L.A.'s Go-To Place for a Glass of Wine

In the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles, Covell Wine Bar has been attracting a see-and-be-seen crowd since it opened last summer.

But don’t let the “scene” fool you. Wines offered by the glass are relatively few in number but extremely well selected, and they’re constantly switched out so there’s always a reason to go back.

How did this “destination” for wine lovers come to be? The story is told on Covell’s Web site, and we’ll share it with you here…

It all started over a bottle of wine.

“Do you have L’Amourier?”

Who does this guy think he is? That’s my favorite wine.

“Yes we do. Follow me, please.”

No one knows about this wine. How does he know about it?

“How do you even know about this wine?”

Spill it.

“We used to have it at the restaurant I work for, but not in a long time. It’s my favorite.”

This guy knows his stuff.

“Where do you work?”

“Cafe Stella.”

That was the first real exchange between Dustin Lancaster and Matthew Kaner.

Wine is sacred in Santa Barbara, where Matthew grew up. A new rock-star region in the wine world was being exposed while Matthew pursued his first love of music as a career. Funny thing is, all he ever wanted was to be able to afford a nice bottle of wine.

A college roommate of Matthew’s at the University of California at Santa Barbara came from a family that coveted wine, collected wine, sought the world over for the finest wine and food pairings. Grand Cru Burgundy, Grower Champagnes, aged German Rieslings, Madeira from the late 19th century. This was Matthew’s introduction.

After leaving a restaurant manager position as his high school job, Matthew decided to test the waters in the wine industry. The Wine Cask was hiring for a sales position in the wine store, an interview was conducted, and days later Matthew began working in a job that changed the course of his life.

Leaving Santa Barbara had always been on his mind, and the leap from comfort to unknown became harder and harder to avoid. It was time to move to Los Angeles.

Upon arriving in Los Angeles in August of 2006, Matthew was working as a tour manager and also doing some of his own touring under Matthew Kaner & the Coalition. The house that brought Matthew to Silverlake was rented by a screen writer who was traveling to Europe for three months to teach a screen writing class. Left on his desk was a postcard for Silverlake Wine. Matthew put the address into Google Maps and realized it was less than a half-mile away.

An invite to the Cinespia Cemetary Screenings left Matthew with the need for a bottle of wine and an opportunity to check out Silverlake Wine. This proved to be a serendipitous occasion.

Looking at every bottle in the store, Matthew recognized a lot but also realized he didn’t know many of the wines. This place was special.

A week later Matthew emailed, along with a resume, to ask if Silverlake Wine would need any help, as he had time in-between tours to work. He was offered a three-day-a-week position.

It turned into a full-time job.

It turned into a salaried position.

It turned into his life.

Three-and-a-half years later, Dustin was opening a new wine bar in Los Feliz and he asked Matthew to join him at Covell as manager/wine director.

The answer was certainly yes.

It all started over a bottle of wine.

When in Los Angeles, a visit to Covell is a must. To learn more about the wine bar, visit: www.barcovell.com

Posted in Wine Buzz
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