You’ve seen the signs around downtown, the huge billboard off the 5 freeway and the colorful San Antonio Winery mural on the side of a building. They get nothing more than a shrug from me. I mean, a winery in DTLA? Winos yes; but a winery? Come on.
Caught with a free Sunday afternoon, the hub and I decided to check it out. It was a hot day and the lure of air conditioning and free wine samples sent us heading down Main at full speed.
Turning down Lamar Street, our mouths gasped at a rare and beautiful sight in our city- ample free parking. Once inside, we realized that the heavy marketing efforts were not a sign that business was slow; the place was packed.
I can’t understand how I’ve never been to a wedding, anniversary, or fund raiser at this place. It’s about as party friendly as locations get. There’s a maze of rooms with names like the Vintage Room, Crushing Room and Fermenting room. Bacchus would definitely approve.
Unlike other banquet halls around the city offering full catering services and beautiful rooms, the San Antonio Winery has the added bonus of being educational as well as enticing.
Family run since 1917, the winery is one of the last remnants of Los Angeles’ own Little Italy. Despite wars, Prohibition and the urbanization of the area, the business prospered. Produced on site and bottled under the Riboli family’s various labels, a large amount of the wine is shipped under the private labels of high-end hotels and other businesses. The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is a client, along with the Kyoto Grand Hotel. The family likes to joke saying their wines are the “best you never knew you’ve had.”
Arrangements can be made to have your guests see how wine is actually made, bottled and prepared for shipment. A wine tasting event can also be arranged as an entertaining alternative to the usual pre-reception cocktail hour.
The views may not be as nice as Napa, but the wine holds it own, and the long line for the food at the winery’s Maddalena Restaurant serves as a bold letter of recommendation. Whether you’re a glass tipper or a teetotaler, San Antonio Winery’s tannin scented walls and festive atmosphere bring a bit of L.A history to your historic event.
San Antonio Winery 737 Lamar Street, Los Angeles, CA 90031. Phone: 323.223.1401 Special Events: 323.223.3728 www.sanantoniowinery.com