Natalie’s LA Spotlight: un-WINE-ding

photo by: Roderiques Photography

photo by: Roderiques Photography

by: Natalie Lipka

As a host, actor and producer I am really busy. I am continually creating and growing into my own career in the entertainment industry, and I feel blessed to be constantly working. Whether I am hired by someone or working on my own projects, sometimes I realize that it is time for a much needed break. In addition to loving what I do, I also have a passion for wine. Wine tasting has become one of my favorite ways to unwind. It’s the perfect date as well as a great thing to do with your friends and family. Living in Los Angeles, there are many great wine tasting rooms just around the corner. Here are three tasting rooms that I found not too far from Hollywood that are a great way to celebrate that role you just booked, your birthday or my favorite thing to celebrate, life!

Malibu Family Wines
Open: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday-Sunday

Located on Mulholland Highway, this winery is absolutely outstanding. I celebrated one of my birthdays here and my family and friends were so impressed. The view and vibe are amazing. You can do two different tastings, Saddlerock and Semler. Then, after tasting and seeing what you like, you can buy a bottle to either drink there or take home. There’s nothing like sipping on some Semler Syrah in the fresh Malibu air. And this place is perfect for a picnic. You can bring food in with you. I highly suggest stopping at Malibu Seafood on the PCH on your way there. We got the Seafood Combination that easily feeds 2-4 people. Yum!

Vampire Lounge & Tasting Room
Open: 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday & Sunday: 4 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Friday & Saturday

My BFF sent my husband a Livingsocial gift for a Premium Wine Tasting for Two for his birthday. Fortunately for us both, he chose correctly and took me as his date. The wines were super delish (from Vampire to Dracula to True Blood) and the man behind the bar was very knowledgeable about all of the wines. He went to school for the wine business. This tasting room in Beverly Hills is basically in Hollywood’s backyard. Oh, and just so you know, there is a really cute lounge upstairs that is perfect to host your next intimate gathering. This places mixes the popularity of vampires with great tasting wines like no other.

Oreana Winery
Open: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday

This tasting room is the farthest of the three, but well worth the drive. Just two blocks off the beach in Santa Barbara, it is the perfect getaway spot. Two of my favorites from Oreana are the Project Happiness Syrah and ? (yes, ? is the name of this superb red blend). And here is a little secret: If you can’t get up to Santa Barbara, you can get each of these wines at Trader Joe’s for under 6 bucks! A little taste of the SB right in your own home!

Wine, like most art can be subjective. My taste buds and palate may be different than yours and that is the fun of it. I love tasting wine and discussing it. So if you do a wine tasting at any of these places, I’d love to hear what you think.

*And always remember to drink responsibly.*

How do you like to unwind?