Call it the Sideways effect.
In “Eureka, a Wine Rush,” the L.A. Times reports that wine in L.A. is hot hot hot, with sales of the grapey beverage increasing something like 30 percent over the last five years. As with the gold rush, there are plenty of folks eager to capitalize on L.A.’s oeneophility.
Wine bars are inplementing high concept innovations like vending machines that distribute not pizza, but one-ounce pours of high-end wines while wine merchants are pimp out their wine stores with opulent tasting rooms and lots of square footage.
A Manhattan Beach entrepreneur has launched Wine Styles, a new chain of franchised wine stores with party rooms tricked out with such flourishes as the red organza “love tent” in the chain’s Pacific Palisades store. Store owner Thierry Pierre Oliva says the tent creates a supernatural vibe for the fortune tellers he hires to work during wine tastings — a perfect accompaniment for “spiritual” wines. The bordello red velvet couches and dim lighting, however, scream unbridled hedonism.
Ernest Gallo, who passed away yesterday, a bit of an unbridled booster himself, might approve.