Los Angeles Oktoberfest invites visitors to celebrate the changing seasons with two days of traditional Bavarian revelry. Hosted by Bob Guiney from ABC's The Bachelor, the festival invites attendees to fill their glass steins with any of the 19 available German beers and purchase hearty platefuls of bratwurst, giant pretzels, and strudel. Live bands lead traditional, sing-along drinking tunes, a Bavarian dance group performs for joyous audiences, and a strolling accordionist weaves through the crowds while playing familiar German melodies. In addition to bidding on sports memorabilia at the silent-auction table, patrons can also test their arm strength by competing in the stein-holding competition, which rewards the winners with lifetime admission to the Los Angeles Oktoberfest and a brand new pair of steel biceps to replace the old, used-up ones.
Justin Tatum, head winemaker for Malibu Rocky Oaks, has produced hundreds of wines during his career. A gold medal from the San Francisco International Wine Competition adorns the winery’s 2010 syrah. A 91-point rating from Wine Enthusiast magazine attests to the strengths of a 2009 cabernet reserve, which the reviewer said “has plenty of elegant red plum and anise, and its tannins are present but not overwhelming.” At J. Hamilton Wines, Justin shares his knowledge of the winemaking process, covering a grape's journey from the vine to a year backpacking in Europe to find itself to the bottle. During the class, chatter fills the winery as he shows winemaking in action and answers questions on barreling, lab equipment, and bottling.
Within its contemporary confines, point08 tickles the senses with potable, edible, and audible delights. Like a Lilliputian urban planner, the menu thinks small, focusing on mini servings and featuring diminutive masterpieces such as Kobe beef sliders with blue cheese, bacon aioli, arugula, and caramelized onions all resting majestically betwixt buns from King's Hawaiian Bread ($10). Lobster corn dogs encase scrumptious crustacean tails in a lightly fried corn covering and partner them with sweet chili gel and spicy whole-grain mustard ($12).
SF Experiences guides take wine lovers on whirlwind tours of the urban winery scene by boat as well as by bus, opening up the local word of vinos to its visitors. It's not every day you get to take a boat to a winery. The SF Winery Cruise travels from the mainland to Treasure Island, San Francisco’s Wine Country. While on the water, passengers sip sparkling wine; on either shore, they sample vintages at urban wineries, all of which focus on California wines culled from areas such as Santa Barbara and Napa Valley.
For a tours that stay on dry land, the San Francisco Wine Adventure bus stops at a set of urban wineries, giving passengers tastes of the area's finest wares while relating the local history of winemaking. Historical tours of Treasure Island add to the knowledge fest, and stops for stunning photos include the famous "postcard view" of the city that makes everyone on the far shore appear to be a model.
Raphael's ritzy menu of small plates, craft cocktails, California wines, and premium cuts of steak invites diners to sample life's finer things. Chefs concoct a menu full of cosmopolitan fare, with sweet and sour Brussels sprouts, wild boar ragu, quail with truffle, and beef tartare. Guests sip cocktails made with ingredients such as Buffalo Trace bourbon or yuzu foam, or pair plates of fried chicken or black seabream with an extensive wine list.
With a mission to educate consumers on the mystifying subtleties of wine, Learn About Wine hosts more than 100 classes, trade tastings, and consumer events each year. Since its beginnings in 1995, the organization has helped more than 50,000 students deepen their appreciation and understanding of the old-world drink through socially centered programs. Wine Camp, Learn About Wine's introductory course, encourages guests to absorb wine-drinking terminology and critical lessons in storing and serving. Regional tours lead groups through various growing regions, allowing visitors to observe processes such as fermenting and picking bottles at the peak of glossiness. Click here for a complete listing of program types.