The idea of starting a Los Angeles winery is a compelling narrative. Who doesn’t want to drink local wine? Apart from the touristy San Antonio winery and Rupert Murdoch’s Bel Air vanity project Moraga, Angeleno Wines is the sole commercial winery in the city of Los Angeles or its immediate environs.
Jasper Dickson’s motivation in his local winemaking concept should probably be looked at foremost in terms of utilitarian convenience: If you live in a place and make wine, its easier to make wine from that place. Still, he’s obviously on to something bigger. Jasper has drawn on an opportunity to stake out a claim to the revived legacy of Los Angeles wine production. This revival is necessarly linked with but happening at a delay from the locavore movement in food and drink that has been the norm in Los Angeles for years now. Why is this?
Well, the reason that there is no longer a wine industry in Los Angeles is because land for homes and office buildings is worth more than for grape vines. So, winemakers have gone elsewhere. But, if one is determined to find grapes, one can. Jasper found his grapes in Agua Dulce, about an hour outside of L. A. proper and at first, he brought them north to a crushpad in San Benito county, all the while with his eye out for a place in L. A. to make his wine. That reality happened in time for the 2018 vintage and Angeleno Wine currently is located north of Chinatown.
Having points of civic pride like the Dodgers or the Walk of Fame are endemic to the allure of a city and for all the regionalities of Los Angeles, there are a multitude of these points. The history of Los Angeles is short by some measure, but the legacy of the Los Angeles wine industry goes back to its beginnings as a post-mission settlement. Angeleno Wine will qualify as a point of pride and most likely a successful business: a quality wine producer steeped in the history of the city. Incidentally, the facility and wine bar is pretty much at ground zero to L. A.’s original vine plantings.