All the Best Outdoor Wine Parties to Hit Up in Los Angeles
When the weather warms up, Angelenos get thirsty. Good thing there are so many ways to try new/learn about/drink lots of wines and spirits at events that are hosted on the grounds of historic homes, on rolling lawns and under majestic hot air balloon launches (so cinematic!). Who knows, maybe you’ll meet the new love of your life? Or at least discover the season’s best rosé.
EFFERVESCENCE FESTIVAL (MAY 3 TO 5)
International sparkling wines are the focus at Effervescence, the only festival dedicated to drinks with those nose-tickling bubbles. Guests can take in a talk on French Champagne hosted by Krug downtown, then take part in a grand tasting with 30 Champagne makers discussing their bottles. We’re especially excited about the outdoor Sunday brunch featuring wines from Italy, Spain, the United States, England, New Zealand, South Africa and beyond, prepared by chef Nancy Silverton and held at Hedley & Bennett’s woman-owned apron factory on the border of the Fashion District.
Hedley & Bennett, 3864 S. Santa Fe Ave., Vernon; effervescencela.com
DERBY DAY L.A. (MAY 4)
Why just watch the Kentucky Derby at home when you can put on a nice dress and fanciful hat and mingle while enjoying craft cocktails made from Champagne, wheat vodka, tequila or whiskey? There’s live Derby coverage, polo playing and Champagne sabering—that’s when barkeeps use a huge blade to basically chop off the cork of a bottle of sparkling wine, causing it to fizz into a dramatic money shot.
Will Rogers State Historic Park, 1501 Will Rogers State Park Rd., Pacific Palisades; derbydayla.com
Cinco de Mayo Garden Party (May 5)
Officially, May 5 is the traditional commemoration of the Mexican Army’s underdog victory over the French in 1862. Unofficially, it’s our excuse to drink margs. Hit the pop-up margarita fest on the gorgeous patio at Gracias Madre, where hosts will serve shots of Casamigos and serve smoky margaritas made with El Silencio mezcal. There will also be beer and rosé for the lightweights among us.
8905 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; 323-978-2170 or graciasmadreweho.com
FRIDAY-NIGHT WINE TASTINGS (MAY 31 TO SEPTEMBER 6)
You’re chilling with a bunch of friends on a picnic blanket, on the top of a hill with 360-degree views of the city. You’ve got a glass of something delish from Silver Lake Wine, and you’re looking forward to taking a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed house on the property. Hello, classy urban picnic.
Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd.; eventbrite.com/barnsdall
Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival (May 31 to June 2)
Early-morning balloon rides, midday wine tastings, wine barrels made into racing go-karts and nighttime rock and country music concerts—this is the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, a tradition that’s more state fair than snobbish wine party. Be sure to stick around atdusk, when the grounded balloons flame their burners to create a brilliant light show against the darkening sky.
37701 Warren Rd., Winchester; tvbwf.com
L.A. WINEFEST (JUNE 1 AND 2)
You know the unpretentious good time you have when you’re walking through a bustling farmers’ market or street fair? Well, douse that experience in a healthy pour of wine or craft beer and you’re feeling Long Beach’s L.A. Wine Fest. There will be food trucks (Kogi Korean BBQ, Cousins Maine Lobster), artisan boutiques and live music—so remember to bring sunscreen and a designated driver.
95 S. Pine Ave., Long Beach; lawinefest.com