We like to pretend that we are wine people. This basically means that we prefer this beverage over spirits or beer but do not have any extreme interest in this world outside of a few years of fine dining wine training from waiting tables in college and casually reading multiple tags at BevMo. We know what we like (Dry, French reds or crisp, lightly citrusy French rosés) and do not really stray too far from our prescriptions nor do we have any idea how to broaden our scope to wines on the periphery of the styles we like. We’ll occasionally speak to someone at K&L or The Oaks to attempt to branch out but we very often end up in our self-made comfort zone.
There is a way to change this quite easily, wine folk, and it comes by way of Los Angeles based wine service Vinelust, an online wine subscription that sees new and interesting bottles of wine sent to you with your taste in mind. It’s a pretty genius service that takes out a lot of the guesswork in wine selection and certainly is useful in broadening your palette. To hear about the project and more about the curious Los Angeles wine scene, we spoke with Vinelust CEO Pallavi Patil, CSW who has tons of experience in the wine world and, naturally, is just finishing up her MBA at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
VineLust is such a unique concept and certainly has an audience for it. Where did the thought to start it come from? Was it a response to something happening (or not happening) in Los Angeles?
I thought about the idea for VineLust when I moved from New York to LA a few years ago. I liked wine before, but only after going to many of the wineries in California and through Oregon did I become enamored with learning more. I caught the wine bug!
I found myself spending so much time reading magazines, asking for friend’s recommendations and scouring wine shops to find bottles from smaller vineyards that I would enjoy. It was pretty hit or miss and I was spending a decent amount of money on wine that just wasn’t for me. After speaking with more friends, they had similar problems and no time to find wine–-and the idea for VineLust was born!
I wanted to create a service that was all about helping people learn more about wine and explore wine from amazing craft wine producers from around the world in a personal way. A mix of science and art to get you the best wine possible for your personal palate.
We send members 2 bottles every month for $49.99 curated by two of the best sommeliers in the industry, specifically for your tastes. You can go back online and rate the wine so the next experience is even better than the last!
Wine is a part of nearly every culture and certainly has a place in Los Angeles. What is LA wine culture? Is there a wine culture?
It’s not a surprise that the LA wine culture is driven by all of the amazing California wineries from Santa Ynez, Paso Robles, Napa, all the way up north to Mendecino County. There are so many opportunities to learn more from winemakers who come to Los Angeles and host wine dinners, wine festivals and other events.
People from all walks of life in LA tend to know a good amount about wine, but with a completely unpretentious vibe–-it’s not about a price tag or cult producers. “Wine for the People” is a good way to sum up the LA wine culture and I love it!
As someone who works in the wine industry in LA, where are the best places in town to get a glass of wine or to buy wine? Which places are constantly impressing you? Where is the best place to get an affordable glass of wine? Are there any places that are lesser known but stellar?
There are some great wine bars around town. On a nice sunny day, sipping a glass of rosé at Sonoma Wine Garden is fun–the perfect outdoor spot. Ugo in Culver City is a great place to try small pours of many different wines and experiment if you are on a budget. Primitivo Wine Bar in Venice has an extensive wine list and laid back European atmosphere.
The new trend with retail stores is to have a portion of their store as a dedicated wine bar, these are awesome places to learn more about wine by chatting with people who know what their talking about and find a bottle to take home. Monopole Wine is Pasadena is great along with Domaine LA in Mid-city, Venokado in Santa Monica and Buzz in DTLA.
Vineyards in Los Angeles don’t seem to be a thing. Are there any nearby that we should lookout for? Just outside of LA, which vineyards should locals be on the lookout for or even think about visiting?
There aren’t any vineyards in LA, but there are so many close by! Spending a weekend in Santa Ynez can be the perfect getaway. My favorite vineyards there are Clos Pepe, Coquelicot, and Qupé. Quick tip: Have a few vineyards in mind, but ask your server at dinner or other locals you run into what their favorites are. It’s a great way to get the inside scoop on some off-the beaten path wineries. Paso Robles and Temecula also aren’t far away either and are easy weekend trips.
What’s next for Vinelust? Obviously the brand is just getting started but are there going to be local events or happenings we should be on the lookout for?
We just launched our website (www.vinelust.com) this month, but we are starting to plan local events as well. We’ll be throwing happy hours at local bars and restaurants to feature wines of a particular varietal or region, that way people can learn more about wine and get a glimpse into how VineLust can help them explore and find the perfect bottle!
Feel free to sign-up on our website as well for more information! We are excited to start a wine revolution and help connect more people to amazing wine in a way that’s never been done before.
Sign up to become a member by April 3rd and receive 25% off your first month by using coupon code: LAYOURS
How exciting is all of this?! First off, amazing that you can get a little LAIY discount for checking out Vinelust. Second, we’re absolutely dying to visit the Coquelicot vineyard: that place looks so awesome! We also now have so many places to add to our Yelp bookmarks of wine stores and wine loving restaurants to check out. It’s time to get serious about our love of wine–and thankfully Vinelust is here to help!