Wine 101

Los Angeles is the birthplace of the beverage in California, and a perfect place to engage in tasting and pairing experiences


Chieko Kubo

Dominic Menton has dedicated himself to making wine beloved to everyone for 10 years as a manager of San Antonio Winery of Los Angeles.

A wine and cheese pairing event was held by San Antonio Winery of Los Angeles and drew 80 wine enthusiasts on Oct. 14 who sampled white, red, and dessert wines. Dominic Menton, the manager of the company and Corey Arballo, a Sommelier from Le Velo Voyage, hosted the events. Almost half of the visitors had previously attended the company’s events, which indicated that the company has a following, the hosts demonstrated

Many people think of Napa Valley in any association to California wine, but, according to Menton, Napa Valley is not the first winery region in our state. “Los Angeles is the birthplace of California wine,” he said. San Antonio Winery has a history of winemaking and selling since it was founded in 1917.

The event started at 1 p.m. and a long line was formed in the wine store to sign up. People had to apply online to participate. A California-style dining room with tall ceilings was reserved for the event, which featured about a dozen roundtables. Menton and Arballo gave PowerPoints to educated about wine and cheese pairings.

The pairings started with a glass of white Sauvignon wine. If one finds words “Sauvignon blanc” in a wine, that means it comes in white and is made from green-skinned grapes.

Can fish go well with wine?

Yes. The one they served this time was San Simeon Sauvignon Blanc 2017 with a fish taco. “I used to like red wine, but this wine was my favorite because it’s crisp and light,” said Eileen Reed, who enjoyed this wine the most. Since the white wine didn’t have too much toughness and richness, it goes well with light cheese or light food, like certain kinds of fish.

What would be great for holiday dining?

“Perfect holiday wine is riesling wine,” said Menton. Riesling, which is characterized by its fruitiness, is a kind of wine derived from white grapes.

It has a variety of tastes, from dry to sweet. If people don’t know which one goes well with their meat, they should choose semi-sweet. It’s well-balanced. It can match well with turkey or ham, so Riesling can be a good choice for Thanksgiving dining.

What does “dry” or “full-bodied” mean?

They served three glasses of red wine, and the heaviest one was San Simeon Petite Sirah 2014. When individuals find “Sirah” in a name of a wine, they can expect that the wine is a dry and full-bodied red. Since dry and full-bodied wine has basically a higher amount of alcohol than sweet and light ones, it will stick to their throats and literary dry their mouth because of the high alcohol.

However, Petite Sirah is different from Sirah. It still has a strong taste because it is descendant of Sirah. Thus, if people want to try Sirah, they ought to begin from Petite Sirah.

What is right wine for a everyday dinner?

Heavy wine is the one, Arballo (pictured to the left) said. “The more ingredients in a dish, the heavier, fuller, and bigger wine is better,” he explained. A lighter taste of meat, such as a food complemented by mozzarella cheese or fish, matches a lighter wine.

The reason why dessert wine was named as such is that it could be replaced with “desserts.” San Antonio Winery has made number one choice label wine in the California in Stella Rosa for the last 11 years. It has various tastes from red to white. It’s the perfect dessert wine and pairs well with cheesecakes, cookies, fruits, and more.

How to enjoy dessert wine

Stella Rosa Peach was served as the sixth wine with a peanut butter and sliced cheese sandwiches. It seemed like a too sweet matching, but actually, it worked well. The series of wines are semi-sweet, so it goes well with different types of sweetness levels, like peanut butter.

Also, Arballo added, “Sweet goes well with heat.” There are a lot of matches would be great wiith sweet wine.

Overall, attendees enjoyed nine glasses of various wines with each small amount of suitable cheese dishes. A live performance of a saxophone player entertained them and brought an amusing atmosphere together. The interactive wine lecture from Menton and Arballo made the event a success, according to attendees.

Is wine a choice for a special occassion?

No. “You can have everyday food with wine,” said Arballo. Though there are a lot of recommendations from internet or wine professionals, it doesn’t mean everybody must follow what they read. “Don’t miss out after having one bad experience. Try different things to find your epic pair,” Menton suggested. Wine and food pairing is a personal and enjoyable journey, and meant to complement the individuals who experiment with it.

San Antonio Winery offers events of this nature approximately once a month. Check out further information at

Hot Dog.

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Pictures taken by Chieko Kubo and James Ojano-Simonsson.