Wine has been around since in one form or another since about 7000 BC, and it’s a pretty safe bet, knowing wine and knowing its enthusiasts, that people have been getting together to drink it, talk about it, share it, comment on it and generally celebrate it for about as long.
Wine tastes great. It inspires camaraderie. Story telling. General mirth and merriment. It can create a lot of smiling faces.
I have no idea what the first people to do so called it (other than fun), but for some time now we’ve called it a wine festival, and the latest iteration of that that I just attended was the utterly and pleasantly surprising LAWineFest.
I had no idea what to expect, not having attended before, but having been to mad houses like the garlic fest up in Gilroy and some other similar ones, I went with an open mind, ready camera and empty glass. There were some big names there, pretty much known by everyone with a passing familiarity with California wine, there were beer brewers, food vendors and producers and some people who make the things that lovers of wine and food tend to be interested in, from fine cutlery to the latest BMWs.
And the people? The LAWineFest did Los Angeles proud: in glorious and typical Los Angeles fashion, there was every type of person, from every sort of background, in every sort of fashion (and then some), mingling, carousing, getting along famously, eating and generally sharing a passion for the love of the grape.
What I discovered, completely to my surprise, was some of the best cheese I’ve had in forever from Vagabond Cheese and some wine crafted by tiny producers (also known as ‘garagistes’), in a special weingarten of sorts, the Boutique Wine Garden, separated from the main area, that were easily the match of some of the best producers I already know. Had I tried only one of them, Vinemark Cellars, and left it at that, it would have been worth showing up and then some for completely turning my head around with astonishingly great wine.
To top it off, some of the most remarkable salt (yes, salt!) from the Laguna Salt Company. Wonderful flavored and spiced salts that I’m going to feature at some point in the near future. I can still taste the memory of their Spicy Garlic Salt, and already have ideas how I can use it in my own kitchen.
All in all, a resounding success. Great wine, great food, from cheese to food truck lobster rolls and beyond, and a whole sea of smiling faces.