Beside the Rhine River in Germany or in sun-soaked fields in Tuscany and California, vines grow heavy with ripe fruit. These jewel-toned morsels fill bottles at PRP Wine International, whose consultants then share the global terroir during special events and private tastings at home. Each staff member has a library of facts about wine production and consumption on the tip of their tongue, as well as several varieties of corkscrews hanging from their mandated utility belt. An online shop organizes varietals, such as montepulciano and gewürztraminer, by their taste profile and country of origin, and sparkling wines are searchable by price point. To deepen their client's connection to their favorite bottle, they may either be etched or emblazoned with custom labels that commemorate an event or deliver a dry thank you.
As the years have led to urban expansion, only one Los Angeles winery has stood the test of time. The San Antonio Winery and Restaurant in Lincoln Heights is so beloved as a local drinking institution, it was given cultural monument status in 1966. Since then, the hidden-away winery, down a few side streets in an industrial part of the downtown area, has been quietly serving up glasses of fine wine from their Italian-style villa. Terracotta roofs and tall greenery line the exterior of this operational winery, which has been bottling since 1917. Free wine tastings and tours are available daily, and the attached Maddalena restaurant serves homey Italian food.
The "secret" in Bacchus' Secret Cellar is gas. Argon gas, to be exact, which powers the bar's preservation system and ensures that the wines within stay fresh for long periods of time. There are about 50 wines—mostly reds—on tap at the counter, as well as 8 sparkling wines, 5 dessert wines, and 12 microbrews. The library of options encourages guests to sample several, so it's wise to order a flight: you can get a signature array of 2.5-ounce glasses, or you can compose your own for a unique harmony of tastes.
The bar is just the beginning of the cellar's wine selection. On the shelves that span the walls, more than 350 labels beckon to be uncorked. A bistro menu provides gourmet food to complement sips, from starters of oven-roasted dates to lamb burgers and prosciutto flatbreads, made by dropping a regular loaf of bread into a printing press by accident. There's also a full menu of cheeseboards, with goat, cow, and sheep cheeses from the United States and abroad.
Intent on contributing to the rise of an Old World-style wine country in Temecula Valley, Rev Winery harvests grapes from more than 30 acres of vineyards to create organic, palate-friendly wines. These grapes include traditional European vinifera varietals, producing everything from syrah and merlot to cabernet sauvignon and sangiovese, but the winery embraces modern, New World-driven advancements in winemaking techniques and technologies. Rev Winery also features a robust zinfandel made from 43-year-old vines, which are easily identifiable thanks to their Nixon-Agnew presidential campaign stickers.
Once an actual storage facility, Packing House Wine Merchants converted the novel space into a comfortable wine bar, shop, and lounge stocked with high-quality vintages from around the world. Silky libations like the Godspeed cabernet from Napa Valley ($11 per glass) seduce the senses with a complex balance of black cherry infusions, mineral hints, and spices. Opt for the chilled sweetness of Germany's Armand Kabinett riesling ($7.50 per glass) and be rewarded with the mingled pleasures of apricot, musk, melon, mango, and brown-spiced persimmon. The adventurous and mathematically inclined can pair a thematic tasting, each with two to six samples ($5–$17), with one of four specialty cheese plates ($15 each) for an endless permutation of tasty tippling. Packing House also offers live music entertainment on Saturdays to entertain the wine while it awaits its inevitable fate.
The Parlour stocks its chic, exposed-brick bistro space with a Bacchanalian bounty of elegant, hand-selected wines. Its impressive by-the-bottle list boasts more than 200 wines from around the globe, categorized by type and country of origin. If this leviathan list seems too daunting, wizened staff members are on hand to make masterful suggestions. The shorter by-the-glass list streamlines the assortment down to approximately 30 wines, ports, and imported beers (starting at $6) to team up with The Parlour's seasonal menu, like Tom and Jerry when they fight that pesky bulldog, Spike.