3 wines on their list. You can upgrade to a tasting of 4 of their artisan wines for $10 and take home a keepsake glass. Not all of their wines are available for sampling but most people find something to keep them happy. Cases of wine are flying out the door, people giddy with the opportunity to drink affordably in this economy.
Where San Antonio Winery shines is their unique lineup of sweet Italian sparkling wines. Stella Rosa Imperiale Fior d’Arancio DOCG is a semi-sweet sparkling orange moscato. It’s a rich yet delicate bubbly full of orange blossom and peach aromas. Try it as an aperitif, with mild cheese, or with fruit tarts and vanilla bean ice cream. A rainbow of other bubblies are available, such as the Stella Rosa Imperiale Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG, Stella Rosa Imperiale Moscato Rose, and Il Conte D’Alba Moscato d’Asti DOCG.
Take a tour of the San Antonio complex. They have blended a state of the art winery with historical charm, integrating traditions of the past with the science of today. There are no picturesque vineyards here. All the grapes are grown in Central Coast vineyards north of Los Angeles, crushed, and their juice transported to the winery. Here the magic of winemaking takes place, with rooms of wine in various stages of production. Tours are conducted on the hour from 11-4 pm on weekends, and 12-2 pm Monday through Friday.
Wend your way through charming banquet rooms, available for special events, and gaze upon huge stainless steel fermentation tanks, walk along a bottling station inside a giant warehouse of wines from around the world, and peek into aging rooms with barrels of wine awaiting their time. Family pride is everywhere. Four generations of Riboli family photos line the walls, awards are prominently displayed, and vintage photos of long ago East LA harvests serve as a reminder of their dedication to wine.