Free Wine Tastings at Downtown's San Antonio Winery

— by Caroline on Crack

Photo courtesy of San Antonio Winery

My friend Beth told me about this winery located near Downtown L.A. A winery near downtown? I imagined a vineyard in Skid Row….that doesn’t sound very tasty. But apparently it really is.

About a hundred years ago, the L.A. River was lined with wineries, but then Prohibition jolted the wine industry. San Antonio Winery survived only because its founder, Santo Cambianica, made a deal with the Catholic Church to supply its sacramental wines. And Beth, a self-professed “big whino,” can attest to the quality of their wines as she partook of the winery’s free wine tasting. Turns out the vineyard isn’t in Skid Row but rather Monterey and Napa Valley with other sources in Santa Barbara, Paso Robles and Sonoma–yes, Wine Country. San Antonio just bottles the stuff in the Los Angeles plant.

There’s also a lovely restaurant on the premises called Maddalena Restaurant. And, the wine tasting (with three tastes maximum) as well as the winery tour are free.

About Maddalena, from CitySearch:

A vaulted hall, stacked with wine barrels, is filled with downtown businessfolk and loft-dwelling artists eating cafeteria-style lunches. California-inspired dishes are tasty and pair with the house wines, available by the bottle or the glass. Penne pasta with salmon is paired with vodka sauce, while spinach-ricotta ravioli is flavored with a medley of herbs.

For those who want to learn more about wine, the winery also offers seminars which include lunch or dinner and run about $65 a person.

Other Eastside friends know about San Antonio and absolutely love it. L.A. has its own winery after all. Who knew?

737 Lamar St
Los Angeles, California 90031
(323) 223-1401
Cross Street: Main Street
Wine tours: weekdays 12pm-2pm and weekends 11am-4pm