From Maine lobsters to wine slushies, games to rock ‘n’ roll music, urban winery is pulling out all the stops for anniversary bash Oct. 13 from 12 noon to 10 p.m.
By Miriam Raftery
October 11, 2018 (La Mesa) – With a motto of “when all else fails, wine works!” La Mesa Wine Works opened its doors two years ago as a cooperative urban winery tasting room serving up award-winning vintages from San Pasqual Winery and Wyatt Oaks. Now the space has become a hub of activities ranging from live music on weekends to trivia nights, classes, fundraisers for charities and the ever-popular $5 wine night complete with wine slushies and frozen sangrias.
“Business has been good,” says Mike McWilliams of San Pasqual Winery. On Saturday, October 13th from 12 noon to 10 p.m., Wine Works is celebrating its two-year anniversary with festivities that start with Cousins Maine Lobster truck from noon to 3 p.m. and Quick Stop Grill from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Live music wil include the Sock Monkeys from 3 to5 pm. and the Phoenix Band from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Guests can also enjoy games and in the afternoon, $5 specials on all glasses of wine, wine slushiness and frozen sangrias. The party will go on rain or shine.
Mike’s wife, Linda McWilliams, is the winemaker for San Pasqual. So what wines can you expect to find here? “Besides our reds and whites, we also have our passionfruit wines.” There’s also a habanera wine with a zesty kick and some unusual wines such as a Viognier.
San Pasqual is one of the few local wineries offering up a satisfying Chardonnay produced from locally grown grapes in North County. They try to source locally as much as possible, but also use grapes from as far away as Oregon. “Every quarter, the wine list changes –or sooner if we run out of something. We’ve had a real good reception on the wine,” McWilliams adds.
Wyatt Oaks offers several wines that have been bottle aged three to five years. “At most wineries, you only get recently released wines a year or two old,” McWilliams notes.
La Mesa Wine Works has an urban vibe, with wood and metal accents in an industrial space contrasting with large photos from La Mesa Historical Society of the city’s industrial area in its early years.
Every Friday and Saturday night as well as Sunday afternoons you’ll find live music ranging from rock and roll bands to jazz. On Wednesdays, all wines are $5 a glass, along with wine slushies and sangria, “a big hit,” McWilliams says. Then there’s Trivia Night Thursdays, and classes on everything from succulent making to macramé. Sometimes food trucks are on hand, and when they’re not, winery patrons can bring in their own food or order food from delivery services such as Uber Eats.
Asked how the business has evolved over the first two years, McWilliams says, “We’ve been doing a lot more special events.” The spacious venue includes a tasting room, patio, and barrel room that combined can accommodate up to 150 guests. “We’re like to host more events and host local nonprofits,” says McWilliams, who enjoys giving back to help the community. "We also want to get indoor Bocci going."
San Pasqual is now making some of their wine in the back room, vacating the original wine-making location across the street after the landlord sold that site to a marijuana processing and manufacturing business.
Business may soon get even better upon completion of a footbridge under construction across I-8 to connect downtown La Mesa Village to the industrial area where Wine Works and neighboring breweries are located.
La Mesa Wine Works is located at 8167 Center Drive, La Mesa. To learn more, visit their website at www.LaMesaWineWorks.com.